You know how sometimes you encounter a book quite by chance, and it kind of knocks your socks off? When I worked at a little local used bookstore, someone brought in this book to exchange, and the quirky illustration and title made me decide it needed me.
The story starts out simply enough, with Reggie answering a newspaper ad for gifted children looking for special opportunities. But he is quickly drawn into a plot much bigger than himself, and is placed on a team with three other children who have special talents such as physical dexterity, photographic memory, and stubbornness (!). They are sent on an extremely dangerous and difficult mission to defeat Mr Curtain, who is trying to take over the world by his telepathic machine, the Whisperer, which brainwashes people without their knowledge. Since Mr Curtain works out of a boarding school, only children can spy on him without suspicion.
The story is riveting, and I found myself staying in my car when I arrived at a friend’s house to read just a little longer and a little longer before I joined the party I had come for. Although it’s full of mystery and danger, the story telling isn’t dark, but rather catchy and funny, and a tiny bit scary in parts.
The Mysterious Benedict Society comes in a set of four books (three of which are pictured above), which follows the children through many heroic and death-defying adventures. The first book can be found used for a few cents here, if you want to try it out before getting the whole set. It’s the perfect fun read for an eight to thirty-eight year-old.
However. Take this book on a vacation at your own risk. If you spend the whole vacation tucked in a corner engrossed in your reading instead of socializing, and all your friends want to yell at me for recommending this book, don’t say I didn’t warn you.