Poll

What did you think of The House on the Cliff?

5 stars - great
1 (33.3%)
4 stars - good
2 (66.7%)
3 stars - average
0 (0%)
2 stars - below average
0 (0%)
1 star - horrible
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 3

Voting closed: July 19, 2010, 11:42:48 PM

Author Topic: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff  (Read 9684 times)

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Offline SDLagent

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June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« on: June 17, 2010, 02:49:38 AM »
The Hardy Boys #2 The House on the Cliff by Franklin W. Dixon.


Original text by Leslie McFarlane first published in 1927.


Revised text by Harriet S. Adams first published in 1959.

It's time to start discussing this month's Book Club choice, The House on the Cliff. I choice to read the original text, although I have read both versions before. I'll post my review of tomorrow (since I still haven't finished the book), but I'll start things of, right now, by posting a quote from the book:

"I don't believe in working for nothing."
-Fenton Hardy, page 71.

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2010, 11:23:35 AM »
Hmm- well, I guess I can't blame Fenton too much. I mean- it's not like you see Carson Drew going pro bono. ;D
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Offline hardygirl847

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2010, 01:34:04 AM »
I too will have to review later. It's 1:30AM right now. My bed is calling me.

This quote is interesting to me because he's just a heroic type of character, I tend to forget he does this for a living. The boys rarely get appreciation, recognition, or money for the crimes they solve. He also could refer to doing other things instead of working. Out of context it can be hard to tell.

Also, my brain is a little on the fried side....so I will revisit this all later. :)
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Offline SDLagent

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2010, 02:12:49 AM »
This quote is interesting to me because he's just a heroic type of character, I tend to forget he does this for a living. The boys rarely get appreciation, recognition, or money for the crimes they solve. He also could refer to doing other things instead of working. Out of context it can be hard to tell.

Same here. Often the boys work for nothing and sometimes even refuse money. I guess this is one trait they didn't inherit from their father. Mind you, things were probably different when Fenton was younger, before he had a family to feed.

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2010, 07:44:08 PM »
Same here. Often the boys work for nothing and sometimes even refuse money. I guess this is one trait they didn't inherit from their father. Mind you, things were probably different when Fenton was younger, before he had a family to feed.

But don't forget that the Hardy Boys are amateur detectives, whereas Fenton Hardy is a professional detective.

Plus the boys are still teenagers who can live with their parent's while they are still in school.
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Offline SDLagent

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2010, 09:12:37 PM »
But don't forget that the Hardy Boys are amateur detectives, whereas Fenton Hardy is a professional detective.

Plus the boys are still teenagers who can live with their parent's while they are still in school.

That's what I meant by "when he was younger". Should have added "before he was a pro".

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2010, 11:39:27 PM »
Review: This is a really fun read. And, really, that's all I ask from a Hardy Boys mystery. It's fast paced and, unlike some of the early Hardy Boys, every chapter contributes to the main plot, rather than a sub-plot. Overall, this is my all-time favorite Hardy Boys novel. Upon re-reading it this time around, though, I have to admit it's not the best .

First of all, the mystery itself isn't very hard to figure out (I'm sure we all knew Fenton was at the house on the cliff way before his boys did), but I can over look that, because, overall, I found Frank and Joe's investigation very exciting. However, the plot device used to keep Fenton Hardy alive is very weak. Obviously, they couldn't have killed-off Fenton but they could have thought-up a more believable reason to have the smugglers keep Fenton alive. Fenton having information the smugglers want would have worked a lot better then them keeping him alive so he can sign some document that says he won't "talk". Not only do I find it hard to believe that Fenton wouldn't just sign the paper and then go back on his word, I find it even harder to believe that the smugglers would even give him that chance. They tried to kill Yates (and then kidnapped him and kept him alive which I also find pretty unlikely), so why would they spare Fenton? Not only is this unbelievable but it makes the bad guys seem less dangerous, and, in doing so, makes the story less exciting. We are told (over and over again) that the bad guys are ruthless, but we certainly aren't shown it.

One of the things I really liked about this book, and hadn't really noticed before re-reading it this time, is the differences between the brothers. We see Frank's definitely the leader, while Joe is happy to follow. Also, Joe is a little more reckless than Frank. Nothing new, here, but what I liked is that instead of being told the differences between the brothers, like a lot of Hardy Boys books do - whether it be Originals or Casefiles, we are shown their differences by what they do and how they interact with each other. Show, don't tell. That's good writing.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2010, 12:04:15 AM »
Quote
One of the things I really liked about this book, and hadn't really noticed before re-reading it this time, is the differences between the brothers. We see Frank's definitely the leader, while Joe is happy to follow. Also, Joe is a little more reckless than Frank. Nothing new, here, but what I liked is that instead of being told the differences between the brothers, like a lot of Hardy Boys books do - whether it be Originals or Casefiles, we are shown their differences by what they do and how they interact with each other. Show, don't tell. That's good writing.
True that. :D

