Monday, April 9, 2012

Staff Pick - Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People by Douglas Coupland

Douglas Coupland and Graham Roumieu joined forces to create Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People (M), a wickedly funny series of short stories in the tradition of Hilaire Belloc's Cautionary Tales for Children (M) and the more recent Go the F*#k to Sleep (M) by Adam Mansbach. These subversive stories tell the stories of a cast of demented and deranged characters like Brandon the Action figure with Issues and the nasty, horrible Barbie Doll Cindy the Terrible Role Model, who murders her owner in revenge for cutting off her ponytail.

The twisted reader will take pleasure in Hans and Gretel like fashion when Mr Fraser, the undead substitute teacher, assigns his students an essay to explain how someone else in the class would taste. The students are a thoughtful bunch and write terrific, well-considered essays which explore which child would be tastier - the overfed junk food inhaler or the organically-fed son of hippies.

Perhaps my favourite (although the Hobo Minivan with Extremely Low Morals who lures victims inside and steals their money and valuables and buys vodka comes a close second) is Donald the Incredible Hostile Juice Box. Donald is the terror of the elementary school and his greatest pleasure is to lure other juice boxes under the wheels of the teachers' cars and watch their juice spurt out. He has no regrets and he does not pay for his crimes.

If you reading tastes lean towards the bizarre and you are not squeamish about violence, murder, luring children into a life of crime or cannibalism, then this might just be the way for you to pass a pleasant hour.

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