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 Silent to the Bone!

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PostSubject: Silent to the Bone!   April 27th 2008, 12:50 pm

Here is a book we are working on in our Language Arts Class:

Silent to the Bone...

Summary:
The engrossing nature of this story can't be denied. Though the identity of the culprit will surprise no one, it follows the formula of a classic mystery, with red herrings, a climactic revelation, and detective Connor putting the pieces together.
But there are many troubling aspects of this story. None of the key elements--the characters, the emotions, the psychology--ring true. E. L. Konigsburg's child characters have always been precociously gifted, but in recent novels, such as The View From Saturday, she has strayed perilously close to making them indistinguishable from very clever adults, and here she goes over the line. Neither Connor (who tells the story) nor Bran are credible young teens; they don't talk--or, more important, think--like children at all. And the adults in the story, save Margaret, are just detestable.
Moreover, the story hinges on a scene in which Vivian tempts Bran sexually, then humiliates him. But the level of shame he experiences (over what is, after all, a perfectly normal reaction), which causes him to lose the ability to speak, seems bizarre. And no one, not even the author, seems to recognize that Vivian's provocation, and subsequent manipulation, of a thirteen-year-old boy must surely be seen as a form of sexual abuse. Vivian's only punishment (for the injury to the baby, not for her behavior toward Bran) is that her agency claims she will not be allowed to work in child care again--but it is hard to see how they can deliver on this promise.

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