Quote
First of all, the mystery itself isn't very hard to figure out (I'm sure we all knew Fenton was at the house on the cliff way before his boys did), but I can over look that, because, overall, I found Frank and Joe's investigation very exciting. However, the plot device used to keep Fenton Hardy alive is very weak. Obviously, they couldn't have killed-off Fenton but they could have thought-up a more believable reason to have the smugglers keep Fenton alive. Fenton having information the smugglers want would have worked a lot better then them keeping him alive so he can sign some document that says he won't "talk". Not only do I find it hard to believe that Fenton wouldn't just sign the paper and then go back on his word, I find it even harder to believe that the smugglers would even give him that chance. They tried to kill Yates (and then kidnapped him and kept him alive which I also find pretty unlikely), so why would they spare Fenton? Not only is this unbelievable but it makes the bad guys seem less dangerous, and, in doing so, makes the story less exciting. We are told (over and over again) that the bad guys are ruthless, but we certainly aren't shown it.
I understand your point- but I think the writers have to be careful what all they do show with the bad guys- since the main audience for these books was kids. But yeah- there's always a certain suspension of disbelief required when you read these things and wonder why the bad guys would have bothered to keep the good guys alive. There are valid and good reasons sometimes- but sometimes they are just keeping them alive because it's a main character and you know he's not going to die in the series. ;)
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Offline SDLagent

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2010, 12:08:39 AM »
True that. :D
I understand your point- but I think the writers have to be careful what all they do show with the bad guys- since the main audience for these books was kids. But yeah- there's always a certain suspension of disbelief required when you read these things and wonder why the bad guys would have bothered to keep the good guys alive. There are valid and good reasons sometimes- but sometimes they are just keeping them alive because it's a main character and you know he's not going to die in the series. ;)

I can see what your saying, but considering early on in the story we got a description of someone being shot to death, I don't think think they were too worried about that kind of thing.

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2010, 02:01:44 PM »
Hmm- that's true too. Considering the whole idea of children's literature itself was still fairly new at that time, I'm thinking some of those concerns arose later on. I guess I'd like to think writers would always be careful with what they present to children. Eh- maybe it was just a less plausible plotline here on the part of the author...
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Offline SDLagent

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2010, 06:11:01 PM »
I've added a poll. Vote!

Offline tomswift2002

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2010, 11:23:36 AM »
I've added a poll. Vote!

For which version?
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Offline SDLagent

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2010, 04:16:39 PM »
For which version?

Yeah, that's a bit of a problem isn't it?

Offline hardygirl847

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2010, 11:15:12 PM »
Same here. Often the boys work for nothing and sometimes even refuse money. I guess this is one trait they didn't inherit from their father. Mind you, things were probably different when Fenton was younger, before he had a family to feed.

I wonder if this mentality has to do more with life experience than money. Fenton has all over the world solving crimes as private investigator as well as in law enforcement. He could have had a similar mentality at one time like his sons but learned through harsh real world experiences that taught him otherwise. Being a family man, I can see how he would have also put weight on being able to provide for his family. That is definitely important too. He wasn't around a lot though so maybe Laura helped raise them to believe in helping people for the sake of helping and not for anything in return. ?

Darn...I am bad at this whole quote thing so....

SDLagent, you said that you liked being shown the character differences more than being told. I completely agree. In some instances it is necessary for an author to give a "heads up" just to help with the story line but usually the imagery etc really make up the characters. Their actions and even dialog can say a lot about them. With it being a children's novel, it would be okay to spell it out more but I don't think it's needed. Frank and Joe are such classic characters... :)

You also said that the bad guys were not completely believable. I agree with MacGyver that we have to let ourselves dive into the story regardless of how plausible it is. A lot of HBs are not the more realistic, but that's part of their charm. You want to believe that they could be possible and that 2 teenagers can kick some major butt! :) I always liked the Assassins the most because you could have them do anything and still have it in the realm of believability. The Assassins (and in comparison the Network) had access to so many different resources, people, science, etc that it was okay if they did something a little out of the ordinary. It's easier to take. I like to write them in my fanfic because they can be the most broad and fun. I also like them to win a little too....No way the Hardys would always get a way from true bad guys.

That is definitely the problem with some of the antagonists in the HBs novels. The bad guys are just never really good enough. I can understand that it's a children's series, but I think the Casefiles are more exciting because they do not follow this trend. Well, not as much. Introducing harsh characters like the Assassins really made for more entertainment. Finally, someone who was not so easily outsmarted.

I always want the Hardys to come out on top and save the day, etc. They could break a rib or get a little bruised though too...They are only human after all. ;)

As for THOTC, it was only the second HB novel, so maybe we can give it some slack. I bet that if we read it back then, before reading anything else or considered better, we would feel differently.

At least it's still a fun, satisfying read. :)
I'm not on here as much or I just come on for a few moments. So I trying to keep up with posts. Sorry for being MIA. I've been off on a mission with Frank and Joe! :)

Offline SDLagent

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Re: June 2010 Book Club Discussion: The House on the Cliff
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2010, 12:07:59 AM »
Yeah, it's still my favorite, but I realize it's not the best.