Book Review: The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World
The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E.L. Konigsburg
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Amedeo Kaplan has a secret, a dream: More than anything in the world, he wants to discover something — a place, a process, even a fossil — some treasure that no one realizes is there until he finds it. And he would also like to discover a true friend to share these things with.

William Wilcox seems like an unlikely candidate for friendship: an aloof boy who is all edges and who owns silence the way other people own words. When Amedeo and William find themselves working together on a house sale for Amedeo’s eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Zender, Amedeo has an inkling that both his wishes may come true. For Mrs. Zender’s mansion is crammed with memorabilia of her long life, and there is a story to go with every piece. Soon the boys find themselves caught up in one particular story — a story that links a sketch, a young boy’s life, an old man’s reminiscence, and a painful secret dating back to the outrages of Nazi Germany. It’s a story that will take them to the edge of what they know about heroism and the mystery of the human heart.

This is the story of Amadeo, who wants to discover something that will bring him fame. When he begins working for Mrs. Zender, he hopes to find a treasure of some kind among her dusty old things, but he is also looking for friendship. Egh. I disliked this book intensely, but I can’t muster up enough emotional reaction to it to actually say I hated it.

The plot moves sooooooo slow. I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen. Finally, towards the end of the middle, they find the drawing, and finally finally after a long drawn-out bunch of nothing, we find out the mystery of the drawing, which is another long bunch of extra stuff that I didn’t really care about. The end was so incredibly under-whelming.

The characters are supposed to be quirky and interesting, but I find them boring. I just don’t care about any of them. Some of them are nice, I suppose, but I don’t like any of them. They are so rude and snappy to each other, and everyone is circling tentatively around everyone else.

I can’t figure out why William and Amadeo are friends. All they do is nitpick and fuss at each other. There is not a single conversation between them that says to me, “Ah, these two are good friends!” Their dialogue is acidic, and they pick on each other.

Peter is especially boring. What is his problem? He can be overly dramatic, but no one else is allowed to. He just has to be the center of attention at all times. egh. He’s annoying.

Why do I keep reading this author’s books? I never like her books. I like her writing style, but I hate her plots and characters. The only one that I have ever liked, out of all her work, is From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

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