A Critical Review of the Young Adult’s Book – "The View From Saturday"

I was given this one by a friend of my oldest son Jordan. The book is called “The View From Saturday” by E.L. Konigsburg. I felt that this book by a very prolific author, stood out because of the simplicity of the prose and the complexity of the novel’s structure.

The emerging popularity of academic sport sets the scene in this novel about love and friendship.

In this Newbery Medal award winner, four sixth grade children, Ethan Potter, Noah Gershom, Julian Singh, and Nadia Diamondstein, create a group they call “The Souls”. The main characters in the book are sixth grade students, their teacher Eva Marie Olinski and several senior citizens. The story takes place in Epiphany Middle School in upstate New York.

The novel takes on an interesting format. It alternates between first person narrative and third person. Each member of the Souls tells their first person slice of life after answering a question during Bowl Day.

The academic bowl is coming up, and their teacher, Mrs. Olinski, chooses them to represent their school, Epiphany.

As it turns out, the Epiphany team beats even the seventh and eight graders in the Academic Bowl, and in the end, becomes the state champion.

I’m not really giving away the story here, the beauty of this book is in the writing and the portrayal of each child as well as the grownups; especially the paraplegic Mrs. Olinski.

I recommend it for 10 to 12 year olds. Those 13 and up might find it too slanted towards the younger crowd but might enjoy the story just the same.

The book is 160 pages, which makes it a short read for most junior high / middle school children. I would recommend it for boys and girls. The style is varied and the characters are solid and grounded though most are given to flights of fancy.