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Doris Does Concentration Camps

My Friend the Enemy
Sanford
1992

I know you have been waiting for this moment. Many people have said how much they need to actually SEE this particular book from our ever burgeoning collection in the Doris House of Infamy. Yes, it is another step into the bizarro world of Doris, and this time she has taken us to a concentration camp. The usual suspects are here: weird non-story and creepy illustrations.

Our brave children Kathy and Dick are some how caught up in what I think is the 2nd Sino-Japanese War. Who are these people? Where were the parents? I wasn’t even sure it was the 20th century until the end when the Americans came in a plane to rescue the camp.

If you are new to the ALB Doris Hall of Infamy books, please proceed carefully. Side effects include headache, nausea, confusion and overwhelming dread that humanity is doomed.

Mary

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22 Responses to Doris Does Concentration Camps

  • Did you know that Doris has a Facebook page? She’s also on LinkedIn.. https://www.facebook.com/doris.sanford.56/about I wondered if I could find an interview with her but didn’t drill down that far. (That sounds like the beginning of a picture book about Fear of Dentists.)

  • Just when I thought Doris couldn’t do any worse ….! Does Kathy make friends with a guard or something? Why is the title My Friend the Enemy? I don’t see a friendly soldier.

  • Oh Doris. Only you can take something like a concentration camp and almost make it sound fun, you know, doing things like having rat-catching competitions and stuff. Also, is it me, or do some of the people in the pages where it’s announced that the war is over look more like they’re screaming in terror rather than screaming in joy?

    • They also look awfully healthy for prisoners of war, especially ones being held the the Japanese. Maybe it’s the Eggshell Diet ™?

  • I am thankfully new to this phenomenon but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Doris PROBABLY owns or is related to someone who owns this “publishing company.”

  • Well hopefully for little Kathy that’s not a plane that’s about to bomb Nagasaki or Hiroshima.
    Although if it was, mad bad old Doris could have gone nuts with her coloured pencils illustrating it.

  • That playful pic of the little girl crossing her eyes might be the most tonally dissonant thing I have EVER seen. Wowsers.

  • Would there really have been a helicopter landing? My understanding is that they were very rare at that time (presumably c. 1945). As for the rest of the book, I can’t decide which is more dreadful — the text or the artwork.

    • Oh, that’s easy. The artwork. I mean, some of this text COULD be illustrated in a way that did honor to the subject. But these particular pictures combined with this text…. no. Just no.

  • There are three letters that are brought to mind on this one. WTF!!!!

  • Cross Eyed Kathy with the fly on her nose looks like she is drinking out of a bottle of vanilla.

  • Considering that I grew up knowing people who were Holocaust survivors – this book has to be one of the most awful books ever. No. No. No.

  • Those rats are drawn a little too cute for disease-carrying vermin that’s being clubbed by kids just for something fun to do.

  • The back cover says these are “true life stories”; do you think they are really true?

    • I think this is meant to be about European internees in Asia during WW II — think Shanghai, Singapore, etc. There were indeed children in those camps.

  • The perky tone of the story really is amazingly offensive. Why would you read this when “Summer of My German Soldier” has a similar theme, but is far better literature?

  • This supposedly takes place in 1940s Asia, yet all the people in the pictures look like 1970s Middle America.

    • Actually, since the book doesn’t appear to ever specify, the entire war in this book might be fictional, while being slightly based on real wars. Just my theory. But you know Doris doesn’t exactly appear to have a firm grasp on reality, anyway…

  • The whole thing is very reminiscent of “Empire of the Sun” but it would make J. G. Ballard cry.

  • The illustrations are bizarre. Whereas I agree that this is about European civilian prisoners of the Japanese in WW2, as in Empire of the Sun, the ‘Japanese’ soldier in one picture is accurately portrayed in the uniform of one of Mao’s Red Guards. Then there’s the red flag on the cover: the Japanese flag is white with a red sun design. The artist is, of course, showing the subliminal fears of a Chinese conquest of America that were particularly voiced during the ’50s and ’60s before President Nixon’s rapprochement with China. That’s at best sloppy, at worst racist.

  • Taking it back to the early eighties, I might have thought “Tenko”. As anyone who watched the TV series would know, men and women were kept in separate camps (pregnant prisoners don’t make good workers, among other reasons), so there again the illustrations are confusing.