These Books Made Me

The Westing Game

June 30, 2022 Prince George's County Memorial Library System Season 2 Episode 10
These Books Made Me
The Westing Game
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The Westing Game gave young readers a layered and complex mystery to solve and gave Ellen Raskin a Newbery medal. In this episode we discuss our heroine, Turtle Wexler, and her 15 fellow players in the Westing Game, and appreciate how richly drawn the characters are (except for Theo) in a book that is jam packed with main characters. We examine the themes of personal growth, being true to yourself, and found family. We try to decipher the true message of the book and debate whether the book is a paean to capitalism or low key progressive.  And, in a These Books Made Me first, we give plaudits for excellence in editorial work after being impressed by the tightly written and totally cohesive puzzle that is Sam Westing's game.

These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at TheseBooksMadeMe@pgcmls.info. For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at https://pgcmls.medium.com/.

We cover a lot of ground in this episode and used some articles and websites as jumping off points. Here’s a brief list of some of them if you want to do your own further research:

Capitalist or no? https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-westing-game-a-tribute-to-labor-that-became-a-dark-comedy-of-american-capitalism

The Westing Game online exhibit: https://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/the-westing-game-manuscript/

The Cover Art of Ellen Raskin: https://www.flickr.com/photos/crossettlibrary/albums/72157624916884152

Hannah:

Hi, I'm Hannah

Heather:

I'm Heather.

Hannah:

And this is our podcast, These Books Made Me. Today, we're going to be talking about The Westing Game. Friendly warning as always, this podcast contains spoilers. If you don't yet know who Violet Westing's mother is, continue at your own risk. We have two special guests this week.

Shom:

Hi all, my name is Shom Tiwari. I use they/them pronouns and I work at the Largo Kettering library.

Marsha:

Hello, I'm Marsha Quarles and I work at the South Bowie branch library.

Shom:

Was this everyone's first time reading, if not, how did this reread compare to your memories of reading it when you were younger?

Heather:

This was not my first time reading it. I read this, I believe when I was in maybe third grade. I loved it so much when I read it as a kid. And I really think that this book kicked off my binge reading of Agatha Christie. < laugh > shortly after this. Um, my best friend and I got obsessed with puzzle-style mysteries and locked room mysteries. And I think it was completely because of this book on reread. I still found it delightful. I've, I've read it certainly in the intervening years before this reread. So it felt familiar, but it always, it makes me laugh and it, I I'm always struck by how cleverly put together the pieces of the puzzle are.

Hannah:

This was my first time reading it. I read it as an adult, so I can't look at it , uh , with how it would've read to me as a child, but it was a, it was a fun romp as an adult. And man did a lot of things happen in it.

Marsha:

I read it as an adult when my daughter was reading it when she was in school. And I remember us quoting the book. I can't remember exactly what we were quoting, but we were quoting the book and laugh out loud because the book was so funny. So yeah, I, after rereading it, it was just a joy and a pleasure to read it again. And it felt like it was brand new. And I, again, I did laugh out loud

Shom:

Like you, Heather. I remember reading this when I was in fourth grade and it's funny now reading it the second time I'm realizing there was certainly a lot that went over my head as a child, but still, this was one of the first books I remember falling in love with it really captivated my excitement since I was raised on a lot of Scooby Doo mystery movies and books. So this was a great way to sort of bridge that with a more complex plot. And I loved it so much. In fact, I remember that my mom and I put a hold request at our local library to get the movie on video cassette. So I finally remember not only the book, but engaging with the library through it as well.

Heather:

Marsha, do you wanna take us through the plot real quick?

Marsha:

So the plot of The Westing Game opens up at Sunset Towers, an apartment building that despite the implications of the name, faces east. The 16 residents of Sunset Towers apartment building are an eclectic bunch who have been handpicked to live and work in the luxurious new building, overlooking a lake and the old Westing house. The motley crew includes a dressmaker, a podiatrist, a judge, a secretary, a chef, a runner, a runner, and the irascible Tabitha Ruth Turtle Wexler. At the discovery of the body of the reclusive millionaire, Sam Westing, each of the residents is summoned and told that they are his heirs and must solve a puzzle in order to inherit the Westing fortune and gain control of his business. Confusingly the paperwork, the lawyer reads to them, names them as west- Sam Westing, 16 nieces and nephews, and says that one of them is responsible for his death. The 16 would be puzzle-solvers are sorted into eight pairs and giving a perplexing series of clues. The odd ball pairings ultimately produce strong bonds and healing as a partner's battle, personal demons, the weather, a thief, and even a bomber in their quest to solve the mystery and inherit a fortune.

Heather:

I did a little research on the author and it was surprisingly difficult to find substantial information about her because even her obituary in the New York times was really, really brief. It was just a couple of paragraphs and was sort of buried in that edition, which shocked me because she was a Newbery winner. Like I feel like she deserved more space than that. Um, but I was able to find a lot of interviews and speeches and things she gave that appeared in the horn book after the Newberry. So Ellen Raskin was an accomplished illustrator as well as an author of children's books. She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1928. And she described herself as a child with straight dark hair in a singing range of three wrong notes. She entered the University of Wisconsin as a journalism major, but she quickly switched to studio art after viewing an exhibit of abstract art at the Chicago Institute of art. She relocated to New York city and found work in a commercial arts studio where she began her experimentation with type setting and block printing. This personal project eventually led to an ever expanding set of freelance jobs, illustrating for a variety of publication types and publishing houses. Ellen, settled into a productive niche as a dust jacket designer. She produced cover art for over a thousand books, including the original cover for A Wrinkle in Time. During this time she began writing and illustrating her own picture books, publishing her first book, Nothing Ever Happens on My Block. In 1966, she eventually found enough success that she was able to work exclusively on her own writing and illustrations of her own work. She began to write longer works for children, receiving a Newbery honor for her first book, Figs and Phantoms. She then won the Newberry medal with the Westing Game in 1978. In addition to her artistic talents, Raskin was according to her husband, a shrewed finance capitalist and amassed a sizable portfolio of stocks while Raskin enjoyed success in multiple domains. She unfortunately suffered from ill health and died at the age of 56 from a connective tissue disorder. The Westing Game remains her best known book and continues to be well regarded and frequently read over 40 years after its publication.

Shom:

Each episode, our luminous literary and frequent cohost Hawa will provide miscellaneous and insights from our book. It's time for Hawa's Headspace.

