Who Done It?: An Anthology -- edited by Jon Scieszka

Who done it

Have you ever seen the original Ocean's Eleven? The one from 1960, I mean, with Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra? You'd think, what with it being a Rat Pack movie, and with that cool cast and cool premise and all that good stuff, that it would be a FABULOUSLY ENTERTAINING movie.

Well, it isn't. I suspect that the guys had a great time MAKING the movie, but WATCHING it is another story. It's one of the rare cases in which the remake is a huge improvement on the original.

Anyway, my experience in reading Who Done It? was kind of like my experience with Ocean's Eleven: I appreciated the idea of the project more than the actual result. Who Done It? is a compilation of pieces by, like, 3/4a of the Who's-Who of the kidlit and YA world, edited by Jon Scieszka, and benefiting 826NYC. Which SOUNDS awesome: great people writing, awesome guy editing, super-deserving beneficiary.

But, like Ocean's Eleven, I suspect that reading the finished product might be more fun for the parties involved in Who Done It?'s creation than it is for the general reading public. The basic premise—a much-despised editor is murdered at a party and all of the authors in attendance have to provide their alibis—sounds fun, but for the most part, the contributions read like A) jokes that the majority of the book's readership aren't likely to be in on (lots of them are about the publishing industry, and some are in-jokes between authors), or B) in a few cases, just plain phoned in.

That isn't to say that there aren't some gems—I especially liked the pieces by Mac Barnett, Gayle Forman, Adam Gidwitz, Adele Griffin & Lisa Brown, Lev Grossman, David Levithan, Sarah Mlynowski & Courtney Sheinmel, Lauren Myracle, Joy Preble, Margo Rabb, Jennifer E. Smith, and Adrienne Maria Vrettos—but as there are 70ish pieces, that's a lot to wade through for a few pages of fun.

Anyway, like I said, the proceeds go to a great cause. So I feel like kind of a jerk for not being more excited about the book. But... eh.


Author page.





Book source: ILLed through my library.