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Figgs and Phantoms by Ellen Raskin

Figgs and Phantoms (original 1974; edition 1974)

by Ellen Raskin

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438634,006 (3.94)17
Title:Figgs and Phantoms
Authors:Ellen Raskin
Info:Scholastic, 1974.
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:JFIC, read august 2016

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Figgs & Phantoms by Ellen Raskin (1974)



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Mona's family doesn't believe in heaven, they believe in Capri. Not the real-world island off the coast of Italy, but a paradise specific to their family. When Mona's favorite uncle "goes to Capri," she's determined to follow him there -- but can she find the way?

This is a truly weird little book, and not in a good way. I felt off-balance all the way through, due to the unlikable main character, the intentional absurdity of the details, and the extended dream sequence at the climax. This book was awarded a Newbery Honor -- but I'm still not quite sure why! ( )
  foggidawn | Aug 24, 2016 |
It was harder than usual for me to get into this book. But after the first few pages, I was hooked. Mona is a teenager from a strange family - but one that loves each other. So when her Uncle, her best (and seemingly only) friend hints that he is going to Capri, the family word for heaven, she revolts, struggling to understand how to deal with his death. This is an exceptional book - one that deals with a hard topic - the death of a loved one. It's not an easy book to read. There is lots of magic and metaphor, with a fairy tale sequence. I highly recommend but with the caveat that it's a strange book, strange but good. ( )
  empress8411 | Jan 1, 2015 |
A wonderful story for anyone who has ever felt out of place in the world, or lost someone they loved. Mona's family is strange, but they love her, and in her loneliness she almost loses sight of that swimming through her dreams. "Figgs & Phantoms" is a quick read that evokes a lot of feeling. One of my favorites. ( )
  TeenSpirit | Feb 14, 2014 |
I absolutely adored Ellen Raskin as a kid, so when I found a set of three of her books recently, going cheap, I couldn't resist picking them up and revisiting her. This is the first of the three I've read. It features Mona, a rather sullen girl who is deeply embarrassed by her wacky family of former Vaudeville performers -- all but Uncle Flo, the bookseller, to whom she is extremely close. When her uncle dies, she is devastated, and goes to look for him in her family's own private version of heaven.

This wasn't my favorite of Raskin's books from my childhood, but the fact that I remember it at all says something about the impression it made on me. And I can see what I liked about it as a kid. It's weird and quirky, and a little bit poignant. And it expresses an appreciation of books, which is something I've been a sucker for since I was old enough to read. As an adult, though, I don't know... It was almost a little too relentlessly quirky, and I'm not at all sure what to make of the heaven stuff, which I probably just took completely in stride back then. So, while it was interesting to take a look at, it was probably never going to do for me at forty-two quite what it did for me at eight. ( )
  bragan | Aug 11, 2013 |
If all you've ever read by Raskin is The Westing Game, you really should pick up some of her other books. This one is a fun place to start. Mona is a misfit in a family of misfits. Her family are former vaudeville performers now trying to settle down, but their flamboyant personalities tend to draw lots of attention. Mona just wants to be normal. The only person in her whole family who understands her is her uncle, and he's getting old and sick. Amazon has this one and several other Raskin books on sale now for really cheap. I included this one in with some presents for my husband and daughter. It was under $3 and I'm so happy with it. 4 stars. ( )
  cmbohn | Jun 20, 2011 |
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The black-clad giant moved slowly, silently, like a grotesque late-afternoon shadow, past the shops on Hemlock Street.
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Chronicles the adventures of the unusual Figg family after they left show business and settled in the town of Pineapple.

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