Summary: The children’s classic story about running away, living in a museum and solving a great mystery all the while finding the important things in life.
Children’s books are great for adults to read occasionally. In addition, to just being a change of pace, I find that the simple straight forward stories get to the essence of so many things. Children’s book don’t have to have multi-layered plots with anti-heroes or twists and turns.
Instead children’s books tell simple stories that often do a great job of getting to root meanings of life.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler is one of the classics that I think has held up fairly well. Claudia, a 12 year-old oldest child that feels like she is underappreciated by her parents and decides to run away. Her younger brother, Jamie, comes with her mostly for the adventure. Most kids would identify with one or both of these reasons for running away.
They take the train from the suburbs of Connecticut to Manhattan and move into the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While they are there, a statue starts showing that may be a lost work of Michelangelo. This gives a purpose not only to the story, but especially to Claudia, who ran away in part to find purpose and meaning.
If you haven’t read the story, I won’t blow the whole thing, but I did think the book held up very well from 1967. It does not feel like an old book, although clearly there are anacronysism that modern readers (child) will not always understand (if nothing else the wildly different prices.)
I listened to the audiobook from the library. As always, books that I have not read since childhood seem so much shorter today than my memory of them. I listened to the whole thing during an afternoon of data entry work.