Tuesday, 10 April 2012

79/111 - Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People by Douglas Coupland

I bought this really recently because I can't resist a good Douglas Coupland book. I think The Gum Thief is my all time favourite of his, but I also really enjoyed Player One. I liked this too, but I was hoping for a little more than I got.

The book contains seven very short illustrated stories, all with a sort of child-like theme - two of the stories feature action figures as their main character, for example. They are all illustrated by Graham Roumieou, who I haven't really heard of before, but I liked the illustrations and they sort of reminded me of the illustrations in The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy. The stories also had this kind of feel to them, too.

Of the stories, one of my favourites was featuring an action figure who is a homeless Vietnam war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. He gets kidnapped and imprisoned by a boy, and has flashbacks of his time in 'Nam, and when he escapes, he blows the boy's head up. Another one I liked was the last story of the book, whose main character is an alcoholic people-carrier who lures children into his interior and then shakes them down for money and small electronics. He then takes these to a liquor store and gets his tank filled with cheap vodka. Both quite bleak stories. I also liked the story about the juice box who is a bully to the other juice boxes, and he lures them outside to get crushed under the wheels of passing cars. He also likes to pierce their foil holes, which is a huge taboo.

I liked this, but I don't really have any strong feelings about it. It felt a little bit diluted, and I would have liked to have seen the stories be a bit longer and more detailed, and with more traditional Douglas Coupland in them. It's a gorgeous book, but I was a little unsatisfied at the end.

Next: Starters by Lissa Price

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