Author: Tim Burton
Genre: Poems – Black Humour
Fictionworms is back with more of Tim Burton! Not to review his most famous works, but one of those which remain unknown for many people. I’ve recently talked about his short film Vincent, now it’s time for his book of poems titled The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories. As you may have realised already, these poems are full of the author’s usual black humour, which is even blacker here since the protagonists of the poems are kids.
Written in verse and illustrated by Burton himself, the stories in this book are all about weird and lonely characters, mainly children. Being so different from everybody else brings them a sea of troubles, makes them miserable, and sometimes even finishes with their lives in a tragic destination.
People who are fond of black humour will probably enjoy this book very much. Those who are not, on the contrary, may find some of the poems extremely cruel. I did, for example, when I read The Boy with Nails in His Eyes, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and James. I guess the titles of the first two say enough and there’s no need for further explanation, but I’m going to write the two-lines-lenght James to illustrate what I’m saying.
“Unwisely, Santa offered a teddy bear to James, unaware that
he had been mauled by a grizzly earlier that year.”
That is, at least for me, macabre in excess, twisted and horrible. Nonetheless, there are other poems in Burton’s book which, being more “innocent” and less cruel, I came to like pretty much. Some of them are Staring Girl, The Girl with Many Eyes, and my favourite Sue.
“To avoid a law suit,
we’ll just call her Sue
(or “that girl who likes
to sniff lots of glue”).
The reason I know
that this is the case
is when she blow her nose,
kleenex sticks to her face.”
Although it’s not the first time I have seen something like this (e.g. Edward Gorey wrote and illustrated similar poems), we can’t deny Burton’s creativity. His fans will love the book, and the rest of the people may have varied reactions to it. They may admire it. They may be horrified by it. Or the two at the same time. †
– Written by GuadiRC –