Ow, my ovaries! I do not know how Karen Klassen is making these illustrations, if they are paint-over-photo or what, but they are so realistic yet impOw, my ovaries! I do not know how Karen Klassen is making these illustrations, if they are paint-over-photo or what, but they are so realistic yet impressionistic at the same time. Ooogy little poochy babies - I just wanna squeeze 'em! ...more
Definitive proof that "filthy and perverted" are not only not diametric opposites of "kind and wise," but that they don't even fall on the same spectrDefinitive proof that "filthy and perverted" are not only not diametric opposites of "kind and wise," but that they don't even fall on the same spectrum.
This funny, fierce speech was originally delivered to the graduates of Rhode Island School of Design, but I would cheerfully hand it, adorned with the biggest, tackiest bow I could find, to a high school grad, or even to my 8th grader as he finishes middle school this spring.
I have an ARC of this book, and I have kept it close at hand recently, as both comfort and goad. Just yesterday I received a finished copy, and I turned it around and immediately gifted it to one of the most disruptive writers I know.
My ONLY issue with this book is that after the older cat "had to go" and "didn't come back," "that was hard." "Until the day a new cat came."
And thatMy ONLY issue with this book is that after the older cat "had to go" and "didn't come back," "that was hard." "Until the day a new cat came."
And that bothers me - as the human companion of Ersatz, Gizmo, Buzz Aldrin, St. John Bosco, Brother John, and Babe, I can say definitively that it remains hard to deal with the demise of an elderly cat well after the new kitty comes.
But other than that, lord love Elisha Cooper drawing cats....more
MMM... gonna be fun at storytime - we can do animal sounds as the various animals board the ship, we can pretend we are all ON the ship, and we can alMMM... gonna be fun at storytime - we can do animal sounds as the various animals board the ship, we can pretend we are all ON the ship, and we can all holler "Yes!" along with the passengers when another creature wants to come aboard....more
Wowza. I started this book because I am writing a round-up of horror for kids and teens, and I thought this might qualify as "funny horror." There isWowza. I started this book because I am writing a round-up of horror for kids and teens, and I thought this might qualify as "funny horror." There is such a thing. But as it turns out, this is not it.
Kippy's best and only friend Ruth is brutally and horrifically murdered. The sheriff of their small town immediately arrests Ruth's boyfriend, the douchey jock Colt, who, as it turns out, had been sleeping around on her. NBD however - once Ruth's mom turns Ruth's diary over to Kippy, Kippy discovers that 18-year-old Ruth has been sleeping with an adult lawyer named Jim. She also discovers that Ruth didn't actually like her much.
Kippy is 16, and a young 16, as some 16-year-olds are. She's a virgin, she's prone to wearing an utility belt and sometimes she has food on her face. She owns a rainbow turtleneck. So desperate for physical contact that she BITES more than one character in the book, this is the kind of character that is drawn by people who have only just escaped the humiliations of being a late-blooming teenager, and whose loathing for the uncool person they used to be is only beginning to be replaced by affectionate nostalgia.
This tip-over from bitterness to gentle ridicule runs through the depiction of the whole super-Midwestern ya-sure-you-betcha town. HOWEVER. In the process, holy shit, EVERYBODY gets thrown under the bus. Veterans, people with mental health issues, spectrum disabilities, Christians, my god there's even a Polish immigrant with a funny accent. There's no comment on the fact that Ruth was sleeping with a grownup, a relationship that other reviewers have categorized as rape. There's no rebuttal to the characterization of Ruth as a slut.
The theme to "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" kept running through my head as I read this book. But it's as if Rachel Bloom's character on that show, Rebecca Bunch, was writing the show - while Kippy is described as having had problems with aggression and grief, there's no real sense that "she's so broken inside" as the hook to that theme song carols. We are given Kippy as 'goofy teen sleuth,' rather than 'instrument by which the author tries to convince herself that her painful adolescence is a) over and b) not that irrational.'
I think the book is maybe valuable to adults as an example of how seriously fucked-up the thinking of teenagers (and I am talking about the author here, not the character) can get. But I think it takes a sophisticated reader to get beyond the bludgeoning meted out to everyone involved, starting with, and ultimately even ending with, poor Ruth.
And as a completely side thing - a major character has the same name as picture book illustrator Bob Staake. Not a common name, and not - by the way - a sympathetic character. As it turns out, this author's partner has written for the New Yorker, for which Bob Staake has created some memorable covers. I was just curious about this coincidence, especially as Bob wasn't mentioned in the lengthy acknowledgements. So I looked it up on Goodreads.
That's when I realized that this book is THAT book - the book whose author lost her shit over a one-star Goodreads review, who then stalked and confronted the anonymous reviewer, and then wrote about it for the Guardian.
In some ways, this is a fascinating book. But overall, what I am left with is a sense that this young author needs a lot of help. Her other writing reveals her to be prone to obsessive thinking and behavior. Her now-husband is comedy writer Simon Rich, whose parents are the New York Times theater critic Frank Rich and Harpers editor Gail Winston. Simon Rich's TV show, "Man Seeking Woman," is now in its third season. So she is not without, you know, resources.
Weirdly, I now realize that I've read Simon Rich's novel Elliott Allagash, and I remember finding it appalling for almost exactly the same reason I find No One Else Can Have You so disturbing. Both novels read like juvenile revenge fantasies best left in the spiral notebooks they were originally scrawled into....more
A million stars for execution and production quality, minus a lot of stars for the giant holes in the collection of the actual Design Library, locatedA million stars for execution and production quality, minus a lot of stars for the giant holes in the collection of the actual Design Library, located in upstate New York. How can you even talk about pattern without including West African textiles, South Asian sari borders, embroidery from Central Asia? Boo....more