Solving the Mystery of a Particular Dilemma - Book 1 - School, Friends and Family

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He was fed four hundred and fifty millilitres of nutrients five times a day, through a tube. Hultcrantz, who has treated more than forty children with apathy, empathizes with her patients so viscerally that answers to routine questions can make her cry. The modern Swedish welfare state was built on the idea that it must safeguard trygghet for its citizens, minimizing the risks to which they are exposed. In a seventy-six-page guide for treating uppgivenhetssyndrom , published in , the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare advises that a patient will not recover until his family has permission to live in Sweden.

Antonovsky suggests, as Freud did, that psychological illness is born of narrative incoherence, a life story veering off course. A chipper, gray-haired grandmother, Hultcrantz seems unaware of her power. Her iPhone is full of photographs that she has taken of refugee children lying in bed. Their eyes are closed, their faces are pale, and they have an expression of dull tranquillity. In late-nineteenth-century Europe, as women were resisting their social and sexual powerlessness, a new type of madwoman emerged: diagnosed as a hysteric, she was sexually erratic and outrageous, unleashing qualities that a lady was supposed to suppress.

In the nineteen-eighties, in the United States, a new illness took root as doctors became increasingly aware of the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse. Thousands of women were given a diagnosis of multiple-personality disorder; they discovered that they had two or more distinct personalities, at least one of which had been abused as a child. No country has responded to refugees, arguably the moral crisis of our era, with greater diligence and conscientiousness than Sweden.

This was about the whole image of Sweden—a country dripping with wealth but prepared to deport the most defenseless. In the past three years, as some three hundred thousand refugees, many from Syria and Afghanistan, have sought asylum, there has been a growing sense that the country can no longer afford to be beneficent. The Sweden Democrats, a party with roots in the neo-Nazi movement, has won the support of eighteen per cent of the population, by claiming that immigration is degrading the country.

Within the past two years, Sweden has introduced border controls and new restrictions on asylum seekers; a leading member of Parliament announced the rules while choking back tears. For nearly two decades, a political question—What should we do about migration? The number of new cases of apathy declined in , after the Migration Board took a more lenient approach, but the illness is still being diagnosed in dozens of children. Last year, some sixty children lost the ability to move and to speak.

There is now universal consensus that the children are not faking, but no one knows why the illness is particular to Sweden. I spoke with more than twenty Swedish doctors who had either treated apathetic patients or written about them, and none of them had an explanation; most were hesitant to even propose a hypothesis. She said that all she wanted to do was hug him. Although psychiatrists do not know whether apathetic children can process language, they recommend that patients be treated as if they were sentient. Savl stopped going to school. Georgi curled his big toe, an indication that there was no structural damage to his brain.

He seemed to be sinking deeper into the condition. Hultcrantz observed that he had begun to drool. Last fall, Hultcrantz took me to meet two sisters, Roma girls from Kosovo, who were both apathetic. Djeneta, the younger of the two, had been bedridden and unresponsive for two and a half years, since she was twelve. Her father, Muharrem, tried to force her to go to school by putting her on the seat of her bicycle and pushing it. By the time they got to the school, Ibadeta was limp. Muharrem carried her home and put her in bed, where she had remained for the past five months.

The family lives in central Sweden, in a brick dormitory that houses refugees. When we visited, the two girls had taken over the only bedroom in the apartment. They lay side by side on twin beds that had been pushed together in the middle of the room. Beside their beds was a package of diapers. Their heads, centered on their pillows, were tilted toward the window. Snow was falling, the first of the season. Djeneta had a feeding tube through her right nostril and Ibadeta through her left. Their long black hair had recently been combed.

To my alarm, Djeneta looked straight ahead. It was the sort of stare one would expect from a dead person. If he spoke or moved, he thought, it would cause the glass to shatter. Then Hultcrantz asked Muharrem for ice. Throughout the exam, Nurije cried so silently and unobtrusively that no one saw fit to comment. When Hultcrantz gave Ibadeta a breast exam—one of her patients had developed cancer, which remained undetected during the months that she lay in bed—I began to feel faint. The girls looked uncannily beautiful. Ibadeta breathed a little more deeply after her breasts were touched, but her expression never changed.

The hushed reverence with which everyone treated the girls, lying side by side in the same position, reminded me of some sort of pagan ritual. Their illness was so freighted that the principles they embodied seemed to overshadow the particulars of their condition.

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Hultcrantz took no notes during her examination; she said that the information is always the same. After the exam, the family served us a plate of Oreos. The girls had a cousin who had become apathetic, and I asked Muharrem and Nurije, through a Romani translator who helped with the interview, if they thought that the illness was contagious. I pointed out that even depression can be contagious. It was all downhill from there View all 6 comments. May 19, Cindy rated it really liked it. In this supposedly last book of the MBS series, I thought it was very clever how the title was incorporated into the story.