Hawa:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to Hawa's Headspace. The part of the podcast where I literally say whatever comes to mind. The Westing Game is a mystery. So for this episode segment, I'll be sharing with you all the first five things that come to mind. When I think of mystery, don't ask me why I chose number five. Let's just go with it. Okay. So the first thing that comes to mind when I think of mystery is the TV show Scooby Doo, that I'm pretty sure most of you all are familiar with. I definitely think it's a classic. And also, I guess the, the van that they wrote around in, I believe was called the mystery machine. So there's also that element. Uh , the second thing that comes to mind when I think about mystery is a magnifying glass that might partially be in part because of my just thought of Scooby Do and Velma used to always like, I think use a magnifying glass or she'd lose her glasses or something like that. The third thing that comes to mind when I think of mystery is , uh , question marks just because I feel like when it comes to mystery, like you're, you're trying to solve a question or you just don't know what's happening. Nancy Drew books are also something that comes to mind. When I think about mystery, Nancy Drew is probably like the first thing that I can think of for children when it comes to that genre. And they seem like they were pretty popular. I probably read a couple, but don't ask me to recall what I read. And the last thing that I think about when I think of mystery is the dark. Yeah. You know, you never know what's gonna happen in the dark. And even like a lot of mystery books, like sometimes their covers will have such like a dark , uh , tone. Um, and I was as afraid of the dark as a kid, partially because there was so much mystery. Yeah. The dark. Well folks there, you have it. I hope you've enjoyed this season of me spewing out my random thoughts as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you all.

Heather:

How did this book hold up now that we read it 40 plus years after its publication, were there any problematic parts? Did it feel dated? Did it feel fresh? How did you all find it?

Hannah:

Well, it feels a little bit old timey in the technology, the way that people talk to each other and about each other, along with the technology, it makes it feel like it's set further back in time, but it doesn't feel super tied to a really specific time of place other than prior to now.

Shom:

It's interesting because for me, the way that it was written with so early on them all being stuck inside of the tower because of the snowstorm, it felt like the pace of the book was stuck in that moment. So even though like you're saying, there are certain elements that make it seem more old timey in terms of the technology, it felt like that enhanced that almost romanticized aspect of, oh, you're snowed in on a lake. Like you can very clearly imagine that setting. And I think for me reading as a child growing up in North Carolina, the idea of being snowed in on a lake was very foreign and unfamiliar. So I think in that regard, regardless of the year in which it set, it all felt like a unknown experience to me as a reader, both when I was a child. And now today,

Marsha:

Yeah, for me, it, it doesn't feel old and it doesn't feel new. I understand the timing of it. Like I, you can put it in various different time periods, I guess, is what I'm trying to say and reading it again. Uh , you know, as an adult reading it, I'm a little surprised that some of this stuff is in the book.

Heather:

I agree. I think it's that locked room setting puts it out of time. It's not particularly tied to any era. There's no pop culture references in it. Yes. There's a lack of technology. But again, I almost feel like the snowstorm gets you around that. What would they be doing on their cell phones if they had them? like, there are a few things in there that like Marsha said, reading it as an adult, you kind of cringe a little bit at a word choice, but then she works really hard to call out some of those things as well. The one that didn't get mentioned, that's just in there casually is Flora Baumbach, daughter Rosalie. The writeup that Sandy had on her, referred to her as Mongoloid, which we would never ever say today. And that's not commented on at all, even though with other word choices like that, it seems like Raskin really took pains to sort of point out the microaggressions of certain words. Like there was the reference to the Oriental rug that was there when Turtle went into the house and Mr. Hoo responds to the term Oriental rug by saying Persian? Chinese rug? < Laugh > like, he's, he's very critical of like, that term means nothing. You know, it's just like it's lumping together so many countries of people in a meaningless, stereotypical way. The author was really surprisingly progressive in seeing things like that. The judge gets the clue brother and gets upset and, and says something about like, I'm not gonna play this when you give me these minstrel show offensive clues like that. And I, I was kind of shocked by that in a children's book, calling out something in that way, for me, like the book felt a little bit more modern just because of some of those things. But then of, whereas she very much seemed to be on top of people, shouldn't be infantilizing the kid in the wheelchair. People shouldn't be putting , uh , Madam Hoo in this slinky stereotypical dress that's offensive. And that Madame Hoo like bristled it , that even though she did it, she seemed to see certain things kind of clearly, but then other things not so much.

Hannah:

Yeah. She was very aware and was clearly presenting a lot of those, although she maybe missed or fell down on some others, even though she used, you know, that, that terminology for Rosalie, she still, when Chris is being infantalized, different things she did better on than others.

Marsha:

I think the characters kind of worked out of those microaggressions. I think they, they confronted them and they actually said some things to confront them. And eventually they all changed and became something else.

Heather:

Yeah. There's growth there. like early on when Sydelle keeps saying like, oh, he has a smile that would break your heart. And it is this ping and infantilizing sort of reaction at Chris rather than with him. Um, and Chris, like, as we know, is brilliant and in no way is affected by his condition mentally, like cognitively he's one of the smartest people in the book, but then when they get seated together at the restaurant and they have the back and forth jokes, which were a little bit distasteful, but they did, they did have these back and forth jokes about the food that was gonna be served at the Hoo's restaurant. And she saw him as a person. And then she stopped saying that, you know, she didn't do that again after that point because she saw him as a full human being. And I think you're right, Marsha like a lot of the characters you could see that, that their initial reactions to each other were very superficial. They were putting somebody in a category or a box and not seeing them as a fleshed out living, breathing person, but a role or a race or a, a job. And, and I think that that was, you know, that's a major driver of the book is these characters starting to see and accept each other as, as human beings and these tight bonds that they make that last like, well into the epilogue, you know, many, many years later, they are still extremely connected to each other, through these friendships and experiences, they're found family, right? Mm-hmm , they all find each other. And, and they seem to forge these really , uh , tight bonds with people that do start to see them as individuals. And that, that seems to be very important for everyone in the book is to be valued and to be seen.

