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e.l. konigsburg: Throwing Shadows

Rating: 49/50
Genre: J/YA Short Story
Pages: 160

(Slightly different format.)

I like e.l. konigsburg's novels, but they do not compare to her short stories. Her short stories are fabulous. They are intimate and relatable, and they not-so-subtly address big ideas. She doesn't just hint at big ideas; she literally stuffs them down your throat. The directness in her storytelling is gratifying.


Throwing Shadows is a collection of five of her short stories, each addressing childhood problems, successes, and solutions. They are very good. For the following reasons:

-Characters that are fabulous and real and problematic. And new acquaintances that change lives.

-Stories that are innately interesting, that catch attention not because of their YA content (cough, cough), but because we can all relate to them. And even if we can't relate, we can pretend. And that's pretty much the same thing.

-None of those pop-culture references that make me theel thtupid.

-Beautiful use of words. Melodic, flowing, good writing.

-Rereadablity. Unlike some stories (Dan Brown, cough) these stories are actually meaningful, and you can always find some words that you missed last time.


Okay, so brief overview of each story:

1. A retired college president with an undiagnosed behavioral disorder (narcissistic personality disorder) comes to wreak havoc on a boy's life. After trying to ignore the president's influence, the boy finally succumbs, and almost becomes a narcissist ... only to recognize what an idiot he is becoming and reversing the president's actions with some actions of his own.

2. A boy with a brother with some serious issues realizes that he has some issues of his own: he is a catchee. (A catchee is the recipient of a catcher's catching.) After several unfortunate incidents, one involving shoplifting some unfortunate articles of clothing, the boy comes to terms with his problems and recognizes the good in his catcheeism.

3. "It is sometimes necessary to use unnecessary words like thank you and please just to make life prettier... A stubborn voice is loud... A trusting voice can speak softly and still be heard." A tour guide encounters a very intelligent child with a very good voice.

4. A boy with a broken arm spends some time in an elderly home, meeting elderly people, and listening to elderly stories. He learns that all stories are meant to be told. And other things like that.

5. A boy and his mother enter the antique business. They gain assistance from two dealers who turn out to be complete assholes. Their assholery is completely revealed during an unexpected and extremely fortunate sale. But as the Holocaust survivors said: If we shoot the Nazis, we will have become just like them, and they will have succeeded. In this story, good must outwardly appear subservient to evil to retain innate goodness. Basically, good is a lot more intelligent than evil.


The only problem is that there are only five stories, when perhaps twenty would have been more appropriate. Good things do come in small packages, but great things come in large ones. I am just full of wit (and crap). This post was sort of rushed, so please don't judge.

To certain people: The plan? To win. Must do. Now. Tis very simple.

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