Benedict continues to try and stimulate the superior intellects of his young charges, and is always giving them clever mind games and puzzles to solve. In the opening pages, the four kids are divided into two teams and presented with a "Prisoner's Dilemma"--they are given 3 scenarios with different consequences, and each team must decide not only which scenario they wou In this supposedly last book of the MBS series, I thought it was very clever how the title was incorporated into the story.

In the opening pages, the four kids are divided into two teams and presented with a "Prisoner's Dilemma"--they are given 3 scenarios with different consequences, and each team must decide not only which scenario they would prefer, but try to figure out what the other team would decide, because the fate of each determines the fate of all! It reminded me of scenes from a cop show, where two suspects are places in different interrogation rooms in the hopes that one will 'rat out' the other, and the truth will be obtained!

Now, granted, the children's consequence was related to after-dinner chores, but the concept was a thought-provoking exercise, and it served them well once their next challenge appeared! Benedict has been working intensely to try and modify the dreaded "Chair" so that its mind-reading and mind-altering properties can be changed. But then the chair is stolen, and the Mysterious Benedict Society decides to set out on their own to recover it!

Once again, they go up against the dreaded "Ten Men" in an attempt to outsmart them and recover the chair before Mr. Curtain can use it to bend the minds of the world to his will! All of these books are fun because the reader is expected to try and puzzle out the clues and problems that the characters face. My brain was tested on logic puzzles, secret codes and trying to remember hints that were given to figure out the next steps!

I enjoyed this one so much, as always. Such an amazing book and series! This book has been the perfect ending to the Mysterious Benedict Society trilogy and series for so long, and I love it. It's strange but awesome to know that later this month, it will no longer be the last one. One of my favorite aspects of the series is seeing the children and their families work as an inseparable team, relying on each other and working together.

I love how they choose each other as best friends and surrogat I enjoyed this one so much, as always. I love how they choose each other as best friends and surrogate family members, and how the four children work so well together. And I love how they're unofficially adopted into Mr. Benedict's family--along with their parents! It's so heartwarming and wonderful to watch them live as one large, loving family. Chosen surrogate families in books are one of my favorite things.

And Mysterious Benedict Society also has a theme of actual adoption in a legal sense, and every other sense--something I'm passionate about, so I love seeing it celebrated in this way. Of course, I've continued to enjoy the individual children and their individual relationships, as well as their united dynamic. And I love that we get to see more of Constance in this third book--finding out more about her, her past, and her abilities. And the children's character arcs are always awesome, especially Reynie's. Oct 30, Ensiform rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction.

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In their third adventure, the Society and powerful machine known as the Whisperer are under heavy guard at Mr. Benedict's house. The government wants the machine, as does the nasty Mr. Curtain, who is not above kidnapping the children to get it. As with the previous entries in this series, I enjoyed immensely the mi In their third adventure, the Society and powerful machine known as the Whisperer are under heavy guard at Mr.

As with the previous entries in this series, I enjoyed immensely the mind puzzles, the codes, the scenes of peril and adventure. There's truly something for every youthful reader to admire here: those who yearn for stories of athleticism and bravery and those who like more cerebral heroes. And as before, Steward fully realizes every character, giving Curtain and his bungling assistant S. The sheer novelty has worn off, but this is another well-written, thoughtful, amusing adventure. I had to lay in bed for about an hour and stare at a wall because I was so sad it ended.

Mar 23, R. Four and a half stars, actually. The wit so prevalent in the first book has diminished and is almost non-existent. The plot significantly improved from book 2. Even though I never quite figured out what exactly Mr. Curtain was planning maybe I was just reading too fast for my brain to register the necessary details , it still was good. I mentioned that Milligan is amazing. Well, so is McCracken. Please don't scream in rage and horror.

I will explain. They are both similar; calm in the middle of a pencil-throwing contest, and even making jokes. It's a bit understatement unnerving. What makes them so shockingly different is their drive: Milligan goes for justice while McCracken goes for money. That's what makes one totally honorable and the other absolutely ignoble. I really like Mr. Curtain and S.

Though it is rather strange. By the way, I wasn't quite as annoyed when Connie developed telepathy as I was when she got the ultra-sensitive stuff in book 2. I love her poem about green plaid. I didn't laughed as much as Mr. Benedict, but then again, nobody can now that the nasty narcolepsy is gone. Ha, ha. Love it. Nov 27, Hafsa Sabira rated it it was ok. As much as I have enjoyed the first two novels in this series, I have felt exactly the opposite for this one.