Shom:

And it's interesting, as I was reading this, seeing the progression, as we saying the growth of the characters and how they see one, another both made me think of Ellen Raskin as a writer, but then also the way that she constructs Sam Westing as a character, because it's both the choice of her in writing it, but also the choice of Sam Westing and bringing the 16 of them together as the heirs and how he partners them in the pairs of eight. I'm sure we'll talk about it more later. But I realize recently that the pairings matches a number of paws in a game of chess mm-hmm <affirmative> so there's so many of those parallels in how it's written, but another instance of the growth of how the characters see one another, that struck me was Judge Ford's reflection on how she at first thought of Angela as a pretty young thing, she is saying that, and then Ellen Raskin has this beautiful inner monologue sort of, of Judge Ford, reflecting on that and examining how most of the characters in the book primarily see her in relation to who she is to marry and see her as just this pretty face rather than humanizing her, which obviously as the bomber behind all of the attacks in the book and with the story of her own, she has much more complexity than many even the judge would see at first

Heather:

With Shom bringing up the chess game, the puzzles in the book. Again, I was just really impressed by how many layers there are to everything and how well she connects things that seem completely unimportant to the puzzle. Initially, there's so many like Chekov's guns in here, nothing appears early that isn't important later. One of the things that I had not caught before was the candle that Turtle sells to Sandy. And he says it's for his wife's birthday. And then it's used for the fireworks slash bomb in the final scene at the Westing house for Crow's birthday, who was Mr. Westing's wife, like it all just connects. And that seemed so unimportant. You know, she sells him at candle and you read this scene and you're like, oh, you know, he's trying to make her feel better. And this funny scene, cuz she's like for you, I'll give it to you for like $5. You know, it's, it's showing Turtle as this little like baby entrepreneur and their interaction is really cute, but the candle ends up it's important. You know, it, it actually matters. It was a clue and turtle sees then at the end of things, that it was a clue. The chess game is great too, because so early on we have Otis and Crow as the king and queen because he's misunderstood their Majesty's clue. But then that connects to the chessboard that, that Theo has been playing the game of chess with Sandy. I just think the layers there are really fantastic. So I wanted to talk a little bit about the puzzles in the book and about puzzle books in general, because for me as a child, this was the first book that I remember reading like this, where the puzzles were like very deep and complex and multi-layered even, it now feels like an homage to sort of Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes style locked room mysteries.

Hannah:

I mean, I'm really bad at puzzles and mysteries. So I'm very easy to awe when it comes to them. But this one, I think definitely managed to do that. I thought that they, so we see the clues of all the characters. We kind of know, we're like, oh, it's that purple mountain majesty song. Like, so we see that even though the characters don't until much later. So we kind of feel like we're in on something, but we're also missing like the lower layer of the mystery until the end, unless, well, maybe some people figured that I, I didn't until, until the reveal, I , I'm almost always shocked by these things cuz I, I just don't have a brain for figuring out those on the fly. I also, you were pointing out, Shom like the chess references with the pairs like that went over my head too. But I think that's a really clever layer that she put in there. So I think it's a, it's a meticulous, well thought up puzzle that I think works for kids and adults.

Heather:

We talked a little bit too about , uh , Angela being, you know, very much put in a box in many ways, you know, starting at the beginning, when, when for her position, I think she puts nothing. And by the end of the book, she's put person which is an improvement, but she's, < laugh > , it's kind of a minimal improvement, but she's a very interesting sort of depiction of , uh , feminine picture of , uh , femininity in the book and how trapped she feels by she's perfect. Right? Like she's what everybody would say is the perfect woman. She's beautiful and she's young and she's polite and quiet and she's engaged to a doctor and you know, she's doing everything right and she's miserable. u m, so I wanted to talk about Angela a little bit and then about the other women in the book, because I, I am struck by this book as being pretty strongly feminist, you know, the, the women in the book are all very different, but they're all very well developed and I think very interesting characters in their own, right? So throwing it out there.

Hannah:

See Angela is really suffering under her mother's sense of who she is and you see, the opening scene is she's getting address fitted and her mother is fussing about, she might accidentally get a pin prick, while being fitted, which is just, I mean, that's something people survive, It's not the end of the world. She's

Heather:

Just, she says she has very sensitive, delicate skin,

Hannah:

Whatever that means. < laugh > yeah, it's a pin. She'll be okay. No one wants to get stabbed, but it'll be fine. We see that Angela is, I mean, she's not, I mean, she's quiet, but she's, you know, she's not a shrinking violet. She's not especially sensitive. She's, you know, just kind of a person and like she envies turtle as I think she uses the term neglected. I, I would prefer that my mother neglect me the way Turtle is which Turtle doesn't love either. I don't think even though Turtle is doing her own thing and just seems pretty happy having some independence, but uh , you know, you see Turtle wanting that relationship with Flora, she clearly was hungry for some maternal affection there.

Marsha:

Yeah. I think, I think Angela's mother was so domineering and expected Angela to be this perfect, beautiful daughter to marry this doctor and Angela, she just fell into place and did what her mother wanted her to do and all that frustration and everything that she was feeling, she bottled it up so much, but eventually the anger bubbled up < laugh > to the point where Angela, which no one will suspect, you know, becomes the bomber. And she didn't just do it once or twice. I mean, she did it several times to the point where, you know, her sister had to protect her and she ended up getting hurt. And I think she was okay with the flaw of her face. Like getting her face was messed up from, from her own bomb. But I think she was okay with that because she wasn't as perfect, you know, as everyone saw her. So, and eventually she ended up spoiler alert, ended up marrying Dr. Denton anyway <laugh>. Over the years, but she, she didn't even feel that relationship. She didn't want to be in that relationship. U m, but she was just going along and all that frustration came out. So I kind of, I really felt for her, she was the one that I felt, felt for. And I was glad in the end that she gained the independence that she was quietly inside fighting for, but not saying it out loud.

Hannah:

I think we could say that her anger literally exploded several times. < l augh> . Yeah, that's interesting. She did marry the doctor after all, but presumably on her own terms.

Marsha:

after yeah .

Hannah:

That she went in , I think became an orthopedic surgeon. Is that what the mm-hmm <affirmative> end of the text said?

