Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Creepy Susie, by Angus Oblong

Well, I did it. I fell behind, so in order to catch up, I cheated.

I am completely immersed in my family geneology at the moment, because no matter which way I turn there's another branch of the tree to climb. The geneology that was sent to me that connects my family to royalty - it's seventy pages long, with detailed citations that lead me to more books and more reading and ... well, it's fascinating stuff.
  • In the 1920's, the spurned suitor of a cousin shot at her through a window and missed. He was acquitted at trial after numerous family members and neighbors testified as to what an upstanding young man he was.
  • Back in the 1700's, one of my direct ancestors is on record as being the first European occupant of a Connecticut town - but the land in question legally belonged to someone else. He declined to recognize this legal fact, and went down in history as a squatter who refused to leave until he was paid off for improvements to the land.

I spent last night visiting the Pilgrims but am not any closer to having a Thanksgiving menu planned, or to my 50-book goal. The situation is getting desperate, and since desperate times call for desperate measures, I looked for an ultra-easy read. This is where things start to get murky. 

The letter of the law: To count toward my total, a book must be more than 100 pages, and the author must not have written another book that I've counted. Creepy Susie, by Angus Oblong, is 164 pages, and so qualifies by those measures.

The spirit of the law: When I set out the rules, with my family's input, we set the 100 page limit to exclude children's picture books and that sort of thing - the idea was to have 100 pages of text, something somewhat substantive, in order to count.

If this were a trial, and you were on the jury, opposing counsel *might* point out that each of those 164 pages contains a sentence apiece, no more, accompanied by an illustration. They might further point to the fact that the illustrations aren't even very detailed.

In short, ladies and gentlemen of the jury - you could read this allegedly 164-page book in an hour, or less if you don't stop every so often because you're laughing so hard.

I submit Creepy Susie, and 13 other tragic tales for troubled children, by Angus Oblong, into evidence: We'll mark it Exhibit A.

In my defense, and it's an important point: Title notwithstanding, Creepy Susie is not a book for children. At least, it's not a book for children unless those children already understand words like hermaphrodite, narcolepsy, and electroshock.

If you know such a child, I do recommend Creepy Susie as a holiday gift choice. It is offbeat and slightly morbid and offensive in a South Park kind of way - the word "poo" comes up quite a bit. My favorite story was "Stupid Betsy," about a very stupid child who becomes a vampire and can't figure out what to bite for the blood she needs.

A number of reviewers on Amazon recommended it for people who like Edward Gorey, but it lacks the depth and artistic perfection of Gorey's work. It is odd and offbeat, and Gorey was as well, but the comparison ends there, in my view.

Anyway, I leave it to you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I'm counting Creepy Susie as book 19 unless you find, based on the rules as presented to you, facts in evidence, and beyond a reasonable doubt, that I should not.

31 more books to go, and not nearly enough time left to read them.

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