Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Book 81 of 2012: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories is a very short collection of poems written by the film director, Tim Burton. I saw it in a charity shop in Ayr and the fact that it was by Tim Burton immediately caught my eye (as did the fact that it was only about 50p). It's a collection of poems about children who are all a little bit strange or weird or different; there's a girl who has lots of eyes, a boy who is a robot, and a boy who is an oyster. These poems tell their sad little stories.

I decided to read this for All Hallow's Read, because I'm a big baby and I really can't handle scary books, but I thought this was a good idea for a quirky Halloween read. It wasn't a long read, I was watching TV at the same time as reading and if I'd just sat and read it I'd have finished it much quicker. The poems were very funny, there were quite a few that I had to stop and read out to John.

I think that the first half of the book had my favourite poems. I especially like 'Stick Boy and Match Girl' (about a boy made out of a stick, who falls in love with a girl made out of a match, it doesn't end well), 'The Girl With Many Eyes' (about a girl with lots and lots of eyes) and my absolute favourite 'Robot Boy' (about a boy who is born made of metal and wires because his mother had an affair with something mechanical); it contains the brilliant verse 'The Smiths' lives were now filled / with misery and strife. / Mrs. Smith hated her husband, / and he hated his wife. / He never forgave her unholy alliance: a sexual encounter / with a kitchen appliance.'

Most of the poems rhyme, which I quite like because it reminds me of the poetry books I used to like when I was at school. They work well when they're read aloud, but some of the rhythm in them is a little bit irregular, perhaps it's to do with accents. I imagine some of them would sound better if read with an American accent.

The pictures in the book were also done by Tim Burton as well. They're really exactly what you'd expect of him and reminded me of the characters from Halloween Town in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Something about the poems reminded me a little of Coraline by Neil Gaiman as well.

I picked it up expecting it to be a book geared towards children, but it's definitely more of an adult's book. It's not a long read, but it's quirky and fun to pass a bit of time in between longer books. It's the sort of book I'd give a friend as a jokey little gift, but I'm glad I got it and I'm sure I'll read it again in the future.

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