Shom:

And then I think the contrast of that with the story of Violet Westing, where, you know, you see the parallels in who they are and the situations they're in violet, having had her partner chosen by her mother who's Crow , um, being this politician in sort of that parallel idea of constructing a life for your daughter, where she marries a powerful man and has all that, that life entails and seeing how obviously Violet unfortunately took her own life. And while Angela also, since she has these bottled up emotions and a lack of agency early on has that will to inflict harm upon herself as well, but seeing the growth and seeing what comes for her, as opposed to the unfortunate fate that Violet Westing faced, I thought was a powerful contrast that Ellen Raskin wrote in

Heather:

It's almost a throwaway in the book, but when we discover that Grace Wexler is actually also a Windkloppel and she's the true niece of Sam Westing, and it's mentioned towards the end that she was basically disowned by her family because she married a Jew. So throughout the book we're seeing like, oh, Grace is molding Angela into like even more successful version of what she wants to be, this sort of socialite perfect woman. But she wasn't that at all. She chose for love rather than what her family wanted. So Grace, Angela and Violet have all been in some ways their families have tried to force them into a match or out of a match and tried to make those choices for them. And, and the way that the three of them respond differently is very interesting. I think to look at, I think we also have some other women in the book that are interesting characters. The judge, JJ Ford, I think is a pretty great character. You know, she, she grew up in the Westing house as the daughter of servants to Sam Westing. And he took a shine to her because he could see her potential and how smart she was. And then he funded her education at a boarding school. And, and she said probably pulled strings to get her into, I think she went to Columbia and Harvard for undergrad law and maybe even got her, her first job. But then it's from that point on, she never seems to have viewed that as something she earned, but rather a manipulation on his part that like, he wasn't giving that to her because she was smart and he thought she deserved opportunities, but that he was giving that to her because he wanted a judge in his pocket, which is like, I feel like that's a very sophisticated thing to put in a children's book. Like the idea of somebody like grooming somebody and basically buying legal favors. But she's still so angry about that. Mm-hmm <affirmative> she never loses that. And you know, she's a profoundly accomplished woman. She ends up on the Supreme Court

Speaker 2:

Of the

Speaker 4:

Book. Yeah. Um ,

Speaker 2:

So like clearly her own merits were what got her, where she was. And I felt like reading the book that Sam Westing would've said that too . Like, I don't think he sent her to school to have a judge in his pocket. Right . I think he really was in his own weird manipulative way, trying to give her opportunities to make the most of the potential that he saw. But I don't know that she ever shook that like by the end of the book, I think she still resented the heck out of him for

Speaker 4:

It. She did, she was so resentful and felt manipulated by him. And, but she seemed to be the one to know him the best mm-hmm <affirmative> like she , unless she thought <laugh> , she thought she knew him the best and she accepted what he gave her, but she did not feel comfortable about it and felt like she owed him

Speaker 2:

And she wanted to be clear of her debt to him for her schooling, which she does absolve her of during the game, at the end, where she gets basically the note that says you've paid this and this for the money that she gave to Sandy. Right. To say like your debt is removed. But I feel like that just made her more angry. And like, honestly, I was kinda angry at him at that point. It was like,

Speaker 4:

She knew she cleared

Speaker 2:

This art . Like, you didn't need to like rub it in again,

Speaker 4:

Like

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And you see like she's a very like scrupulous, meticulous person with an extremely strong sense, like a strict moral code and a strong sense of honor. You just see it driving her. I mean, you see it driving interaction with everybody else. Like, you know how she is , she's a generous tipper. And she she's really like nuanced and kind with turtle when she thought turtle was the bomber. And , uh , she and Chris have a pretty good relationship. She just, she wants to be free of any sort of obligation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. She has such insight into the other characters in the book. And she is very graceful about the way that she accomplishes things, just giving the business to Mr . Who's restaurant. She could see that the business is struggling, but she doesn't want it to seem like charity. So she orders the Ords and then with Chris, you know, she really takes him on at the end as sort of a protege, but she's not as overbearing about it. As Westing was with her that she got like so fast that Angela was the bomber based on turtle's reaction. Like she's so shrewd and she gets all of the other characters and she has such insight into them. But then I wonder a little bit if she has that same insight into herself, mm-hmm <affirmative> because I do feel like she would've solved the game, except her emotions got in the way mm-hmm <affirmative> about Sam Westing . She got too caught up in like, oh, he got me again. Oh , he's manipulating me again to like quite get all the way there. Yeah . So she doesn't make that final leap to, to Julian Eastman. She doesn't quite make that last jump there because she gets too hung up on the, oh, we got me again part or at least that was my impression. Maybe she just let turtle have it. I don't know if that at the end , maybe that a controversial take

Speaker 1:

Spot on that's I could see that interpretation. She she's kind of seeing , yeah . Seeing lots of layers. I can see her letting turtle have that win . Especially

Speaker 2:

Maybe she doesn't wanna talk to that guy. <laugh>

Speaker 6:

It's done

Speaker 1:

What only do with him.

Speaker 3:

And if I had been in her shoes, because she's talked about how up until she went to boarding school, I think until age 12, she would play chess with Sam Westing mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative>. So the way that the queen sacrificed the move that she would always lose to when playing Sam Westing shows up in the way the Westing game unfolds, I was in her shoes. I would be mad at myself in my own internal dialogue, trying to work through how Sam Westing continues to best me today. So it makes sense the idea of taking a step back and let others flourish in it

Speaker 2:

For as many characters as there are in the book, I feel like they're very well developed.

Speaker 3:

Mm-hmm <affirmative>, especially for children's book. Like I remember this was the first book I would've read with so many central protagonists, which I think felt overwhelming at first, but the way that Ellen Raskin writes very intentionally develops them both as how others see them. But also you see their internal dialogue and thought processes see in a good way, which then made it not feel as overwhelming as it could have been given that their 14 protagonists.

Speaker 2:

So we should talk about Turtle <laugh> I think yes , of our many protagonists, she is clearly meant to be the, essentially the standin for the reader. And she is our, our heroin of the book. She solves the puzzle.

Speaker 1:

And maybe even for Ellen Raskin, a little, like, I think she's a little bit of an author into it. There.

Speaker 2:

She definitely in the, the one horn book piece that I found, she says there are a lot of similarities between turtle and how she was as a girl. And it even the way that her adult life played out, basically like a stock Maven , but Ellen Raskin apparently was as well. Like she, she was a tremendously successful investor. And then I think her insight into turtles, flaws and insecurities probably is very well earned. I think there's a lot of like real insight into turtle in the book. Like she's certainly not presented as a Pollyanna or a , a character that doesn't have a lot of flaws.

Speaker 1:

Like she goes right , kicking everyone . She actually very valid .

Speaker 4:

She's very valid. I mean, she expresses herself by kicking people and you know, her words are so cutting when she's angry, she cuts you down. But then again, she's soft too, you know, I think, think it was Hannah who mentioned that she was vulnerable and seeking love too. And you, you felt that at some point that you just wanted to give her a hug because you know, she wasn't getting the love from her mother like that, that, you know , um , tangible love from her mother. And so she was seeking it outside with flora.

Speaker 1:

Did she go to flora and ask her to do braid her hair? You know , she like my mother's busy and then it became like a routine. I thought that was really sweet .

