Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shelf Life [adult]

Not Quite the Classics by Colin Mochrie
@SPL: FIC Mochr
 

And now for something completely different… and yet slightly familiar. Canadian comedic icon Colin Mochrie presents his first work of fictional short stories, all based on the first and last lines of the great classics of western literature. Even if you’ve never read Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, you’ll be familiar with the phrase, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” In Mr. Mochrie’s tale, however, what follows is not a description of despotic Victorian London, but rather a tail of a coyote. A coyote of great genius and cunning (you might even call him wily), and his ability to use weapons of mass destruction in his futile pursuit of a road-runner dinner.  Yes, that’s the kind of book it is. Classic, yet filled with popular references; smartly satirical, yet able to induce explosive snorts of laughter. Feel free to skip around, too – if the Sherlock Holmes-inspired story “A Study in Ha-Ha”  - in which Sherlock tries his hand at acting - doesn’t grab you, try the more seasonal “’Twas Not Right Before Christmas”, in which the narrator finds himself not just visited by old St. Nick, but by Ralphie from A Christmas Story, the Ghost of Christmas Past, a yippee-ki-aying Bruce Willis and Dr. Who, just to name a few. Tweens and teens are sure to get a kick out of the zombie-fied “Cat in the Hat”, even if it is in rhyme. Mr. Mochrie also takes on and successfully mocks a gothic romance, two dystopian sci-fi novellas and a sea-faring epic of leviathan proportions – quite the challenging variety. However each tale shares his characteristic dead-pan voice and that might be the one problem I have with this book – I think I would prefer it as an audiobook, so I can actually hear Mr. Mochrie narrating at his improvisational best. Nevertheless, Not Quite the Classics suits this hectic holiday time well – the short stories can fit into any schedule and the humour provides a great pick-me-up for anyone feeling grumpy or Scrooge-ish. Reserve a copy of Not Quite the Classics at spl.bibliocommons.com under the tag ‘shelf life reviewed’.
 
This review appears in The Stratford Gazette on December 19, 2013. Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian.

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