The Mysterious Benedict Society

I finished the MBS last night.  It wrapped up with a frenzy of orphans being adopted and families reconciling and the villan escaping to resurface at a later date, in another book.

My opinion, it’s good, solid writing.  The plot is the standard children defeat the big bad bully using their native talents story.  What I found most fascinating was the depiction of the characters as so much more than their “gifts”.  In other words, some well rounded, doubting, questioning, uncertain characters who were required to make choices that were hard to make.  Even the lesser characters, often treated in that stereotypical cardboard manner, were allowed to make choices and see the consequences of those choices.

There was an awful amount of the coincidental as well as the pushing the boundaries of belief- Benedict and Curtain as twin brothers suffering from the same disease, triggered by different emotions, an overachieving baby- but that has to be expected in the other world plotted in this book.  The elements of fantasy, fairytale, science fiction, and good old adventure story are all woven in the plot line. On the whole the characters, as unique individuals, talented and flawed,  are well crafted.

The story kept me reading; reading past the sappy ending, ( I sometimes wish there wasn’t this urge to wrap everything in a story up in primary colored ribbons of happy ever after) and considering getting the second of the trio of adventures concerning the MBS, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey.

Yes, I would recommend this book to others, if only for the careful and sympathetic characterization and the emphasis on recognizing all different kinds of individual talent.  Trenton Lee Stewart makes good on his assertion that everyone has something to contribute and things work well when everyone works together.  Sticky sappy and too often true.

I’d say, at several points in my life, I wished there had been a Mr. Benedict and his mysterious society to join.  Now, because I am lazy and easily distracted, someone tell me Mr. Benedict’s first name.

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