Speaker 4:

Like flora braid her hair. Like after that forever,

Speaker 3:

Even though she has all this wisdom and is a w at navigating the stock market, somehow at age 13, she also has, you know, a childish crush on Doug who mm-hmm <affirmative> . And even as he teases her. So seeing that sort of complexity in who she is both as a child and almost an adult.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. She's for 13, she's very immature. Like in the way that she presents, she is precocious intellectually, but emotionally she presents to me as much younger child than 13 mm-hmm <affirmative> and, you know, I don't think she's been kind of stunted by her mom, just really not loving her at all. Grace does come around at the end. She talks about the end of the book. She says something about turtle's gonna be something. And like , she's the smartest child. That's still like,

Speaker 4:

She only child like in the building. And so she is, you know, comes off cross as being bratty and spoiled and, and yeah, a little younger, I hadn't thought about that, but whenever I'm kicking people into , she <laugh> at 13 is <laugh> is not a , like a behavior that 13 year olds usually.

Speaker 3:

And then that comes to her benefit down the road when seeing people who she's kicked aren't who , as they identify

Speaker 4:

Who's limp <laugh> <laugh> .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I mean, people are like legitly injured, you know, Chris early on spots, the person limping from the, the Westing house. And we later learned that that was Dr . Syke . Yeah . Mm-hmm <affirmative> um , but you know, he's on, on the lookout for the Lier the whole time, because he , he sped it through his bird watching binoculars, but so many people are like limp , badly limping, cause turtle has kicked them .

Speaker 1:

Everyone is limping

Speaker 2:

And

Speaker 4:

All the men are limping. Yes .

Speaker 2:

I Don think

Speaker 4:

The women , all men are limping. I think all the men are limping. That's

Speaker 2:

True. I don't think she's kicked any of the women. Um ,

Speaker 1:

C's

Speaker 2:

Limping, Sydelle limps. Fakely Ben , for real, when she breaks her ankle Crow , limps, cuz she has a corn. Right.

Speaker 4:

But

Speaker 2:

None of them have been kicked, kicked

Speaker 4:

By turtle. But I mean , turtle,

Speaker 2:

I do the , the , the whole thing with Doug who cracks me , like his whole character cracks me up. Yeah . Like his running everywhere. And then Theo being like, you gotta follow Otis Amber and he's described as like basically running like multiple marathons in

Speaker 4:

Two days

Speaker 2:

Trying to like tail this guy for miles everywhere. And then after he wins the state race, the like where he is putting up the like number ones inappropriately everywhere. <laugh> like , I just, I thought that character was great.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. He just, he just had a training regimen to maintain and all this stuff was happening. He's like, I just need to stay in shape <laugh>

Speaker 2:

But then his training regimen ends up being terrible because Theo makes him like tail Otis, Amber, like before the big race you'd be on a taper . You would not wanna be like ultra marathon the two days before the race. I think that was a really interesting , um , presentation of parental disappointment as well. Yeah, because Jimmy who for most of the book is extremely disappointed and Doug mm-hmm <affirmative> why is he running all the time? He should study? Like he has a very narrow vision of what a good kid is. And Doug's a great kid. Like he's very serious about his running and he's extremely talented. He's a good friend. He seems kind to his stepmother who needs some kindness mm-hmm , <affirmative> , she's in a bad situation, but like he's very disappointing. He's one of the many disappointments of Jimmy whose life, you know, his , his failed stolen inventions, his failing restaurant, like

Speaker 4:

His marriage.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And , and that's, it's interesting that Westing paired him with grace as the like two disappointed parents and somehow together, they sort of get each other to the place that they're able to see their children more clearly. Mm-hmm <affirmative> , which I think is an interesting

Speaker 1:

Twist . They're both, they're both, they're both miserable and stressed and doesn't go very well for the two of them at first, but they seem to get better together. Grace Windsor is a restaurant tour at the end and is like really happy. And Mr . Who is doing something else and seems way less stressed and a lot more fulfilled. He is like, what 10 restaurants at the end , she ends up on

Speaker 2:

Of Chinese restaurants,

Speaker 1:

Which is,

Speaker 2:

But like it's very high profile. Right. She's having all these athletes come in and take their pictures with her. Yeah . It's exactly what she wanted. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and he ends up being successful with his inventions. He's finally getting credit mm-hmm <affirmative> , which was what he wanted. And then I think Jake and son being paired together is interesting too. It's long suffering spouses, right . Of these two people. And they end up really like connecting in, in an interesting way. I did think that that was the character of Madam who is interesting as well, because much like Chris there's a lot of points at which other characters infantilize her or stereotype her in some way because of her appearance essentially. Right. It was interesting how often the internal monologue for the characters would point out things like that, where something could have just slid by, you know, grace making her wear the slinky dress kind of thing, but it doesn't there's commentary on it. Mm-hmm <affirmative> which to me that felt a lot fresher than the age of the book. Many of those things are pointed out like subtle things are pointed out as being like very damaging and, and unkind and cruel and reductive.

Speaker 3:

And I remember being very surprised that she was the thief the whole time. I don't think as I was reading it the first time as a kid, that she was even on the top of my radar as someone who would be in that role, but the way that she's trying to steal all these valuable items to save up money to return, I think she's originally from Hong Kong mm-hmm <affirmative> to go there. I thought that was a brilliant detail that Ellen Raskin wrote in. She does ultimately at the end, have the ability to go back to Hong Kong. So seeing that trajectory of her as a character, both in the context of the family that she's entered, but then having her own individual agency and storyline as well.

Speaker 2:

Well, and she becomes very successful. She's apparently a very goodkeeper and, and takes over the financial aspects of Mr . Who's inner souls

Speaker 1:

Prior <laugh> <laugh>

Speaker 2:

Um , and then keeps the business running even after he passes away. Mm-hmm <affirmative> it, it is interesting to me that other than Westing, all of the like financial brains in the book are the women mm-hmm <affirmative>

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm <affirmative> it's true. I didn't realize it until you pointed that

Speaker 2:

Out. And some of the more like emotional softer side characters are the men, you know, Jake is one of the kinder characters. I think Chris and Theo are both very kind and mm-hmm <affirmative> under , they understand people very well. So there's sort of an inversion of how genders typically portrayed, especially in children's book when there's this many characters, you know, it's right . It's easier to just put people into like, men are good at this and they do this and that. And then the women do this and that, and it's this kind of person, but they're , again, they're all very well developed and often developed against what I think gender stereotyping does.

