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The Bomb That Followed Me Home: 03/11/09
At the start of the year, I (along with most of the rest of the book review blogosphere from the look of things) was asked to review The Bomb That Followed Me Home by Cevin Soling, apparently the third fractured fairy tale in the Rumpleville series. From the reviews I've read, most reviewers expected a light-hearted children's story. Come on, the title has the word bomb in it. How does that connote anything light-hearted or innocent. It sounds like subversive satire to me (think A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift ) or more recently, Monty Python's Flying Circus.
I happen to like subversive satire so I was intrigued. Then there's the teaser for the book: "We've all heard of stray cats following kids home or a lost puppy yelping by a kitchen door for food, but did you know that even a wayward little bomb needs love and attention too?..." I couldn't help but think of my son who is constantly making up stories that are just as bizarre sounding as The Bomb That Followed Me Home.
The book is 40 pages long and in the style somewhere between a picture book and a graphic novel. The illustrations by Steve Kille remind me a mixture of the original Fractured Fairy Tales on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and Dave McKean's artwork. The story itself is on the surface and absurd tale of a bomb following a boy home and being the solution to a tricky problem.
On closing though, the book brings up questions (as any satire should). How is the bomb following the boy? Is it any different than the smart bombs we're using in war? Is it's cuteness a stand in for how complacent we've become to our own weapons of mass destruction? Then there is the name of the neighbors: Greenspan. When the book was published Alan Greenspan had just ended his tenure as the chairman of the Federal Reserve. The Greenspans in the book have an annoying hedge and I can't help but think hedge fund. That's the fun of a satire; there's wiggle room for interpretation.
I've read the book to my son and his main reaction is why was the story written and how could the parents be so irresponsible with the bomb?
I'll close with one parting thought. The book reminded me most of all of the exploding penguin sketch from Monty Python.