May 27, 2011

When a book makes you feel drunk.

When I was in ninth grade my English teacher, Mr.Dodd, enjoyed making us stumble through plays and short scripts aloud for his own amusement. If you've never listened to a southern 15 year old country boy attempt to read Mercutio, you simply haven't lived. Personally, I've always loved drama and being on the stage, but such is not the case with a large percentage of high school freshman.

The one title that cemented it's self in my memory was a one act version of Kafka's The Metamorphosis. I was beyond lost. This poor man woke up after being transformed into a giant cockroach. Nothing could be more confusing or horrifying to a group of kids in the midst of puberty.

Honestly, I remember little of the plot past the giant roach being trapped in his bedroom while his family freaked out & tried to decide what to do with him. But as I have learned recently, being confused & disconcerted was exactly the effect Mr.Kafka was going for....and in reality, he never actually said Mr.Samsa was a roach.

Recently a Mr.Coleridge Cook has teamed up with old Franz (and my buddies at Quirk Classics) to bring us a new, fuzzier version of the creepy giant bug man story: The Meowmorphosis. Instead of a giant bug, Gregor Samsa wakes up as a man sized kitten!

"His family freaks out: Yes, their son is OMG so cute, but what good is cute when there are bills piling up?"

In the original, Gregor remains trapped in his family's apartment as their lives continue on in spite of his creeping up walls and furniture. In the new "It's so fluffy I'm gonna' die" version, Gregor escapes into the wide world to discover he is not alone in his transformation (because really, who expects a cat to stay somewhere it doesn't really want to stay?).

In keeping with Kafka's style, Cook made me feel I was severely intoxicated while reading on more than one occasion (and in my own defense, I only had one small drink the entire time I was reading....OK, so it was a shot of vodka, but trust me when I say, the mind boggling was so not my fault). I fully intend to tackle this one again in hopes that the super-cute man kitteh will not make my brain feel like jello again.

If nothing else, this book was totally worth the read for the Discussion Questions at the end. And did I mention the pictures? Awesomely disturbing.

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