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Throwing Shadows (1979)
by E. L. Konigsburg
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E.L. Konigsburg Weeks 2012, Book 7.
Summary: Five short stories from five different narrators (mostly boys, and mostly in the neighborhood of twelve years old) give various perspectives on chance meetings, the way we affect each other's lives, self-awareness, and growing up. There's a shark-tooth-hunter who meets a know-it-all retired university president; a young boy who can't stay out of trouble, no matter now innocent his motives; an Ecuadoran tour guide who changes the life of a boy from a small village; a boy with a broken arm who gets roped into listening to the life story of an eccentric old woman; and a young boy and his mother who find a treasure amongst the clutter of antique sales.
Review: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is one of my absolute children's favorites (enough so that I can still spell Frankweiler correctly, two decades after I read it for the first time), but I'd never read any of Konigsburg's other work. (I didn't know she even *had* other books until about a year ago - for shame, librarians of my childhood!) In any case, I was hoping for more of the same magic out of Throwing Shadows, but unfortunately none of these stories really captured me. It may be that I'm too old, it may be that the stories themselves are too dated, or it may be that I didn't really identify with any of the narrators. Konigsburg does an excellent job of capturing five distinct and believable voices in each of her five stories, but none of them were voices that really spoke to me. 3 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Not a lot of time investment is needed for this one, and it's well-written, but it hasn't aged particularly well, so by this point I think it's mostly for the Kongisburg completeist.
Five short stories in which young people gain a sense of self.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.54Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
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However, the themes are eternal. The voices of the teen narrators are authentic. The writing is beautiful.
And here's a special tidbit that can help us see the value of Literature over lighter fiction:
I don't like to make my point too sharply. I like to blunt it a little so that you really feel it when it penetrates."" ( )