Monday, January 21, 2008

Book Giveaway - The Man Who Was Thursday

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G.K. Chesterton
1908, Ignatius Press, 289 pages, softcover, Catholic
includes annotations by Martin Gardner, illustrated

The Man Who Was Thursday is a great classic, beloved by many, and not easy to do justice to in a review (even after reading it twice, leading a teen discussion on the book and attending a Chesterton conference which particularly highlighted this book!), but I'll give it my best shot.

This is a quirky enigmatic detective story (or at least, a story about detectives) that's great fun as a read-aloud. I first read it aloud to my children almost two years ago and it captured the attention and the imagination of the 8, 10 and 13 year olds. It's incredibly well-crafted, funny and deep all at the same time; you'll find loads of interesting symbolism and a strong religious undertone. It sometimes frustrates adults who want to understand it all at once and yet delights the younger set. What a curious book!

We own this book on audio as well, so my children have listened to it over and over again. We've all found wonderful tidbits that are applicable to things we're doing or thinking about. It just comes to mind over and over again.

I love the themes of anarchy and the poetry of order. Here's a lovely sample:

"I tell you," went on Syme with passion, "that every time a train comes in I feel that it has broken past batteries of besiegers, and that man has won a battle against chaos. You say contemptuously that when one has left Sloane Square one must come to Victoria. I say that one might do a thousand things instead, and that whenever I really come there I have the sense of hair-breadth escape. And when I hear the guard shout out the word 'Victoria,' it is not an unmeaning word. It is to me the cry of a herald announcing conquest. It is to me indeed 'Victoria'; it is the victory of Adam."
This book is a light read in many ways (for teens and up or as a read-aloud to younger children) and yet will keep you thinking and discussing for a long time! I very much enjoyed this title in our teen literature discussion group - we didn't necessarily agree on the ways we looked at various parts of the book, but everyone loved the book (certainly not always the case in our group!) and it was one of the most lively and interesting discussions we've ever had!

Donated by Adoremus Books

Reviewed by Alicia Van Hecke

Click here to view our Love2learn page on the Man Who Was Thursday

Adoremus Books has generously donated two copies of The Man Who Was Thursday to give away! If you'd like to be entered in this drawing, please leave a comment before Tuesday night (January 22nd) at midnight (Pacific time) and check back on Wednesday morning to see if you've won!

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