Review: The Mutual Admiration Society

The Mutual Admiration SocietyThe Mutual Admiration Society by Lesley Kagen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I admire author Lesley Kagen’s devotion to a narrating character’s very fresh and original voice. She really captures the sound of a 10-year-old kid who has had a rough life in the early ’60s. The plot is cute (what kind of mysteries would a kid dream up and how would they really resolve?).

But it’s too much. You just drown in the main character’s (Tessie) mental side thoughts and lists and repetition and overall ooze of the voice. It’s exactly like listening to a chatty, imaginative kid hyped up on pixie sticks talk right in your ear…for 12 hours. Not something a lot of people would sign up for.

The mystery isn’t as big of a mystery as it seemed, but a great deal of neighborhood drama is revealed and handled instead. It was cute but overmuch. And I found the “aristocratic TV language” asides from the little sister to be way too hard to believe–even though Tessie frequently gets mixed up on phrases, her little sister periodically (when the plot desires it!) pops out with perfectly logical and grammatically correct posh phrases we’re supposed to believe she picked up from TV.

Good luck to you if you can get through this one; you might want to bring some earplugs.

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