The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World

31 03 2009

 Cover Image


It’s no secret I love things intended for children. Books, clothes, activities. Perhaps there’s a tiny Peter Pan part of me who never grew up, but perhaps it’s just a part of me, that all Southerners have, that just enjoy good, clean fun.


So, even though I read my first book by E. L. Konigsburg when I was but a child, I’ve read several more of her stories as a grown up. I’m sure most of you remember reading her Newberry award winning novel, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler as a child. (If you somehow missed this as a child, finish reading my post, and then go immediately to your local bookseller/library/Amazon account and remedy the situation… it’s also a GREAT bedtime read to your little ones if you do that charming tradition.) I remember enjoying, relishing, in the mystery of it all. Children, running away, and surviving by themselves in a museum – how exciting!


I remembered Ms. Konigsburg’s books a few years ago, on a month long trip to California, and wanted some light reading, so I checked out a couple of hers from the library. While they are enjoyable, don’t let the “young adult” genre fool you. You’d be hard-pressed to find any writing better than Ms. Konigsburg. I can heartily recommend Silent to the Bone and The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place as two of my favorites.


While Ms. Konigsburg wasn’t originally a Southerner (she grew up in New York and Pennsylvania), she has now lived in northern Florida for years and many of her novels have Southern characters and themes.


But perhaps in my favorite novel of hers yet is The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World. If the title alone hasn’t grabbed you, let me assure you that the first chapter will. Amedeo Kaplan and his mother move from New York to Florida, and Amedeo becomes friends with his neighbor, a retired opera diva, Mrs. Zender, and another young man from the neighborhood, William. Together, the boys are invited to help out in Mrs. Zender’s house and find a signed Modigliani among her things. I won’t give away the mystery, as that’s part of the fun, but this is a book full of Southern charm, humor, and wonderful lessons of friendship.


What are some of your favorite books from childhood or your child’s favorite stories?




One response

28 10 2010
Distinctively Southern: Shacks « Sweet Iced Tea

[…] The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E. L. […]

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