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Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People Hardcover – International Edition, October 25, 2011

3.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Roald Dahl meets Stephen King in seven warped children’s-story parodies where Coupland’s understated prose is made all the funnier by Roumieu’s gleefully depraved illustrations. With such cuddly heroes as a murderous juice box and an alcoholic, kleptomaniac minivan, the duo take a sly dig at corporate capitalism—think Generation X-cess.” —National Post
“The mind of Douglas Coupland must be a scary place to live…. Those of you who have ever wondered what kind of trouble a Hobo Minivan with Extremely Low Morals can get into can take a soothing breath: the wait is over this month.” —ELLE Canada
“Playful, simple and winking…. Disturbing and hilarious.... A well-executed series of quirky stories that are imaginative and often funny.” —Edmonton Journal
“Anyone who has ever wondered what might transpire if the author of Bigfoot’s autobiography were to illustrate a story collection by Canada’s reigning postmodern ironist can stop wondering.” —Quill & Quire

About the Author

Douglas Coupland was born on a Canadian NATO base in Germany. He is the author of Generation A, JPod, and nine earlier novels, along with non-fiction works including a recent biography of Marshall McLuhan. His books have been translated into thirty-five languages and published in most countries around the world. He is also a visual artist, sculptor, furniture and fashion designer, and screenwriter. He lives and works in Vancouver.

GRAHAM ROUMIEU is the creator of the faux Bigfoot autobiography books In Me Own Words, Me Write Book and I Not Dead; as well as some non-Bigfoot related books such as Cat & Gnome and 101 Ways To Kill Your Boss. Since starting work in 2001 his illustrations have appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, Men's Health, and many other places for advertising, editorial, character design and book applications.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Canada (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307360660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307360663
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,107,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book includes seven quirky, moral-less tales by Douglas Coupland with gorgeously alarming illustrations by Graham Roumieu:

1. Donald, the Incredibly Hostile Juice Box
2. Sandra, the Truly Dreadful Babysitter
3. Hans, the Weird Exchange Student
4. Brandon, the Action Figure with Issues
5. Cindy, the Terrible Role Model
6. Kevin, the Hobo Minivan with Extremely Low Morals
7. Mr. Fraser, the Undead Substitute Teacher

Now, I read Coupland's writing with quite a substantial bias. I've spent most of my time since 16 trying to be a character from one of his novels: trying desperately to convince my friends to sit around and tell character-revealing stories to one another. What I love is the liveliness of the characters in unpredictable situations while grounded in the technological world that I know. However, I knew from the nature of this book that it would be very different. I suspected this book would have a shocking quality and possibly make a cringe-worthy read but I trusted Coupland to come through with the witty goods.

These stories are twisted children's tales. They have the dark peculiarity of Tim Burton's Oyster Boy mixed with the cringe-craving teenager watching Happy Tree Friends. (Watch at own risk).
For instance, the last story about the undead substitute teacher, Mr. Fraser who asks his class to describe which of their classmates would taste the best and why.

I have to say the book only got a simple smile from me throughout the first two stories. I was immune to the oddness and I wanted to be shocked. I wanted something more than strange, menacing characters and no happy endings. Fortunately, the story of the German exchange student gave me chills.
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Format: Hardcover
As the elements of the weird and silly gradually creep into society and gains a cultural respectability, this little collection of zany stories serves to remind us how much of it is driven by the unhinging of the creative imagination when it comes to artistic expression. These very creepy stories are jam-packed with clever role reversals, expressions of dark humor, feelings of the macabre, and moments of revulsion. The main characters in these literary and artistic sketches are young people who exhibit anti-social behaviour that many of us would find off the charts, so why even publish them if that is what we are trying to discourage in our kids? Having personally known Roumieu sometime in the past as his high school history teacher, I have had a certain admiration for his interpretative drawings. Back then, there was only a slight hint of the bizarre or the unusual in his work. Years later, he showed some op-ed pieces that he had done for the New York Times and Walrus which showed that he was definitely stepping out into a new style of expression. I sensed the young man was finding his place in the world of competitive art by deciding to go where few others have ventured: just beyond the pale of the normal without being caught up in the abnormal itself. In otherwords the fringe. Ergo, today we have a cartoonist who considers his calling in life to confront us with all kinds of unsettling possibilities about what it might mean to live a world that is not conventional. Many of these stories involve teens with troubling issues that few of us care to understand because it is not safe to identify with the weird. Trust me, this book, both by Coupland's storytelling and Roumieu's graphic illustrations, will jolt your sense of propriety by taking you into a dark, surreal and troubling, Stephen King-like dimension where fictional characters and situations have definitely broken with tradition.
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Format: Hardcover
Douglas Coupland's career has taken something of a nose dive of late. This faux children's book is a bit of a departure. It's a nice format hardback on good quality paper stock. The illustrations are okay and compliment the stories. Unfortunately, the stories aren't very good. They are meant to be humourously amoral, but they just read as a bit pointless. I think they are supposed to be ironic, but they aren't really. And I so wanted to keep it. Shame.
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Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: I have not read this popular Canadian author, but the book intrigued me as I do like quirky, snide humour.

I'll start off with some caveats. This book is *not* for children, nor really *for* young people if one is thinking young means teenager. The word young here would apply to the opposite of old. I think the book would have been more appropriately named "Highly Inappropriate Tales *About* Young People". The publisher's summary contains this phrase " If you are over the age of consent," and if I was to recommend this book to a certain group of readers I would say those most likely to really enjoy these stories would be adults who don't really like children very much.

The stories presented here are dark, and there is no denying they are humorous but they are likely to offend just as much as they are to make one snicker. Some stories are about personified inanimate objects such as a juice box, a mini van, a fashion doll and an action figure while the others are about children (elementary to young teens, about 13). Children are murdered, tortured, harmed and caused discomfort. All of this is in the realm of snide humour. These are not fables, they have no morals. They don't have "gotcha" endings where the bad guy gets his in the end; no the bad guy always wins. Most of them really did nothing for me. I tolerated them; they certainly didn't offend me as I've read in some of the other reviews of this book. I did smirk here and there but generally the endings just fell flat with me. The one I did enjoy was "Sandra, The Truly Dreadful Babysitter". Upon arriving at her first job, the illustration shows her arriving via Mary Poppins descending from the air via an umbrella with a satchel in her other hand. She "asked the twins what they wanted to do.
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