I simply can't recognize the characters I fell in love with. They become different in this book. Sticky: Memorizes library catalogues. Reynie: Depelops sixth sense. Kate: Becomes The Flash. Constance: Becomes a mind reader. Even though many unexplained mysteries unfold in this novel, the rest is pretty much boring. The part till Constance's past being revealed was so dragged on that it took As much as I have enjoyed the first two novels in this series, I have felt exactly the opposite for this one.

The part till Constance's past being revealed was so dragged on that it took me a week to get through these pages. The children seemed to have lost their naturally magnificent ability and they act way beyond their characters. Even the adults were dully portrayed here. I became highly disapoined at the last instalment of my once favourite series.

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I wish the characters were a bit more lively here and the storyline a bit stronger. It feels like home. A fun conclusion to this wonderful series. Jul 23, Hannah rated it it was ok. I was sadly disappointed by this book.

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In book one and two all of the characters grow and mature in someway or another. However, in this final installment I felt that there was very little maturing at all. I loved Constance in the other books, her actions seemed appropriate for her age and she even grew up quite a bit.

However, in this final book she's four years old and she acts like she is once again a two year old. It would have been fine if he had left her age at three-I can fathom a three y I was sadly disappointed by this book. It would have been fine if he had left her age at three-I can fathom a three year old occasionally acting like a two year old or a four year old acting like a three year old-but when a child is young like that- two years at that age is a HUGE difference!

I felt that this book also focused too much on just Constance. The other characters seemed just thrown in there- an afterthought. The balance between the four of them is what attracted me to the books in the first place. I do not feel that this book should not have been titled the Mysterious Benedict Society- it should have been titled "Constance Contraire- and the people at her beck and call.

Giving her Mind Control seemed a like a terrible way to handle things. I liked the fact that she could figure out patterns of what was going to happen next in book two- it seemed like a feasible, realistic, and intelligent decision. I felt that giving a child like her mind control was a foolish idea- she already has enough demons to deal with ie her temper, laziness and impatience with out adding that on top of it. Giving her mind control villianized her, in more ways than one, first- Mr.

Stewart undermined one of the very important principles that was so highly elaborated upon in book one and two- freedom of thought and freedom from being controlled. So it was ok, for a willful four year old to use it to her advantage, but not Mr. Curtain, our main villain? I'm not just talking about the Ice Cream incident- I'm referring to using it against her enemies as well. It defeated the whole mission of the Benedict Society.

Another element that suffered, due to the lack of foresight on the part of the author, was the plot. Because Constance was given mind control it made their escapes a lot less ingenious and harrowing. It was lazy and this book was rushed. Don't get me wrong- I loved the first two books.

However, in my opinion the reader would be better off just reading the first two and imagining that our characters lived happily ever after, rather than read this sad excuse for a conclusion. I will probably read the prequel though, given the enormous amount of talent that was obvious in the first two books. I think I actually liked this one the best. Stewart has definitely gotten better at keeping the story moving and avoiding the slow repetitious elements in the previous two books. Either that, or he got assigned a better editor when the series became a huge success.

Whichever it is, it earned him an extra star from me this time. The weakness of this book is in the predictability. There really isn't anything new to learn about our young foursome in this tale. They are taking the skills they have ma I think I actually liked this one the best. They are taking the skills they have mastered over the last 2 adventures, putting them fully to use, and succeeding where they have failed before.

And let's be clear, it is very much Constance's growth and the development of her special ability that pushes the team to this point. The others really haven't done anything - no growth, no change, no improvement - this makes them a bit dull. It is as if they are only there to, quite literally, carry Constance around and make sure she gets where she needs to be, and does what she needs to do. Reyney comes up with the idea, Kate does all the physical stuff, and Sticky does any memorizing or pulling of obscure facts from out of no where. But without Constance and her gift, it would all have been for naught.

Keep in mind that I review this as an adult who enjoys reading along with her grade school children. This story is enjoyable, and my daughter looked forward to this 3rd and final installment. I think I wish I had found these a year ago. She had already proven herself capable of long-ish novels such as Harry Potter, but struggled when the story became more challenging and involved. I was hoping these would fit the bill, but it is the opposite.

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These books are good ones to use to test if your child is ready for the more difficult and longer children's fiction. The stories are fairly simple, with few characters to keep track of, even if the first 2 drag in the middle. Feb 26, Linda rated it it was amazing. They are part of Mr.

Benedict's secret society that stops his twin brother from creating trouble in the world. In previous books, Mr. Benedict's brother, Mr. Leodroptha Curtain, created a horrible machine called, "The Whisperer. When you forget those memories, Mr. Curtain takes advantage of you and turns you bad. The point of this society is so that they can stop Mr. Curtain from using it. Fortunately this machine is under Mr. Benedict's hand. Unfortunately, his brother and his men, The Executives, are trying to take it away from horrible uses. In this book, the adventure begins when Constance runs away from home. At that same time, there's a horrible blackout in the whole city.

