The Westing Game
by Ellen Raskin
Grace Windsor Wexler
It's hard to know whether to hate Grace or feel sorry for her. She's easily the most pretentious character, and a contender for the most obnoxious, too. She fancies herself as an interior decorator, but she's doesn't really have a career: the narrator's neutral on the subject of Grace's design skills, and we never meet any paying clients for her design business. We could play a game of what her worst qualities are – possibly her racist comments to the Hoos and Judge Ford or her attitude about money and class; or maybe it's her sense of entitlement or sometimes inadvertent cruelty towards other members of her family. She ignores and puts down one daughter while stifling the other, distancing herself from her husband and from the person she used to be.
And yet, there's goodness in Grace Wexler, just as there is in all of us. Deep down, she's embarrassed about herself and her family background. It's easy to see how her fears of not being good enough or looked down upon translate into her acting like she's too good for everyone else and is looking down on them. She changed her name, just as her uncle Sam did, but while he became a Westing, she became a Wexler. She does great things for Mr. Hoo's restaurant business. Even though she meets with opposition and a lack of support from others, she sticks to her idea for "Hoo's on First" and turns it into a flourishing chain of businesses. Through this business success, she shows the same kind of entrepreneurial spirit Turtle polishes in finance.