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The View from Saturday (1996)

by E. L. Konigsburg

Series: Clarion County (0.5)

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5,3291211,639 (3.9)131
Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.
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English (118)  Spanish (1)  All languages (119)
Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
When I read this a few times as a kid, I was enchanted. Nadia and Julian were my favorite characters. The book opens with with the setting of a freezing cold gathering, and as a kid, I thought, "Ooh, sort of spooky that his ring could shatter a bowl. I am curious about eighth grade. It's so far away." As an adult, I was a little disappointed to find I'd missed the part about the gathering being so cold due to automatic air conditioning. As an adult, I didn't even recognize the title of the book nor associate it with the novel since it makes no sense. The book shifts POVs regularly in order to tell the kids' stories, through the first half. Third person limited for Mrs Olinski, first person for the kids. Noah is a weirdo, and doesn't know what a fact is. He states "fact" and then says his opinion. It is not cute or endearing. It is annoying. I probably did something similar in fourth grade, not in sixth grade like Noah. Adam is the adult son of a friend of his grandmother's and wow, he was annoying. Was the wedding subplot supposed to be funny? A different plot device could easily be used to link all the kids. Was the wedding subplot to show Noah as clever and decisive? Was Adam supposed to be some weird character foil for Noah? Because it was none of the above. Was this all to show how Noah knew calligraphy? Because that is a lot of pages to dedicate to such a thing. Noah doesn't sound like a twelve-year-old. He sounds like an annoying little kid trying to fit in with adults because he's having trouble making friends. I was that kid. I should identify with him, but instead I recoiled.

Nadia's chapter was up next. At first I thought she must be Noah's cousin or something because they sounded EXACTLY alike. She's not. Her mother works for Noah's father, but that's it. Nadia isn't as weird as Noah, though. She just comes off as high and mighty. She doesn't speak using contractions, which is odd. I thought of "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" by Jenny Trout, which pokes fun at the concept. Nadia's chapter of the book was probably supposed to be about her parents' divorce but really it's a bunch of blather about sea turtles and I don't care. Ethan was next, but it's also where Julian first shows up. Ethan was xenophobic and judgmental. He was pompous like the others. One thing made him seem like a twelve-year-old: his crush on Nadia. He was a bit purple prose-y in his description but I handwaved it. Nadia is shown to shockingly self-centered when she gives Julian a puppy that she named, and expects him to keep that name. She did not ask if Julian was allergic, liked dogs, wanted one, or could maintain its upkeep, especially a -puppy-. Even more importantly, she didn't ask Mr Singh! She just burbles on about how her dog is a superior genius and ugh, what a horrid child. Knapp and Froelich were awful in entirely different ways and for different reasons. Halfway through the book, I was exasperated and highly irritated. The book switched to third person omniscient, so, fine, that was that.

This book was boring and a chore to get through. Why is this recommended as a Reluctant Readers book? Don't answer that. It was rhetorical. ( )
  iszevthere | Jul 6, 2022 |
This seemed like one of those award winners where adults think it's so amazing and kids will be bored to tears. ( )
  readingjag | Nov 29, 2021 |
I won't give this book any stars - it just didn't click with me and I ended up bailing early. It wouldn't be fair to give it an actual rating. The one thing that put me off as a reader is the way the author tried soooo hard to be soooo clever. Unfortunately, it didn't work (at least, not for me). None of the characters had enough verisimilitude for me to believe that they were anything but constructs made by the author to showcase her clever writing.
  CrimsonWurm | Apr 11, 2021 |
I liked each individual character's background story and how they were carefully interwoven together, but I felt like the story as a whole was very contrived. A lot of the language and dialogue seemed too perfectly put together and this book really wasn't written that long ago that it should be that way.

On an educational note (here comes the teacher point of view in me), this book had a lot of really great messages for kids of several different age groups and I could see teaching this book to middle school students about journeys, changing, collaboration, and the overall theme of personal development.

Overall I give this book 3 stars because it took me a lot longer to read than a 160 page book should, but it had a lot of great messages for those of younger ages who might read this. ( )
  courty4189 | Mar 24, 2021 |
NA
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
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Dedication
This is for David for beating the odds
First words
Mrs. Eva Marie Olinski always gave good answers.
Quotations
"Are you an alien?" I asked.
"Actually, no," he said. "Mother was an American by birth; Father is by naturalization. I was born on the high seas. That makes me American."
"As American as apple pie," I said.
Julian smiled. "Not quite," he said. "Let us say that I am as American as pizza pie. I did not originate here, but I am here to stay."
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Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.

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Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.
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Average: (3.9)
0.5 4
1 17
1.5 1
2 35
2.5 9
3 123
3.5 25
4 202
4.5 38
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