Friday Favorites: The Westing Game

Friday, September 10, 2010


I first read The Westing Game when I was 9-years-old. I think my older sister read it and recommended it to me (which any of you with siblings know, probably means she told me I was too young to read it, so I had to steal her copy and read it immediately).

From the first pages I was hooked. It was completely different from anything I'd read before. A wealthy man, Samuel Westing, dies unexpectedly and leaves riddles and games in his wake. His strange will leaves his fortune to 16 tenants who live or work in a local apartment building, but it's not without a catch. Those 16 people become competitors in a game to find Westing's murderer.

The book was the 1979 Newbery award and introduced me to the world of quirky mysteries. Ever since I've loved reading books with a good twist. This was my precursor to Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier and dozens of others.

The Westing Game also taught me that any book is made richer when you care about the characters and not just the plot. In The Westing Game, a 13-year-old named Turtle gave me someone to identify with. She's a tomboy and a spitfire and I loved her. The other 16 competitors include a young track star, a bride-to-be and a Chinese couple among others. There's such a rich cast that the wonderful plot becomes secondary, always a plus for me.

I wish that all of you read this book when you were young, because I'm sure that's when it would have the biggest impact. But if you missed it then, I hope you pick it up soon.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I LOOOVED this book as a kid. I even picked it to use for a book report project and made my own version of Westing's game for my classmates to play. Their prize was kitkats. :)
--Cara

Jeanne said...

I read this in the last decade, because my son loved the Blue Balliet mysteries and someone recommended this one as a precursor. It did have some good characters.

Avid Reader said...

Cara - That's impressive... and can we play it?

Unruly Reader said...

This is still one of my favorite books of all time! And probably my most frequent re-read.