Tuesday, January 5, 2010

So what do we think? 39 Clues book 6: In too deep

Watson, Jude. (2009) The 39 clues book 6: In too deep ISBN-10: 054506046X. Please read criteria and full review found at http://www.litland.com/ .

Each book of this series has its strengths. In book 6, we return to strengths found in the inaugural book 1: integrity, honesty, avoid blaming others, taking responsibility for oneself, and family loyalty. After a few stumbles of character, Amy & Dan have re-found themselves. Although the book begins early on with a questionable comment from Dan “Let’s go kick some little-old-lady butt”, the author chose the straight path of integrity, authenticity, and good clean adventure for Amy & Dan. The heavy focus on developing Amy’s character and filling in more details of the mystery took precedence so that negative elements were avoided and unnecessary.

Good role models are brought into this book with the introduction of cousin Shep and his “mates”. Their efforts to protect and rescue Amy and Dan are done in a manner that generates excitement and leaves the reader wanting to applaud them. This is in stark contrast to role models given in today’s literature and media who commonly use undue violence, manipulation and deceit to achieve their goal. Additionally, the “bad guys” cousins are developed further which allows us to see which ones are truly evil, and which are having their moments of reforming and capable of doing good. Hamilton and Irena act in unexpected ways to aid Amy and Dan. Not only does this add complexity to the characters, but reminds the reader to not “judge a book by its cover” and that most of us have redeeming natures. Thus, rather than being lost in shallow characters as often found in entertainment today, the author presents us with depth necessary for Amy and Dan to discern when to ally with a cousin and when to act alone. Such discernment is a use of wisdom and is a classic virtue treasured throughout time from the early Greeks to present day society.

Final thoughts:

This book takes the reader deeper into the emotions and feelings of Amy and Dan, primarily Amy. We have a deeper understanding of the characters not only because of additional background on the events surrounding their parents depth but primarily because, through self-talk, we see how they are dealing with those memories. Similarly for the various cousins involved in the chase, those character profiles deepen as well. Each has become more complex as we see their personal history, pain and suffering, and come to understand where good and bad character co-exist in each. As Amy and Dan come to realize this as well, they mature in their understanding of their own responsibility to the well being of the world as a Cahill.

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