Dear E.L. Konigsburg,
With all due respect to you for bringing Claudia Kincaid into the world, you need to either get a better editor or stop writing.
"The View from Saturday" had a few sloppy mistakes in it. I was mainly angry at the Newbery people for choosing the book, because it meant it would be read more than it deserves to be read. The Magical Indian thing was ridiculous; the "she knew that she knew but she didn't know how she knew but he knew that she knew before she knew that she knew" stuff was just... you know, if you can't figure out what a character's motivation is, that doesn't mean you should coat it in twinkling magic in order to get the reader to swallow it. I thought it was sloppy plotting, and I thought it was beneath you. And then on top of that, sloppy writing: "[she] was not sure how much the correct amount [of French cuff to show from beneath jacket sleeves] was, but she knew that if she put a spirit-level to his, they would be exactly right." A...spirit level (hint: not hyphenated)? To measure length? Ch-wha? And then, as a nit-picking pointy brain, it really irritated me that a piece of the story hinges on a student standing up to the adults for what he knows to be right, and the book implies that he is right, only... he's not. This sort of took the wind out of the book's sails for me.
But I had no idea what it was to fall out of love with a beloved author from my childhood until I read "The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World" because... wow. And not a good "wow". First, the characters have no clear voices (one of the redeeming features of "The View from Saturday"). They have no clear voices because they have no clear characters, and I don't mean they're complicated, but that they're self-contradictory. Second, we've got the sleeping fact-checker again at the helm for the Degenerate Art facts. The book implies that the degenerate art that is in the exhibition is also the art that was in the exhibition in 1937, but Renoir was not in the Degenerate Art exhibition; neither was Braque, Picasso, or van Gogh. And... All the Impressionists had a disease of the visual cortex? Ch-wha-? See, and these are just things I KNOW are wrong. But worse, worse, is this Noble Goal to call attention to the homosexuals killed during the Holocaust. It's not a bad story, but it's better if it's told right: there is no way that Pieter came home wearing a pink triangle. Things like this are almost worse than not telling the story at all. If you want to slip a little fact into your fiction to spice it up, it is possible to find actual facts that will do that without leading people to misunderstand history any more than they are already inclined to do. As it is, you're doing the writerly equivalent of chewing scenery on your way to another children's book award show, and I loved you, I did, but you have to stop this. Sloppy writing makes the world an uglier place than it needs to be.
Please get a better editor. No, really. You owe it to the children. You owe it to yourself.
In other books, David Sedaris sure loves himself some David Sedaris; Polish surrealism is troubling and excellent the second time around; and Alain de Botton writes well but keeping up with the Joneses is the least of my interests and I think he's lost me here. Squire and I are plugging along through Huck Finn and loving it a lot, though it makes us talk funny.