This is an excellent book, not just for juveniles but for adults as well. It makes you think outside the box. This book demonstrates how everything "counts," and can have a purpose if creatively approached. I highly recommend this book!
I picked this up because I'd read several of Konigsburg's books when I was very young, and really liked them, esp. "Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth" and "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler."
What struck me though, is that although this book is marketed as a kids' book, probably because that's what the author is known for, it really isn't. Although the protagonist is 12, the story is told from the point of view of an adult looking back at being 12, not from the point of view of a 12-year-old, and I think that really shows in the themes of the book.
The protagonist, Margaret's parents is sent to summer camp while her parents are away on a trip. She was looking forward to it, but when she turns out to be the 'new girl' in a cabin of girls who already know each other, things don't start out that well and they rapidly get worse. Luckily, one of her two eccentric bachelor uncles shows up to face down the unsympathetic camp director and rescue her from the bullying. Margaret's delighted, because she really wanted to spend the summer with her uncles anyway, helping them work on the amazing sculpture towers in their back yard. Unfortunately, neighborhood gentrification has set in, and the towers are scheduled for demolition. The uncles think the situation is hopeless, but Margaret can't just let it happen...
This is not a perfect book. The summer camp segment at the beginning is kinda typical; and too long. And I felt that the 'redemption' of the bullying girls later in the book is too easy, and doesn't 'ring true.'
However, I read the whole thing in one sitting - I couldn't put it down. And it really stands out as a novel for the author's refusal to make things black & white, or to go with the easy 'happy ending.' People here are nuanced, with shaded layers of motivations; we feel that they are real people, even when we only glimpse them in passing. It deals deftly and accurately with picturing a young woman's first feelings of love, shows that one can and must do something about issues that one cares about - but also acknowledges the reality that even when you 'win,' not everything is likely to be perfect.
I think E.L. Konigsburg is one of the best young adult authors out there, and I enjoyed this book.
I couldn't finish this book. It took too long to develop to me.
Margaret Rose Kane is as precocious as Flavia de Luce, even though she is not interested in being a sleuth. Margaret's meant to be a social activist to find a way to save her Uncle's creations, three steel towers embellished with bits of glass, wire and metal pieces, from being demolished.
Important themes included in the story are: grassroots activism, mentoring, loyalty to family, and understanding when it's important to be true to yourself in spite of the insistence to do the opposite.
As an adult reader, I enjoyed this story enough to finish it in two days and plan on reading another of E. L. Konigsburg's books.
Very very good. It is a very interesting and special book. I am sad to part with it but also delighted for someone else to read such a lovely book.
The book is about a girl, Margaret Rose Kane Two of her uncles build two towers that the city wants to remove. Margaret is very argumentative and fights to save the towers.