Mark Reads ‘The Westing Game’: Chapters 3 / 4

In the third and fourth chapters of The Westing Game, Turtle discovers a secret. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Westing Game.

Chapter Three: Tenants In and Out / Chapter Four: A Corpse is Found

  • GOOD GOD I UNDERSTAND SO LITTLE OF THIS. Is it a ghost story? A mystery? Is this all an elaborate con to get me to read a book that isn’t real and the whole thing was manufactured to see how far I’d take this?
  • (… that is an interesting idea, please nobody do that to me.)
  • I do appreciate that while I have no clue what this book is about, Raskin is giving me these fascinating glimpses of the characters who inhabit Sunset Towers. We start things off in chapter three with the Wexlers – Angela, Grace, and Turtle – and that leads me to believe that Grace basically doesn’t even like her own daughter. Her treatment of Turtle, especially when contrasting with her adoration for Angela, is so jarring and upsetting that it’s hard to understand why anyone would speak to their daughter like Grace does. She clearly venerates her elder daughter’s looks, demeanor, and choices in life. Turtle is clearly the black sheep here, and I definitely feel a lot more affinity for her than anyone else.
  • I’m confused about the shin kicking thing, just since it’s not entirely clear. I believe Doug when he says that Turtle kicks people in the shin as self-defense, so does that mean a lot of adults in Sunset Towers pick on a little girl? There’s that line where Flora remains on the carpet “to protect her sore shin,” since she’d “pulled Turtle’s braid in the lobby.” WHAT.
  • Grace Wexler, I’ve got my eye on you.
  • Who the hell is this Crow woman??? I’m guessing she lives in the building as well, and she also LOVES JESUS. Enough to claim that Sam Westing is roasting in hell.
  • For the time being, the Hoo family intrigues me, though I’m worried about the persistence of the stereotype that Asian parents are always destined to hound their children about studying and getting good grades. Granted, this is the first time we see this behavior, so it might not be a stereotype at all.
  • It does make me sad that Mr. Hoo is having such a frustrating time with his newly-opened restaurant, especially given that the Theodorakis’s coffee shop is bustling with activity. Am I also meant to assume that the “small, delicate woman” is Madame Hoo? Is she upset with her immigration to America? Does she wish to go home?
  • JUDGE J.J. FORD. Hell yes, I am already into her no-nonsense tone. But why does she owe Sam Westing money???
  • But it’s the Theodorakises who have my favorite relationship dynamic here. Chris obviously cares for his brother a great deal, but it’s not in a patronizing way. They seem like best friends, the kind who understand one another and depend on one another.
  • WHO IS SYDELLE PULASKI??? Her section is also kind of sad, and I think her self-image issues manifest in this perception of hers that no one ever pays any attention to her. I don’t doubt her perception, for what it’s worth, because no one has paid attention to her in the novel so far. But what did she buy the wood crutches and enamel and paint thinner for? How will this get others to notice her??? That sounded VAGUELY THREATENING.
  • Chapter four focuses entirely on Turtle Wexler, however, who is quickly becoming my favorite character. On Halloween night, she and Doug Hoo decide to fulfill the bet the others made about how long Turtle can stay in the Westing house. They’ve agreed to pay her TWO DOLLARS A MINUTE. WHICH IS INCREDIBLE.
  • Packed with snacks and orange pop and a flashlight and her mother’s cross necklace (FOR VAMPIRES DUH), Turtle heads into the Westing House and lasts twelve minutes BECAUSE SHE FOUND A DEAD BODY IN IT.
  • Not quite. The next morning (because Turtle is smart and books it the fuck out of that house) Turtle reads about Sam Westing’s body being found in his house, and little of it makes sense. I love the use of the paper as exposition! We learn about his wonderful contributions to the city of Westingtown, and then we learn of the tragedies that led to his disappearance. Of course, his death inspires an obvious question: Why did he come back to die? Was that the person who limped back into the house earlier?
  • But I’m even more intrigued by Turtle’s questions. In her rush to leave, Turtle left behind obvious evidence that she’d been there, but the paper mentions no foul play or suspicion. How is that possible?
  • But clearly this isn’t enough for me to think about, since Ellen Raskin ruins my brain by revealing that Sam Westing’s will shall be read the following day, and all of the beneficiaries live in Sunset Tower. Once again, Otis Amber is the one to deliver the messages. I DON’T UNDERSTAND. I mean, we already knew that these people were chosen for a specific reason, but how the fuck would you know that Sam Westing was going to die, and why the hell would you need his beneficiaries to live close by?

Please note that the original text/videos contain uses of the words “lunatic,” “mad,” and “stupid.”

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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