I've been pretty good about keeping up with my rereading goal this year, and in September I reread The View From Saturday, by E.L. Konigsburg. I've return to this book fairly regularly and find myself thinking of it frequently. As a kid I loved the idea of the Academic Quiz Bowl and, as it turns out, I still love it. It's a bit gimmicky having so many of the quiz bowl questions correlate so perfectly to The Souls own journeys, but at the same time I don't think there's a better way to segue into each of the characters' own stories.
One thing that struck me reading the book this time around is how important Mrs. Olinski's journey is to the book as a whole -- in fact (mild spoiler here) the book ends with her, not the students, finding her place. When I reached the end of the book I thought to myself that hey, maybe this is Mrs. Olinski's story after all.
And in some ways it is. It's the story of her coming back to teaching and finding students that inspired her. It's a story of her feeling more comfortable as herself after becoming paralyzed, and being brave enough to stand up for herself and listen to her gut.
But in other ways it's the story of Nadia, Noah, Julian, and Ethan -- the sixth grade students who are competing in the Academic Quiz Bowl state finals against an eighth grade team. It's the story of how they know each other, how they were brought together, and the things that happened before the school year that helped them discover a bit more of who they are and come out of their shells. For Nadia it's a tale of saving turtles. For Noah it's learning calligraphy.
This tidy little book has a lot of levels to it. There are the interlocking stories, the characters journeys, and not to mention the quiz-bowl-style information. Reading this book the very first time was how I learned about the life cycle of turtles, the origins of the words posh and tip, and more about calligraphy than I will possibly ever need to know.
While I'm not sure I loved this book quite as much as the first time I read it, it's a book that remains great through the years. And honestly I can't expect it to be as amazing as the first time I read it, because reading The View from Saturday for the first time, as a kid, is an experience that made a big impact.