Tuesday, February 23, 2010

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

My experiences of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which is going to be a pain to type out every time, come from two sources: "The Office" and "Veronica Mars." Kevin's future step-daughter was reading it in the Take Your Daughter to Work Day episode. Mac's biological sister was reading it in the "Silence of the Lamb" episode. I never actually read this when I was a child, but I wish I had. It's really a good book.
Claudia Kincaid is tired of her life. She is tired of being the oldest child and only girl, of having the most responsibility, of getting all A's in school. So, for "...a reason that had to do with the sameness of each and every week," Claudia decides to plan to run away from home. She brings her second youngest brother Jamie in on the scheme, mostly because Jamie has a lot of money ($24.43). The kids make plans to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where they will stay until they feel their family appreciates them once more.
It turns out that running away isn't nearly as fun as it seems, and that with prices in New York, $24.43 isn't going to get them as much as they thought. Claudia becomes interested in an angel statue acquired from the collection of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and eventually decides she cannot return home until learning Angel's secret.
It's kind of sad how a book like this could really not be possible in the present day. Museums have all sorts of camera and sensors that would catch juvenile runaways. Claudia and Jamie have a few close calls with guards, but everything was practically done by the honors system back in 1967. It kind of reminds me of the stories my mom used to tell about growing up a block away from the city (Toledo, OH) zoo. There didn't used to be the tall fences around the perimeter, so her and her siblings could wander in and out as they pleased, kids rode a giant Galapogas tortoise...anyways, everything today is so focused on caution from those sissy plastic playgrounds to the not letting children ride on big endangered reptiles. A little old-fashioned fun is, well, fun.

1 comment:

  1. LOVED this book. Too bad it couldn't happen today, though.