Friday 19 April 2013

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis (Walker Books)
HB RRP $ 17.95
ISBN 9781406339802
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Timmy is CEO of detective agency Failure Inc. which he runs with his polar bear partner Total, and by secretly using his mother’s Segway that he calls the Failuremobile.

Timmy has an over-active imagination and is obsessed with greatness and achieving success in order to alleviate his mother’s constant worry about money. In truth, he is totally clueless and gets everything wrong, even if he is always off following clues for some case or another. But his quirky character and activities keep the laughs coming.

Besides Timmy, there are other secondary characters just as quirky. Rollo is determined to go to ‘Stanfurd’ therefore studies constantly, with the help of Evil in Disguise whose name Timmy never mentions. She becomes his rival in the detective business. Then there is Timmy’s persistent admirer Molly Moskins, who is determined to smother Timmy with affection at every opportunity.

There are two ways to view Timmy. He is the eternal optimist; a boy who believes he is ‘a genius unrecognized’ whose self-delusion leads to extraordinary situations and conversations that are unbelievably ridiculous, but sharp and entertaining.

The other way is to view him as a detached child who lives in the imaginary world he has created, who also has vulnerable moments. These make him real in an unreal environment.

Whichever way Timmy is viewed, it all leads to an entertaining read about bizarre characters that do bizarre things. My ten year old reader didn’t stop laughing until he closed the back cover. (A true indication of a successful book)

Stephan Pastis’ imaginative and first book in the Timmy series follows his highly successful comic strip, Pearls Before Swine. Young readers will experience a twisted delight in reading this, and without doubt incessantly quote its creative and clever narrative.

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