Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

The Saturdays is an optimistic account of the creativity of four almost impossibly precocious yet somehow believable children. Elizabeth Enright’s Melendy siblings exude talent and good-natured enthusiasm, presenting an idealized family in which all members work together in respectful harmony.

The novel opens as Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver Melendy, assembled in their beloved “office” (actually a large playroom on the uppermost floor of their New York City home), complain about the prospect of spending another dreary and boring Saturday with nothing to do. The children, who live with their father and their adored nurse, Cuffy, are all inordinately talented and sophisticated for their ages: Mona is an aspiring actress who quotes William Shakespeare prolifically; Rush is an expert pianist and a lover of classical music and opera; Randy harbors both an appreciation for art and a talent for painting; and even contented young Oliver seems driven by an intellectual curiosity that exceeds his years. Randy offers a proposition: The Melendys will pool their weekly allowances and give the resulting sum to one child each week, in turn; the recipient of the money will then select a particular adventure on which to embark alone on Saturday afternoon. The club is christened I.S.A.A.C., or the Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club.

Because I.S.A.A.C. was Randy’s idea, it is agreed that the first Saturday will be hers. She chooses to walk the length of Fifth...

(The entire section is 610 words.)