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The Westing Game

The Westing Game


by Ellen Raskin

Analysis: Genre

Mystery, Children's Literature

The real mystery about The Westing Game is why it hasn't been made into a (successful) blockbuster by now. It has all the hallmarks of a hit. Hidden identities. Murder. A cast a nutso characters snowed in in a tower by Lake Michigan. Two hundred million bucks on the line.

We've busy writing our dream cast list.

But back to the question of genre: while The Westing Game is marketed as children's literature, won the Newbery Medal, and was written by a children's book author and illustrator, we think it's primarily a mystery novel. At a bookstore, however, you'd probably find it in the children's literature section.

But don't look down at this book just because it has the family-friendly Newbery seal of approval. It'sa book like Alice In Wonderlandthere's no upper age limit when it comes to loving this novel. Oh, and like Alice, it's all about solving brain-teasing puzzles.

The puzzle at the heart of the book uber-clever, and each time we read it we spot more clues that we didn't notice the first time. But the big ideas in the book—thoughts about who we really are, who we want to be, and who we're running from—are all things that apply across genres. The Westing Game asks: "Whodunnit?" but it also asks "Who are we, really?"

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