Speaker 1:

Like show might also surprised when Madam who was the thief, like I figured it was Sam Westing messing with the characters in some way, cuz it was clearly you revealed her like, oh okay. This poor woman is miserable and just wants to go back to China.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. I felt some kinda way about that when I read, you know, and I realized that she was the , the thieve , it just broke my heart that she felt like she had to still are these items to try to get back home. Right . And that she was so miserable here and didn't like her life at all. And she just wanted to go back home and she had to steal

Speaker 2:

That that'd be awful. You come somewhere and have no connections other than your husband who is, you know , really just

Speaker 4:

Disconnected.

Speaker 2:

Really. He's just miserable. He's so angry all the time and not having really any agency in her own life. She's not a chef. And he is like, go be the chef in my restaurant and go wear this dress to serve people in the restaurant. And she clearly has a lot more going for her than the things that people are making her do. Or like believe about

Speaker 3:

Her, the storyline of seeing her retain this idea of wanting connection and ability to go back to Hong Kong was interesting with how multicultural the characters in the book are, you know, the way that we have Polish characters, Greek characters, Jewish characters , um, and seeing that the way that patriotism is a part of, you know, uncle Sam is Sam Westing. A lot of times, the way that patriotism can play out the idea of a melting pot, where everyone comes under one American identity. And obviously as that's a flawed way of looking at people of different backgrounds. But I thought the way that Madam, who has others who don't fit into the wasp image of what American patriotism often highlights, I really appreciated seeing the more nuance in how each of those characters were developed. Accordingly

Speaker 2:

Show found a really great article in the new Yorker about the Westing game. And this book came out in 78, but she would've been in progress on it during the bicentennial for the United States in 76, apparently. And I think that the book actually does have a lot of interesting things to say about America and Americanism. Yeah. I , I think that take home is assimilation is not all it's cracked up to be mm-hmm <affirmative> and it's actually quite for anybody, you know, whether that's gender roles, whether it's language you speak or, or where you're from. But that , that is it's not healthy, you know, that it's very damaging to all of these characters. But then at the same time, it's very like rah capitalism, like look at turtle, go , she's like winning it at the stock market. And we are meant to think that, you know, turtle's outcome is a happy ending, right? Is it really, you know, like she's very rich,

Speaker 4:

But she marries, she

Speaker 2:

Marries

Speaker 4:

Theo. She does married Theo.

Speaker 2:

So , but then that, okay , so that bothered me too. So at the end, turtle is talking about Theo, who is her husband now? Mm-hmm <affirmative> and says, oh yes, he wrote a book. It only sold like six copies, but you know, it got good review and she says it in this way, that's extremely dismissive. It's a very cutting way to say that rather than to be like, but

Speaker 4:

That's turtle. <laugh>

Speaker 2:

That's turtle .

Speaker 4:

I know ,

Speaker 2:

But I just feel bad for him . Like

Speaker 4:

I'm assuming that he married her knowing that, I mean, she kick him too. I mean, he , he knows turtle, so <laugh> ,

Speaker 1:

I don't think we get, I feel like Theo doesn't get developed as much as the other characters in some ways. I , I , I mean, I think there is, he does have a character. He's not a blank, but the other characters get so much development that he almost feels maybe I missed it. There was so much going on, but he almost seems to fade into the background.

Speaker 2:

No, he's definitely developed less than his brother is mm-hmm <affirmative> for sure. And you know, he did put when they have to list their positions, right . When they're given the initial mm-hmm , <affirmative> the invitations he puts brother as his position. Yeah . I'm not sure that he ever moves beyond that. He is very much just a support role. Mm-hmm

Speaker 1:

<affirmative> it feels like Angela mm-hmm <affirmative> he's a little bit like, did you say stunted just know is ,

Speaker 2:

Yeah . I mean, I think for Angela though, we get such a rich interior life on her. We get so much of her inner feelings and thoughts and there's more action on her part. There's not a lot there for Theo mm-hmm <affirmative> , you know, he's he's I guess, trying to solve the mystery, he sends Doug to tail Otis. So he's sort of on the right track, but we never get a whole lot,

Speaker 4:

I think because Chris, Chris in his condition, I think just takes over and so much attention is focused on Chris, that he, he loves his brother so much and that he just takes the back seat . And I think this just how it was for him. So that's why we don't know much about him. I think that may have been intentional too on her part.

Speaker 2:

I don't remember what he puts as his position at the end. Did we find out

Speaker 1:

Everybody's everybody changed? Their

Speaker 2:

Everyone changed

Speaker 4:

Much their , their positions. I have to go to my phone. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

Who was it that made like a snarky dad joke about like

Speaker 2:

Standing that was Jake position. That

Speaker 1:

Sounds like Jake, like

Speaker 4:

Corny

Speaker 1:

Dad

Speaker 2:

Seated or standing unless lying down, I think was what he said. Yeah. He's totally a dad joke.

Speaker 4:

Yes . Totally wondering at the , about those two relationships, if , um, if Mr. Who and as to who the wrong actually yes . Gonna leave, like they were gonna switch wives and husbands or something like that. It just kind of got that feeling that , um,

Speaker 2:

Well, and that's pretty sophisticated to put in a children's book too. And it's not, I don't think it's just under the surface because Jake intentionally touches Sonny's hand yeah . To make grace jealous and he's like, good. She finally sees, she should be jealous. Mm-hmm like , because he's jealous that she's spending so much time with Jimmy. Yeah. But yeah. Things like that. I feel like that sort of thing is not usually built into children's books, nor is it acknowledged in children's books when there's an undercurrent. Yeah. And you have the inversion of grace and Jimmy in their titles at the end because she puts herself as restaurant tour at the end and he puts himself as inventor. And she also uses her maiden name. It's an interesting book. I think it is saying a lot of things where it's trying to say a lot of things. And I do do wonder because I'm not sure a kid would catch some of these things.

Speaker 4:

I don't even remember catching as an adult. <laugh> when I read it with my daughter, I just read the book and enjoyed it so much. I don't think I thought about anything, but reading it a second time. There were, I did gas <laugh> a few times and wonder what her intentions were.

