20 March 2014

Review: Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was a longtime reader of Pearls Before Swine back when reading newspaper comics was A Thing We Did, so Stephan Pastis's foray into middle grade literature was something I was happy to jump into. The end result is a little more questionable.

Yes, the kid's name is really "Timmy Failure," a misspelling of a name via immigration. Along with being a kid detective, he's also got a polar bear friend and is actively delusional to often funny results. This book deals specifically with Timmy's interactions with his classmates, his "detective work," and a stolen Segway.

It's absolutely another Wimpy Kid clone, and doesn't really try to be Greg Heffley as much as a more absurdist take on the genre. I'm an adult and I'm not entirely sure as to whether I should take Timmy at his word that there are domesticated polar bears and teachers who send taunting postcards to bad students or not. The lack of clarity on this matter threw me off a bit, and perhaps a kid reader won't have that same sort of struggle (or even care that much). The other flaw, which is minor, is the "weird for the sake of being weird" aspect, which is a clear choice being made and isn't a bad thing, per se, but it often feels forced. Timmy isn't a weird kid, he's a kid being weird, and there's a subtle but significant difference there. Suspension of disbelief and all that, but I find it more curious than anything else.

Overall, a decent read, although nothing that really stands out to me as essential. The right kind of reader will get something out of this, for sure, but if you're looking for something similar to Wimpy Kid, you might want to look elsewhere.

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