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Figgs & Phantoms by Ellen Raskin

Figgs & Phantoms (1974)

by Ellen Raskin

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403526,478 (3.98)15



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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 |
I really enjoyed this story - watching Mona come to grips with a major change in the make up of her family - and learning to see her life from a different point of view. Not too much of a puzzle, but actually for me that was a plus - I focused on the story instead of the clues. ( )
1 vote tjsjohanna | Aug 10, 2008 |
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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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