Light Boxes
Shane Jones
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Light Boxes
Shane Jones
160 pages
May 2010
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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This is part Alice in Wonderland, part Grimm's fairy tale, and part dark folk fable. Unfortunately, it fails to hit any of these marks and falls somewhere in-between. The main problem here is the author wasn't sure if he was writing for children, young adults or grownups. There are some pretty savage parts here: missing, drowning and kidnapped children; profanity; and "horses' bloody flesh." Certainly not fodder for kids. And yet the writing is childlike and meant to imply the cadence and rhythm of poetry, but that is too childish to truly grip the more adult reader.

February, an unhappy god, brings winter to the inhabitants of a small town for 900 days. Interesting idea. But what you're supposed to figure out is that February is actually a disgruntled author and the entire book is actually one his manuscripts that he keeps in his basement. It's a difficult allegory to unravel and doesn't work very well.

Several lists here are meant to propel the action. One is titled "List of Artists Who Created Fantasy Worlds to Try and Cure Bouts of Sadness." This is ridiculous and pre-supposes a certain knowledge before you even pick up the book. It also effectively eliminates this as any book a younger reader would choose because they simply could not know some of the names here. Here is a partial listing:

1. Italo Calvino
4. The creator of MySpace (absurd - whoever created MySpace had only one object in mind: making money)
8. Salvador Plascencia
How about Tolkien? Disney?

Read Alice in Wonderland instead. It's dark and fun and after checking it out you can watch the movie recently released.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2010

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