Speaker 3:

And one thing that I'm still not entirely certain of, I get the sense that she wants us to see that all of the characters have some flaws, but are all still worthy of love. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and all our good people at the end of the day. But then , um, as you were saying, Heather, the idea of the way that capitalism is portrayed, where turtle ends up or tr ultimately ends up being this , um, whi with a stock market in a business person. But at the same time, I remember reading the second time a detail, which I didn't catch at first was that the person who Sandy MC Suthers is created to be was fired from Westin's company for being a union organizer. Yeah. So there are all these contradictions in the sense that I feel that I want to care for each character, but at the same time, some of who they are is sort of at odds with the livability of who others are in terms of their place in society.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And that it does make me wonder, like, what is her ultimate message in this? Because really up until the very end, it seems to be somewhat anti-capitalist mm-hmm <affirmative> right . Like the knocks on Westing were that he was money obsessed to the point that all of these bad things happened to people around him. He stole someone's invention. He Sandy the character he created, he fired for trying to unionize. And we're clearly supposed to sympathize with Sandy. It's he's written that way, you know, he's ignored his wife's grief to the point that she's, you know, completely gone off the rails and become an alcoholic post death of violet. But then he also like spends a ton of money to hire someone, to like continually follow her around mm-hmm <affirmative> . So we have all these like negative portrayals of the rich, you know, grace wants to be rich, but that's definitely depicted as gross. Her friends that she brings to the shower for Angela cookie barf, Springer <laugh>

Speaker 4:

We were ,

Speaker 2:

Is just the greatest name ever. And I think it needs to be a band name <laugh> um , but like she just offers pretty brutal depictions of the rich and the wannabe rich. It's not a flattering portrayal, but then the winner, what she wins is being rich. Mm-hmm <affirmative> , you know, she, she wins by being an Uber capitalist mm-hmm <affirmative> , which I'm just not really, I'm not sure how to take that,

Speaker 4:

But I think she made them all winners at the end. I mean, they all gained something at the end.

Speaker 2:

That's a good point. Mm-hmm

Speaker 4:

<affirmative> I think, I think that's, I think that was her point is that they all started off kind of like not knowing who they were, but at , by the end of the book, not only did they knew who they were, but we did too . We knew that they grew. Yeah. And that they all gained something. So I'm taking it as, as if she wanted them all to win in some way.

Speaker 2:

I think that's actually a really good point, Marsha . And is she, there is that quote in the book that life too is senseless, unless you know who you are, what you want and which way the wind blows that is true. They all did get what they want in the end, by kind of knowing themselves. They win in that sense. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm <affirmative> they achieve many of them, incredible success. You , it would be at Olympic gold or successful chain of restaurants, not Theo. I mean, almost all of them. They achieve like level of success that feel unrealistic to have happened to this group of people all from the same apartment. So this, it almost feels a lot more like a children's book at that point where it's like, they're some wish fulfillment. They're, they're super wealthy. They're super brilliant. They're super fulfilled. They're super successful. Sepro Theo as <laugh> we discussed it . It really felt a lot more like a kid's book at the end. I'm like, I mean, there's some moments of where if it feeling kind of unrealistic, like when the lawyer has the perfect letter or the perfect write up in the world, like sit down. So and so to prove , but I'm like, wait, is he a mind reader? Like, how is this happening? That

Speaker 2:

That's sort of the trope , right? I mean, right . And again, this does, to me, feel so much like an homage to Agatha Christie , because it is, it's the locked room tr why are all of these people called together to this one place? But like, that would never happen. But it it's such a common device. I think, in, in mysteries, especially the locked room mystery, there's a will being read like that's that starts so many books, you know? Yes . Now, like something like knives out, it's the same premise. It's like everyone has brought together and this one place, and then the old man has died. And now all these squabbling, HES, I think she does some clever inversions on it . But yeah, it , it is a little too neat at the end. I

Speaker 4:

Like that. It was kind of fanciful and I , I like that about it at the end, cuz it wasn't all dooming gloom. It was like happy. <laugh> right . And I like that about, about the ending.

Speaker 3:

Yeah . It made me think too of how this is just an absurdly funny book, like so many , so much humor in it. Like while I was reading it the second time I found myself laughing out loud a lot. Mm-hmm <affirmative> which again, like we're saying, even though there are some dark themes or happenings in it, it very much clearly is suitable for children. Since even though there are different layers, you can find what works for you. I remember, especially when miss Pulaski is trying to figure out who the twins are. Um, and she just keeps saying the most absurd one liners when she's

Speaker 2:

Maybe they're twins. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

<laugh> ordering drinks saying, make it a double like twins,

Speaker 2:

Your son , you look like twins. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

It's just so absurd. Um, and I think that's the beauty of it. Having those concurrent narratives.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. She's a really quippy writer. Like she gets some really good one liners in there. Like I laughed so hard at the part

Speaker 4:

Where

Speaker 2:

More Denton goes to get Chris and he is like, maybe he was being held hostage. Oh boy, I haven't had so much fun in years. Yeah .

Speaker 4:

This is like enjoying all of the attention. He's enjoying everything that's happening. <laugh> he's so funny.

Speaker 2:

So on that note is this book for kids? I mean, showman , I clearly enjoy . Yeah . When we were, we were kids.

Speaker 4:

Today's kids, today's kids,

Speaker 2:

Pretty adults in a lot of ways.

Speaker 4:

I think she wrote it at four adults. Didn't she? I mean, she wrote it for children, with adults in mine . I would think, I think it's a little of both. Cause as an adult reading it, I loved it as a kid today with some of the things she's had in the book and what kids are experiencing today. I think I would have an older kid read it .

Speaker 3:

And there's a part in the editors note where her editor and Darrell says that, like you were saying, Marsha , Ellen Raskin thought that she was writing it for the children and herself, the children and adult, but the editor notes that she thinks she was wrong. And instead that this book was written for the adult in children. Yeah .

Speaker 2:

It doesn't pander or condescend at all. I think the book thinks the kids can get those layers. It thinks that kids will understand the satire and the poking at certain things. And yeah. And again, just that she wove in so many of those comments on microaggression like that to me feels incredibly forward thinking for the time period that was written in and important. Like just to, to have that light switch go on for a kid. Like, and that is a really crappy way to treat somebody or that is a really weird thing to say. I think that's pretty interesting just given us how old it was. And also I think that kids books often gloss over things like they don't want to touch those things, even now mm-hmm <affirmative> or if they do, they do it in a very pedantic way. Right . Where it's like this book is going to teach you some lessons about yeah . How to

Speaker 4:

Treat people and the steps . Yeah .

