Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People
- Douglas Coupland -
7 incredibly crude and disturbing tales reminiscent of kids fairy tales but with a modern twist.
I'm sure you've made a comment on how violent and frightening classic fairy tales are. Like those curious kids, Hansel and Gretel, finding a nice candy house only to be thrown in an oven. Or, Little red riding hood, who is hoodwinked by a hungry wolf whose head is eventually chopped off. Right, for some reason these were deemed appropriate for children. Well, the stories in this book are along the same lines but deal with minivans, action figures, and juice boxes instead of witches and wolves. And, as with all modern things sensitivity prevails, hence the title 'inappropriate tales for young people'. Now for adults it's an entirely different story.
These seven tales are a hilarious take on the lives of modern kids. I heard an interview with the author and he commented on how kid's lives nowadays are filled with so much stuff - iphones, juice boxes, toys, toys, toys...then his mind started working, in the strange way his mind works, and he came up with the idea of 'what if these things came alive and turned evil?" Well, this is what would happen.
There is tale of a juice box who's aim in life it to destroy other juice boxes. He punctures their frail tinfoil holes with things. He tricks them into being run over by cars, exploding their insides onto the parking lot. His destructive impulses increase and he takes off into the streets, burning fast food containers on the way.
There is a tale of a terrible babysitter who makes kids shoplift, burn houses down, and walk through cemeteries late at night.
Another extremely violent tale was about a disturbed action figure. He seemed to suffer from PTSD and is living on the streets. A boy stumbles upon him on day and takes him home. The action figure feels trapped in this situation and needs to break out, and take revenge on his kidnapper. The violence brought down on this boy from a tiny plastic action figure is frightening...and slightly disturbing that someone would think about it!
My favourite was 'Kevin, the hobo minivan with extremely low morals'. It hit close to home. We have a minivan, and I cannot imagine it being a low life character who shakes down children and seniors for loose change to feed its addictions.
Overall, the stories were very imaginative and funny. A nice satire of children's fairy tales with modern gadgets and slang thrown in. I did laugh to myself countless times while reading as well as think 'wtf', by the strange twists or outright disturbing violence. It is definitely not a book to read to children right before bed. Perhaps if they are sixteen and the power is out and nobody wants to play monopoly, it would work then.