Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Sweet but Forgettable Parody

Nightlight: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon (Vintage, 2009, 160pp.)

In one of the many parodies of Twilight, Nightlight chronicles the attempts of Belle Goose, an addle-brained teenager with a thing for vampires, to woo nerdy fellow-classmate Edwart, whom she’s certain is a creature of the night (he saves her from a flying snowball! She catches him eating Twizzlers! (They look a lot like blood if you kind of glance at them from the corner of your eye.)) When she realizes that Edwart is, in fact, NOT a vampire, she quickly dumps him for a bloodsucker she meets in a graveyard. She soon finds herself missing Edwart’s nerdy charms when she realizes that dating a vampire is not all it’s cracked up to be. A silly parody with a few laughs and a surprisingly sweet ending, it unfortunately lasts a hundred pages longer than it should be. Recommended for Ages 13-Up.

Click on the cover for image source.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Average Entry in Bibliotherapy Canon

Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters (Little, Brown, 2006, 240pp.)

Even though kids at school make fun of him for having two moms, Nick still manages to have a pretty happy childhood. When he turns 14, Erin and Jo decide to split up. Erin, Nick’s birthmother, insists on sole custody of her son, despite the feelings of both Nick and her now ex-partner, a recovering alcoholic, that Jo is responsible enough to care for him. Things escalate when Erin invites her new girlfriend, Kerri, to move in with them. Nick struggles with angst, depression, and rage as the tug-of-war battle ensues. In terms of plot, this is an average entry in the literary canon of bibliotherapy. The ending is a bit rushed and too easily resolved, but it may, in any case, be therapeutic for teens suffering from similar issues. Recommended for Ages 15-Up.

Click on the cover for image source.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Clever but Tedious

Barry Trotter and the Unauthorized Parody by Michael Gerber (Fireside, 2002, 176pp.)

In this satirized version of the Harry Potter series, Barry Trotter and friends try to stop Hollywood from making a film based on his life for fear that Hogwash School will be overrun by millions of rabid fans. To do so, they hatch a plan to kidnap the author of the Barry Trotter series, J.G. Rollins, who first interviewed and documented Trotter’s life adventures, and whom they assume controls the rights to the movie as well as the books. They later discover that she is being held in captivity by her bloodsucking publishers, who have her chained to a typewriter and are determined to milk their cash-cow for all she’s worth. For the most part, Barry Trotter is a clever little book that molds the real series’ phenomenal success into a story of the battle between good and evil. Harry Potter becomes—you guessed it—“Barry Trotter.” Dementors are replaced with “Marketors,” evil, soul-sucking henchmen of the publishing companies, and Voldemort’s counterpart, the insidious Valumart, turns out to be in cahoots with the publishers. But being what it is (a parody), readers who expect to be provided with more than few a comical moments will be disappointed. Although Gerber definitely knows how to cleverly distort the Potter series’ setting and plot elements to his advantage, this proves to be the sole novelty of the piece. The plot is plodding, and laughs, unfortunately, are few and far between, making this book more than a little tedious to finish. Recommended for Ages 16-Up for language and suggestive situations.

Click on the cover for image source.