Speaker 1:

There's a message with a capital M yeah . I mean, I think we've, we keep coming back to this topic on, on the pod, like who is it for ? And we've read a lot of books where that we can't really figure it out or it works on both levels. Like you were saying, Marsha , like, it's, this feels like it's for adult sign for kids. Maybe like how, when you watch Disney film, they or picks Pixar film, they put in jokes for the parents. Maybe what she's accomplished here is at a different level than that. But

Speaker 4:

I would recommend it for children.

Speaker 2:

I would too. Yeah . I mean, you know, I think it holds up pretty well. And I think it, I think Hannah said it's a romp mm-hmm it is like , there's a lot that happens in this book. Like I think it's fun. It's exciting. And it's you want the payoff at the end of, okay. Well I think I've put together these clues and,

Speaker 1:

And there's, there is a person in there with a lawsuit of plum, which makes me think of clue. And I just have to state that before. I think

Speaker 2:

That was intentional. I really that as well,

Speaker 1:

It had to have been, right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It , it must be

Speaker 4:

As a child. You're gonna know some of these people, you you've, they've probably, you probably have come across some of these people and some of these characters and characteristic and people that they, that they know and their, and their families in some way . So I think they're gonna be able to relate.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It's a very relatable book. Mm-hmm <affirmative> like everyone has experienced not getting attention when they need attention or getting the wrong kind of attention or being reduced down to a stereotype or, or the weight of other people's expectations. Like, I think there's someone in this book for everyone to like, latch onto as like, oh yeah. I know how that feels.

Speaker 4:

Mm-hmm <affirmative> there's 16 characters or more. Yeah , there's a lot of characters in this book. So

Speaker 1:

It's a slim book. Yeah . The fact that she fit so much characterization and plot into 182 page, my copy book is

Speaker 2:

Impressive and had it to Anne Dore the editor, because I can't imagine that the original was this tight mm-hmm <affirmative>, there's no way like this had to have been more to get it flushed out and to, to get it down to what it is. It's very tightly written book and it like, I , I think the pacing is good and there's very little excess that doesn't pay off in some way in the end. And I feel like this is a very well edited book credit to her .

Speaker 1:

So for our game segment, we are going to explore a quiz that we're going to take as turtle. It's a quiz called the Westing game. Which character are you?

Speaker 2:

Okay. So we're pretending to be turtle for this one.

Speaker 1:

How dedicated are you to your work? First answer is whatever it takes. It's illegal, but who cares? I'm committed or give it a few days and see what happens. I think turtle wouldn't care if something was illegal.

Speaker 2:

I don't think she would either. But does she do anything illegal? I mean, she takes credit for the bombs to save Angela. She

Speaker 1:

Breaks into the mansion. Oh, that's,

Speaker 2:

That's true .

Speaker 1:

That's be saying

Speaker 4:

Mansion . Good

Speaker 2:

Point. It's illegal, but who cares? Cause yeah, she just wanted those. That's

Speaker 1:

That's what it is .

Speaker 2:

Those dollars for the bet.

Speaker 1:

So

Speaker 2:

Yeah . And her dad's a bookie. We didn't talk about that .

Speaker 4:

We didn't talk that at all .

Speaker 2:

He gets put on the state crime commission, which is amazing .

Speaker 4:

That was

Speaker 1:

Interesting's hilarious. So do we think it's illegal? Who cares? I think how do you act around friends? <laugh> funny, silly and loose, shy and quiet, dumb and careless. I don't have any friends.

Speaker 3:

Oh, that's hard.

Speaker 2:

Turtle doesn't taste

Speaker 4:

Any funny . She only has gets the end , but I that's . I would say have no

Speaker 2:

I say no friend .

Speaker 1:

Well , she's friendly with Sandy, but it's right .

Speaker 3:

It's not , it's not a

Speaker 4:

Developed friendship .

Speaker 2:

I think no friends , no

Speaker 1:

Friends. If you were trapped on an island with another person, what would you do? Nothing. Go sit under a tree and star to death. I don't know. Listen to the other person, build a hut and then think of ways to get food and leave or make them do, as I say so we could survive.

Speaker 3:

I would say, make them do

Speaker 4:

What I say. Yeah . Yeah . She's

Speaker 3:

She's gonna delegate roles and have it play out how she wants it.

Speaker 1:

If you had to fight someone, what would you do beat up ? That might be her answer. Yeah . Let them beat me up . Pay someone to do it for me. Begged to not fight.

Speaker 2:

She would beat 'em up clearly .

Speaker 3:

No hesitation.

Speaker 1:

Do you like where you are? No. I want to move back home. I can make me like it. Yeah. I like it. Where am I?

Speaker 2:

I kind of like, I can make me like it because I feel like even when she goes into the Westing house , she's like, I'm gonna put this on the fake wart . So if there's a stench, I'll just like push through. Like she's very like willpower. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

Yes. Your results, turtle, Wexler. <laugh> you are a determined and intelligent person. You're not afraid to keep people in line and punish when needed. Even if you are 13, you are pretty much the main female character of the book. And that means a lot to you because you are not extremely good looking

Speaker 4:

That's mean

Speaker 1:

This is a weird summary of turtle . Well , turtle is mean

Speaker 4:

<laugh>

Speaker 2:

I guess she would be very realistic about herself.

Speaker 1:

True .

Speaker 3:

Each episode we ask whether our book passes, the Beal test, the Beal test asks whether a work features two female characters who talk to each other about something that doesn't involve men or boys. So does the Westing game pass?

Speaker 2:

Yes. Angela and turtle. Talk about bombing <laugh> yes . Flo and turtle. Talk about Rosalie. Yes . And stocks . <laugh>

Speaker 1:

There's so many side by conversations. Yes . That don't involve men. I feel like we could do a Supercut of all the episodes we've discussed the Beckel test for. And we said, yes, it passes because of discussion of violence

Speaker 2:

Between these two, a lot where it's just like two women discuss something that em involves violence or crime <laugh>

Hannah:

Yeah, it's a thing. Well, that's it for this season of these books made me stay tuned for possible bonus episodes and news of next season. If you have suggestions for future books to cover, feel free to drop us a tweet. We're at PG cm LS on Twitter and hashtag these books made me.

Intro
Guests
First time or reread?
Plot
Ellen Raskin
Hawa's Headspace
How does it hold up?
Microaggressions
Westing Chess
Angela
Violet Westing
Grace Wexler
Judge Ford
Multiple protagonists
Turtle
Doug
Mr Hoo & Grace Wexler
Madame Hoo
New Yorker article
Theo
Jake and his dad jokes
Capitalism
Successes
Is this book for kids?
Game segment
Bechtel Test
Outro