Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman; pictures by Dave McKean (1998, 2004)

This definitely fits neatly into the Gaiman world. It's sits on the gently wacky, definitely absurd corner of Gaiman world, and it's not dark (like most of Gaiman) but definitely getting dark; sort of right before twilight. It has a bite to it too; the newspaper reading dad, oblivious to all that's going on, frequently shows up in television commercials, although he's in far stupider and bumbling garb on television than Gaiman and McKean's newspaper reading dad who gets swapped for two goldfish. The pictures, which at first bugged the shit out of me - like all modern art, I guess - I grew to appreciate and even love (around about the gorilla mask). The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two GoldfishThe Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The world of Gaiman can be a dark and scary one. The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish isn't as dark as a Gaiman novel, but it definitely is at least right before twilight. It's also amusingly absurd, gently wacky, with pictures that pack a sort of postmodern punch. In the middle of this clever and humorous story is a bit of bite as well; the newspaper reading dad, oblivious to being swapped here and there for various articles, is the kind of dad that in other, more grown-up works, cause men to go into therapy. That may be taking this picture book too far down the road, but it's Neil Gaiman afterall, and peeling away layers often reveals creepy crawling things underneath - and sometimes light too.

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