The focus of Awful Library Books has always been on non-fiction. A few fiction submissions have come in, though, that are just too funny not to post!
Blissful Joy and the SATs: A Multiple-Choice Romance
Submitter: I saw this in the library and had to take a picture (it’s my facebook profile picture now)!
Holly: “Her life moves along as carefully planned until sixteen-year-old Bliss is befriended one day on the subway by a stray dog.” (Click here for the worldcat entry.) Hmmm, misleading title! First, I thought it was a non-fiction book about how euphoric it is to take the SATs. That couldn’t possibly be right (although I have now seen stranger things…), so I took a second look. Sure enough, it’s fiction. A story about someone in a state of euphoria about taking the SATs, then? Nope – the character’s name is Bliss. Disappointing!
The Masterpiece of Nice Mr. Breen
Submitter: The cover almost says it all, doesn’t it? Pot smokin’ grannies. The plot–5 sweet old ladies get their pot from neighbor Mr Breen, who manufactures psychedelic drugs in his basement. They don’t know he’s also a murderer, with grandiose ideas of creating murder masterpieces–unsolvable, classic, murderer uncaught. And he’s having quite a career, until, as the book jacket states:
“…the ladies come no closer to solving the macabre crimes than than anyone else—until crotchety old Priscilla takes an acid trip that flips from
heartwarming to nightmarish and leads the ladies directly to the killer’s lair.”
“Not only a funny and fast-moving suspense story, but an often lyrical journey into the mellow world of mind-expanding drugs and an affirmation of Seneca’s statement that ‘life is most delightful when it is on the downward slope.’ ”
Holly: Ha ha ha!!! I’d write more, but I’m gasping for breath between squeals of delight!
George Bush, Dark Prince of Love: A Presidential Romance
Holly: “Realists will scoff at George Bush, Dark Prince of Love. Absurdists, however, may rejoice. To put it politely, the narrator of Lydia Millet’s satire is fat, felonious, trailer-park trash who’s out to replace Barbara Bush in the president’s affections.” http://amzn.to/chaoIv They had me at absurdist.
Thank you to the submitter, YA author Julie Halpern, for this one. No, this did not come from her library. It came from her awesome blog! http://juliehalpern.blogspot.com/2010/05/more-covers-for-your-covering-pleasure.html Check out the other excellent covers on her site!
Sarah T.: Portrait of a teen-age alcoholic
Based on the Universal Television Production written by Shapiro
Submitter: We found this book while weeding a specialized collection for the Education Department. Books based on movies are suspect to begin with, but this one is based on a made-for-TV movie with Linda Blair and Mark Hamill. …and the teaser text on the inside cover? Can we say melodrama? Yikes!
Holly: I didn’t catch this one on TV, but I bet Linda Blair plays one heck of a puking drunk. (Sorry, couldn’t NOT mention that, could I??)
Submitter: So obviously, the cover illustration is a pretty stark expression of white culture’s fear of the “other.” The expression on that girl’s face is just exquisite. This book was published in 1975, and we all agreed that the publisher “should have known better” by that point. The writing itself may be perfectly acceptable — the lone Amazon reviewer gave it 5 stars, calling it “a captivating story,” and it’s based on a true story about two sisters captured by Apaches — but the title and cover art are so dated, exploitative, and unintentionally funny that nobody over the age of 10 is going to be able to derive anything but ironic enjoyment from it today.
Holly: This is cataloged as a children’s fiction book. The cover would have scared the heck out of me when I was a kid!