I am a huge fan of the “creepy” literature genre. And in that category I believe there is only one person that does it right: Tim Burton. I liked his movies ever since I was very young. One of the best memories regarding Burton is from when I was much younger, and was watching The Corpse Bride on TV. I was giggling, and I remember my mother reading something next to me while making nasty remarks from time to time. ´´How can you watch that? It’s disgusting´´. But soon enough she started giggling too and we ended up laughing together at the amusing ´´kinda-dead´´ characters. The episode had quite an impact on me and my way of thinking of a ´´good creepy movie´´, and ever since then I tried my very best to keep up with his stuff. I find it to be magic, funny, smart, and creepy just enough to make it interesting and detach it from the rest. And here I don’t mean movies only.
Yesterday I gave in and bought a book that was tempting me for quite a while: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories´´. I am not a big fan of poetry and verse in special, but this was such an experience I might just change my mind about that. The book is rather small, you can read it over lunch, like I did, trying not to laugh out loud.
The book is basically comprised of 23 short poems, each telling the story of a character very à la Burton: Robot Boy, Staring Girl, Roy the Toxic Boy,Oyster Boy, and many others. The verse is very simple, with beautiful funny rhymes, while everything is kept in very basic language. It’s very witty stuff. All the characters are very strongly constructed, all with problems (just like everyone else, right?). For example, here is a short one:
´´Brie Boy had a dream he only had twice,
that his full, round head was only a slice.
The other children never let Brie Boy play…
…but at least he went well with a nice Chardonnay.´´
It’s obviously very funny, and the common denominator is that all these characters are somehow rejects of the society. Children do not want to play with them, they don’t have friends, they are weird and do not fit. Sounds like someone you might know or even be? Well then you would love this book. Mostly all of them find their talents somehow ( The Staring Girl wins a staring contest), or have hope to do the things they want to do as best as they can. ( The Boy with Nails in His Eyes still manages to make his Christmas tree, although it is not perfect since he can’t see. But it’s still his tree!). Some end up dying all over the place. The characters that make it and fight give us hope, and the characters that die make us consider how we treat others, the ones who aren’t the same as everyone.
Behind the funny rhymes and illustrations I found hidden deep thoughts. There is one poem in particular I am thinking here, ´´Anchor Baby´´ that treats the theme of a child as a burden instead of a joy. This theme of a different child, a baby that comes into the world only to turn out to be nothing like what his parents thought or wished it to be, is a reoccurring one in Mr. Burton’s book. There is much to learn from these little tragic characters. This is a book for all the people who haven’t learn yet that treating others badly is a nasty nasty thing to do. This is a book for the people who haven’t learned yet that whatever happens, there is always a way. This is a book for Tim Burton’s fans. This is a book for everyone really.
P.S: I managed to find this site that has all the poems from the book. Although I would advice you to just buy the book, keep it in your bookshelf and bring offerings to it every day, this is also a good way to go through it and decide for yourself if it’s something for you, or a nice gift for someone.It must be someone really special though!
Here you go :