Mark Reads ‘The Westing Game’: Chapters 29 / 30

In the twenty-ninth and thirtieth chapters of The Westing Game, THIS IS NOT OKAY. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to finish The Westing Game.

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Five Years Pass / Chapter Thirty: The End?

I knew this had to end, but not like this.

Composing a mystery like this – one that’s challenging and complex without being condescending – must have been hard enough, but I think I’m most impressed with how Ellen Raskin created such recognizable and definable characters along the way. The conclusion of this book hit me way harder than I thought it would, and I’m sad to see these characters go, some of them quite literally.

The Westing Game changed these people’s lives, and these final chapters show just how they came to appreciate those they came to know because of it. Crow and Otis have continued to love one another and keep the soup kitchen running; Mr. Hoo found even more success in business, though he never got to take Madame Hoo back to China; Theo graduated from journalism school; Doug won an OLYMPIC MEDAL OH MY GOD; Jake is chairman of the State Gambling Commission; Sydelle married Conrad Schultz.

I was ecstatic that Chris got to go to college, that Judge Ford continued to move up in the legal world, and that they still remained friends, even if they both got a little too busy to keep up with all the time. And Chris and his ornithologist friend eventually got married! BUT LORD. TURTLE. To hear Grace refer to her so positively… that’s probably the biggest change in the whole novel. T.R. Wexler, she calls herself. I’d like to think that’s because of Sandy and all the fun names he came up with. Truthfully, this book always centered itself around Turtle and Sam Westing, and so, that’s precisely why it has to end the way it does. Turtle, alongside Julian R. Eastman’s bedside in his last moments, recounts to her longtime friend what’s happened in the many years since he started the Westing Game. Part of me wonders if there’s any truth to what Turtle says here. Is she lying to Sandy just to give him pleasant thoughts as he passes on? Or is Judge Ford really on the U.S. Supreme Court? (Actually, I totally believe that one.)

Many of the heirs have passed on themselves. Crow and Otis died two years prior; Angela and Denton did eventually get married, but I imagine it was more on Angela’s terms. They had a daughter they named Alice! (MY HEART.) Chris and Shirley got married and are professors, and Doug won another Olympic gold medal. Sadly, Sunny Hoo only made it back to China after her husband passed away. Shockingly, Turtle married Theo, who finally wrote a book! Which is lovely and gives me hope, since it’s taken me so long to finish my own first novel.

But I was hit by a wave of sadness when, on the dawn of the fourth of July, Turtle’s friend of many years, who helped her learn how to play the stock market, who helped her discover her own worth as a person, and who gave her a chance to play the greatest game of her life, finally died. For real this time. There were no tricks or disguises. However, Turtle did inherit something from Sam Westing that had nothing to do with money: a love for chess. After finally beating him at the game, she turned towards a new opponent.

Her niece Alice.

This book was a blast, and I’m still sticking to my claim that this was the most fun I’ve had reading a book in the Mark Reads format. IT WAS SO DIFFERENT. Thank y’all for recommending this and quietly getting me to put it on my schedule. Tomorrow, I’ll finally read my first Diana Wynne Jones book: Deep Secret. I hope you’ll join me!

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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