The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving
That's right, kids, I read that this week. All 79 pages of it. One of the young ones that I'm staying with this week is having to read it for her 8th grade Honors English class so I thought I'd breeze through it and jog my memory...since my most frequent encounter with the story is As Told By Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.
I know that if you look to the right you'll see that one of my requirements is that I will say nothing if I can't say something nice...but my feelings about the book are ambivalent at best so I'm going to try. Also this is going to be a bit shorter than normal, because I feel that 500 words is almost as long as the book itself.
It starts out nicely enough, a description of the town itself and of Ichabod the School Master. Irving has a knack for description that many modern writers lack. The downside of this is that he gets so mired in the describing of birds, food, clothes, etc, that he winds away from the story and has to bring himself back.
All of the suspenseful action (unless you find his courtship of the Van Tassle girl suspenseful) comes at the end of the story and leaves the reader to decide for herself what exactly happened to Ichabod. If we cared about his Ichabod at all, that might be a good thing. As it was, I feel like I now need to go watch Sleepy Hollow and allow the updated (and significantly creepier) version to wash the taste of the original away.
Respect is due, and given, to Washington Irving for dreaming up and recording this seed of an adventure...but unfortunately it stays just that - a seed. Or maybe I'm just jaded and spoiled. I'll leave that to you to decide. It really is 79 pages. That's an hour of your time to come to your own conclusions.