The children are left at home when the adults go look for Constance. The Executives go to the house and take The Whisperer. The men leave a clue behind accidentally, causing them to go find and stop the evil men. In the end, the kids find Constance, but they get caught by The Executives. She sends a vision to Mr. Benedict telling him where they are and he sends one back saying help is on the way. At the end, the children are saved and The Whisperer is back in Mr. Benedict's hands. I LOVE this series. There are so many riddles in this book that will get you thinking.

I haven't solved any of them on my own without looking forward. These books are more of books for the teenage age. Younger kids probably won't get it. If you are younger than me and you get it, I applaud you. I love Milligan.

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He always seems like he can win a fight without using much violence. He is definitely smart and very very strategic. He risked his life for his kid. He is a father that I would totally want in my life.

JK, I love you dad! Apr 27, Spencer Brokaw rated it really liked it. Archie's main rival, particularly for Veronica's affections.


Though they are ultimately good friends, he often taunts Archie and does not understand why girls prefer to date him. He is highly vain and conceited, thinks he can date anyone he wants, and expects everyone to think the world of him. He likes playing practical jokes on others, especially Archie and Moose. Marmaduke "Moose" Mason is a muscular, star athlete but is a poor student. He often says "duh" at the beginning of sentences, and is possessive about his girlfriend Midge.

He also is known to be dyslexic. He will beat up anyone particularly Reggie who upsets him or even talks to Midge, the latter being a point of friction between the couple. At the same time, he is also kind, sensitive and helpful toward his closest friends.

A highly intelligent nerd and inventor. He gets A's in every class except physical education and is the favorite student of most of his teachers, especially Professor Flutesnoot and Mr. He is not especially interested in dating and is shy around girls, though he has shown interest in a few girls in the series. Despite his quirks, he fits in well with the gang, who often rely on his brains. He and Moose are best friends, despite their contrasting personalities.

Moose's girlfriend who is often frustrated with his jealousy and lack of intelligence but still loves him dearly. Boys cannot even talk to her without incurring Moose's wrath. In reality however, she does not often show interest in other boys. Reggie is particularly attracted to her. A tall, stringy, somewhat dorky but goodhearted teenager who always tries to win over Jughead, albeit unsuccessfully.

Portrayed as physically unattractive, she has many close friends and leads an active social life. Initially a shy loner, he came out as one of the most popular students in school. He is a very talented athlete and enjoys cartooning for fun. He has been a close friend of Archie's since his introduction. Chuck's steady girlfriend.

She does not take an interest in other boys, being devoted to Chuck alone. However, she is often annoyed with his paying more attention to his hobbies than her. Nancy enjoys sports, fashion, cheerleading and journalism, and is a close friend of the other girls. Veronica's father, and the richest man in all of Riverdale. He's a multi-billionaire and is one of the richest men in the world.

Hiram is usually portrayed as being an industrialist and he's the CEO of his multi-billionaire dollar company Lodge Industries. Hiram is a good, caring yet strict father towards Veronica. He often spoils her despite his attempts at trying to prevent Veronica from letting her wealth and privilege turn her into a typical spoiled rich kid.

He always dreads meeting Archie due to Archie's clumsiness and knack for causing him trouble. He tolerates Archie, however, because he knows of Archie's more redeeming qualities, and allows his daughter to date whom she chooses. The school principal, popularly referred to as 'The Bee'. A former United States Marine known for being obese and bald, he is often a victim of Archie's clumsiness, which often puts the latter in detention. He is often, however, quite helpful and friendly to students. A teacher at Riverdale High. She is usually portrayed as an English teacher, though she is occasionally shown teaching other subjects.

She is well-aged, slim with white hair, and her personality alternates between harsh and motherly. Terry "Pop" Tate is the owner and manager of the Chok'lit Shoppe, an ice cream parlor and frequent hangout of Archie's Gang. Pop Tate is the self-designated philanthropist for the Archie gang, hearing about their problems while serving ice cream and a variety of other goodies. Jughead is Pop Tate's best customer.

Tate constantly talks about how Jughead's appetite will provide for his retirement. Many stories reflect the fact that his customers, particularly Jughead, don't always pay their tab. Jughead has been known to run his tab as long as possible, and put off paying it until Pop refuses any more credit. In a comic centered on Pop, it was shown that he has a cousin named Russell, who runs a similar soda shop in the mountains. In the s, his main rival was Segarini, the pizza parlor owner, a minor but recurring character.