Review: “The Gypsy Game” by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

For the love of books

April’s question at the end of The Egypt Game is the very beginning of the novel’s sequel, The Gypsy Game.

Realizing that the splendor and originality of the Egypt game can’t last, all former main characters return and try to imagine being Gypsies rather than Egyptians.  However, the story progresses much deeper than just the enactment of the Gypsy game.  One of the main characters, Toby, gets into a serious conflict and disappears, involving all of his friends in a tough ethical dilemma when they discover the truth behind his troubles.  Meanwhile, Melanie and April end up having a major debate about the purpose and moral value of playing a game about Gypsies, taking the game’s childish intent to the next level.

The Gypsy Game is more about prejudice, injustice, and poverty than the Gypsy game itself or the history of the Gypsies.  Without giving much attention to the cultural side of the novel like in The Egypt Game, Zilpha Keatley Snyder matures her characters instead to start questioning how they can use their creativity and hard work to address real-life problems and impact real people, not just a game.  The Gypsy Game is set in the same California town, but the whole atmosphere of the story has been changed from that of The Egypt Game.  The children are relinquishing their childhood fantasies for more realistic occupations, like helping the homeless.  However, although the sequel may have depth and vision, at some points the content is too politically correct.

Original review: Part 3: Three choice novels by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Examiner.com

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