From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Some books rock the one-word title; others go for long and slightly absurd. I’m of course going to talk about the latter today.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a Children’s novel published in 1967. It is the story of a brother and sister pair who run away from home and live temporarily in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. They discover a mystery and set out to solve it by seeking out Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, an eccentric, rich old woman.

I’m pretty sure this book was an assignment for one of my elementary school classes. All I know is that a couple of years ago I rediscovered it at a yardsale and fell in love all over again. The main character, Claudia, reminds me a lot of me as a child. She has a passion for learning, and doesn’t do well with being taken for granted. She’s a bit devious, choosing to take her brother with her on her escape from home because he has saved a nice sum of money. She’s kind of bratty (which of course is not a trait I could relate to…) but she has a good heart. She loves mysteries and secrets.

Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler also loves mysteries and secrets. She is basically the adult version of Claudia, which is probably why I like the book so much. Since I identify with Claudia, I also with Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, who despite her eccentricities is very well off in life. If that didn’t give a weird middle schooler hope, what would?

This book won a Newberry award and is a very popular book for classrooms. Despite being over 50 years old, it is still relevant today. Though the prices of busfares and lunches are drastically different and the idea of such lax security in a museum is pretty outdated, it speaks to the dreamers who want to escape their dull lives and make it on their own in a new, extravagant setting.

I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing lately, and I’m sure it will continue for a while. I think my recent blogging slump was partially due to me trying to write stuff I didn’t really care about. So I’ve decided to just write what I want, and lately that has been memories and reflections. Tune in tomorrow for a bit of fiction, or maybe even a poem. 🙂

Posted on February 26, 2013, in books, reviews, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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