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Silent to the Bone Paperback – April 1, 2002
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What happened on Wednesday, November 25, 2:43 P.M., Eastern Standard Time, to cause Branwell Zamborska to become mute? All anyone knows is that he called 911 because his baby sister, Nikki, had stopped breathing, and when he was unable to speak to the operator, Vivian, the English au pair, came on the line to say that Branwell had dropped the baby and shaken her. His best friend, Connor, begins visiting him at the juvenile behavioral center, where he has been sent while Nikki remains in a coma at the hospital. Working out a code they both can use, Connor begins the long process of trying to communicate with his friend to find out what really happened. With the help of his own half-sister and some canny detective work, Connor uncovers a complex, multilayered tale of human desires, adolescent confusion, and a touch of menace.
E.L. Konigsburg, brilliant Newbery Medal-winning author of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and The View from Saturday, has honed her skills to a fine point. Her keen understanding of young people is matched by her ability to create suspenseful, page-turning masterpieces. This beautifully written story is darker than some of her others, with a remarkably true glimpse into a young man's inner world. (Ages 10 to 14) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
"This middle-grade novel combines a plot loosely based on a real case with a taut psychological mystery. The author inlays the story with tantalizing facts and peoples it with her hallmark idiosyncratic characters and joins every element seamlessly," said PW's Best Books citation. Ages 10-14.
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I thought that the book Silent to the Bone by E.L. Konigsburg was a great book, and almost a perfect book. Throughout the story, I learned that some causes of being silent is shame. Branwell’s silence was shown throughout the story by being ashamed, embarrassed, and disappointed. The main character shows this when he was not telling his parents the truth when he stopped talking to Connor, and the au pair controlling him.
This story takes place in a university town. The main character, Branwell, has a baby half sister named Nikki. Both parents decide the need someone to watch Nikki and Branwell when they are at work, so, they hire an au pair named Vivian. Vivian is from England and has an accent, and Branwell became very interested in her. One day, there was a horrible accident and Nikki becomes unconscious; because of this, Vivian forced Branwell to call 911 and right when they pick up the phone, Branwell becomes silent. Of course, Vivian blamed it on Branwell; because of this, Branwell's friend, Connor, knows that Branwell would never do such a thing and starts to investigate.
The thirteen year old boy, Branwell, clearly showed that he was embarrassed of himself. One of the many places in the book that showed this is on pg. #114, "How about walking in on her in the bathtub?' I said. Branwell stopped looking sad the minute I mentioned the bath tub. Instead, he blushed. And then, I said, 'How about walking in on her the second time' (...) 'And the third time?' but now Branwell had jerked his head up as fast as he had jerked it down." This shows that he is embarrassed because he has blushed.
The book clearly showed that Branwell was ashamed. One example of this is on pg. #247, where at this point Branwell felt shame about kissing Vivian on the back of her neck. "I didn't want my father to know. I didn't want anyone to know. So it became our little secret. Except that
it became Vivian's secret more than mine. From that day forward I did whatever Vivian wanted me to do." This shows that he is ashamed because Vivian gets to control him.
The character Branwell is a kid that loves to talk, but when he goes silent, you could tell that he was disappointed by the way that the author described his actions. Pg. #114, "Branwell lowered his head so fast, and so far, I thought that it would separate from his neck. He was blushing so much I felt like I could feel the heat across the room."
Throughout all of this, we learned that the cause of being silent can be if you are ashamed, embarrassed, and disappointed. I give this book a five out of five stars: a must read!
Anyway, what bugged me was that even though the friendship between these two boys was convincing, they still didn't come across quite as real-life kids. ELK's characters are not just smart, they're smarter than everybody else, including the adults around them. If you make your characters smarter than everyone, the reader will probably have less patience and sympathy when they fail to solve their problems. My feeling is, if they have that much brainpower, they are probably going to solve their problems eventually, and thus the tale loses a lot of its suspense.
Finally, although this might come from too much "Law and Order" I was disappointed that (SPOILER) the family chose not to bring the nanny to trial. After all, their daughter almost wound up dead or brain damaged! How selfish of Branwell to forgo justice simply because he was embarrassed about his sexual attraction. I felt sorry for him, but given what his sister went through, I couldn't like him.
Most recent customer reviews
I almost quit reading this book after the opening chapter because it sounded like a stupid...Read more
I thought that the book Silent to the Bone by E.L. Konigsburg was a great book, and almost a perfect book.Read more