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The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories
Tim Burton
Rob Weisbach Books (Morrow), 115 pages

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories
Tim Burton
Tim Burton is best known as the director of Batman. He began his career at the California Institute of the Arts, studying animation on fellowship from Disney. Early films include Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice. Following Batman, Burton went on to make Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns and Ed Wood.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Margo MacDonald

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A quick glance through this book will tell you two things: One, this book is not meant for children and, Two, Burton is one twisted individual (but these things you probably already knew, heck, its what we like best about him, isn't it?).

Where did Tim Burton grow up? Well, I'm not sure, but it must have been on the same street as Edward Gorey and Gary Larson. Burton has illustrated this book with grotesquely simple line drawings, highly reminiscent of Edward Gorey though nowhere near as elegant. The text for each story is brief. In fact, most of these stories are too short to really be considered stories -- they are more like poems, somewhere near the category of limericks, I think, and all of them are devilishly gruesome.

Don't read this book if you have nightmares about giving birth to some grotesque, non-human child. Burton has these kind of dreams and he illustrates most of them in this book. There is the title child "Oyster Boy" who has an oyster for a head and meets a most horrific end; there is "Robot Boy" whose parentage is the question of the day; we must not overlook "Stain Boy"; "Roy, the Toxic Boy"; "Mummy Boy"; "Jimmy, the Hideous Penguin Boy"; and "Anchor Baby" whose names pretty much speak for themselves. But if you are a fan of dark humour, like I am, then this book will make a nice little Christmas gift to yourself (a much better one than the kids in the book receive, I can assure you).

Do not be deceived, no one comes to any good in these stories. You will not learn any life lessons from them (except for maybe not to copulate with things that are not of the same species as you). But it is a charming little book, in the way taxidermy is charming. You will want to read it as soon as you pick it up, so beware -- it looks so unassuming on the outside, just a black cloth cover with a title plate, but inside are bugs and nails and fire. You won't know how much those things will make you shudder until you have read this book. Open the cover and enter, if you dare, the dark twisted world of Tim Burton. I've been there and I must confess that there is no one like him for the ability to make you laugh in spite of your cringing.

Copyright © 1997 by Margo MacDonald

Margo has always been drawn toward fantasy and, at the age of 5, decided to fill her life with it by pursuing a career as a professional actress. Aside from theatre (and her husband), Margo's passion has been for books. Her interests are diverse and eclectic, but the bulk fall within the realm of speculative fiction. She tells us that her backlog has reached 200 books and she's ready to win the lottery and retire.


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