The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E.L. Konigsburg

Amadeo Kaplan moves from New York City, the land of skyscrapers and public transportation, to St. Malo, Florida, the land of sweltering, lazy days. There is very little that the two places have in common. At first Amadeo is convinced that he will hate it, then he meets Mrs. Zender, his next door neighbor. She is an aging socialite, a former opera singer, and a mysterious woman with a fantastic sound system. Unfortunately, almost as soon as he meets her, he learns that Mrs. Zender will be moving to a retirement community. In fact, his classmate William Wilcox and his mother have been hired to help her get her estate in order. Luckily for Amadeo, they enlist his help as well.

Soon, he and William, along with Mrs. Wilcox, are digging through Mrs. Zender's past. She is happy to provide context and commentary. It is very clear that Mrs. Zender is unhappy about moving. One day, she takes Amadeo along to purchase phones for her new townhome. It is there that he sees her spoiled nature, her need to create drama, and finally understands what she means when she says, "the world as it ought to be has come to an end," (Konisgburg pg. 46, 2007). She is from an age where other people took care of the rich.

Amadeo's godfather, Peter Vanderwaal, is an art director for the Sheboygan Art Center. His new exhibit is focused on pieces outlawed by the Nazi Regime, called "Degenerate Art". Shortly before his exhibit is scheduled to open, his father passes away. His mother gives him a box with some of his father's writings for safe keeping. He begins to read his father's memoirs, and a story about a boy during World War II.

Meanwhile, as the cataloguing of Mrs. Zender's house continues, they uncover a drawing signed by Modigliani. It seems this piece of art is something special, with deeper history and meaning than they realize. Soon the two stories are intertwined, and Amadeo has made the discovery that he always wanted.
"You could say that it wasn't lost because no one was looking for it, but you could also say that all those drawings were lost from sight...Those
kids discovered something. Something special, and they knew it,"
(Konigsburg pg. 49, 2007).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

Konigsburg, E.L. (2007). The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World. Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon and Schuster): New York, NY.

No comments:

Post a Comment