[Book Review] The 13th Floor: A Ghost Story by Sid Fleischman

There's a mile-long word for the fear (and magic) or the number thirteen - triskaidekaphobia.

In this comic fireworks of a novel, newly orphaned Buddy Stebbins stumbles onto the 13th floor of a shabby old building and finds himself transported aboard a leaking pirate ship in a howling storm - 300 years in the past! Cast adrift, he washes up in New England where his plucky ancestor, ten-year-old Abigail, is caught up in the witchcraft mania and is about to be hanged. Firing off surprises like Roman candles from almost every page, award-winning novelist Sid Fleischman tells a many-mirrored tale of ghosts, witchcraft, razzle-dazzle treasure, and the mischief of illusion and delusion.

The 13th Floor is another book I picked up for a dime a million years ago and never got around to reading. And after finally sitting down to read a couple chapters... not reading this was probably the right way to go.

Since I have so many other books to get through and only so much time to spend on the project, I'm not going to be reading any more of this one. The two chapters that I did read were, uh, not great; the humor was really cringey, the main character was an odd little butthead who was neither funny nor sympathetic, and the story was just in general very written--the kind of prose that makes the reader painfully aware that what they're reading is coming from the mind of a elderly man who only thinks he's successfully pulling off the voice of a modern preteen boy. (I mean, really, what kind of teen boy in 1995 references his crush by way of Greta Garbo? C'mon!)

Obviously, there's some possibility that the book dramatically improves at some point after the chapters I read; if that is the case, I will not be discovering it for myself. What little I did read of this book did nothing to convince me that the rest of it was worth my investment, and so it's going to the top of my 'for eBay' pile as of now.

As I did read so few chapters, however, I will be leaving this review unrated.

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