2019 Books in Review: The Neddiad

In an attempt to get back in the rhythm of blogging/reviewing I am recapping some of my favorite books read in 2019.

Book: The Neddiad: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization by Daniel Pinkwater

Format: Hardcover

Owned or Borrowed: Owned

Publisher’s Description:

The Neddiad book coverThe old powers try to come back, and the planet is plunged into chaos, and civilization is destroyed, and it gets all violent and evil…the old legends tell that a hero…with the sacred turtle, always…

Los Angeles, California.
Neddie Wentworthstein is the guy with the turtle.
Sandor Eucalyptus is the guy with the jellybean.
Sholmos Bunyip wants the turtle…and he’ll stop at nothing to get it.

This is the story of how Neddie, three good friends, a shaman, a ghost, and a little maneuver known as the French substitution determine the fate of the world.

Why I Read It…

Another habit I have is pursuing library sales looking for books in good condition, books on my TBR list, etc.  Trying to cut back on the ever growing stacks of books I have yet to read I started collecting books for my kids (always hoping we might read books together as a family too).  This was one of those books. Picked it up at a library sale and read it immediately. Good clean fun adventure with interesting characters and a sense of humor. Just what I needed for some stress release reading. Not only did I read it, but both my kids read it and we all really enjoyed it.

The enjoyment of this story comes mostly from the silliness but also the sense of wonder and possibility we encounter through Neddie.


Even if there were no quest at the heart of the tale (and there is a good one) this would be a highly entertaining road trip—thanks to Pinkwater’s one-of-a-kind comic sensibility and his uncanny ability to access the language and mindset of boys.

Kirkus, in a mixed review, gets at this as well:

Ned’s compelling sense of wonder and delight at each new sight or encounter positively propels his account of the cross-country journey along.

Where Kirkus gets off the train so to speak is when Neddie does:

But once he arrives in L.A., it begins to sputter, because aside from the odd and often surreal diversion, he and some new friends spend the next 200 pages essentially waiting around to find out just why that turtle is so important.

With the caveat that I read this nearly a year ago, I don’t recall things dragging all that much.  I recall a fun adventure with a great sense of humor. YMMV, but both my kids (ages 12 & 14) really liked it too.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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