My rating 4/5
One word Hilarious
‘Genre’ who dun-nit/ comedy/ grown up nursery rhymes
Jack is our protagonist and he’s on a journey of discovery. He comes upon a farmer who warns him not to travel into the city but Jack ignores this advice and carries on… Upon reaching Toy City (formerly known as Toy Town) he soon realises that the entire city is entirely populated by toys, it is run down and something of a ghetto.
He ends up meeting a teddy, called Eddie, who is a private detective and he learns the incredibly rich ‘Preadolescent Poetic Personalities’* are slowly being killed off. Eddie’s partner Bill (Wee Willie Winkie) is missing so Eddie teams up with Jack to investigate these crimes. On each crime scene the killer has left his calling card, a hollow chocolate bunny.
*Preadolescent Poetic Personalities are the nursery rhyme characters; Humpty Dumpty, Old King Cole, Little Miss Muffet, Mother Goose and more.
This book is absolutely hilarious and the usage of nursery rhymes is genius. It is fairly dark and there are scenes of violence and gratuitous sex, but that is just part of it’s charm. It is nursery rhymes for adults, especially entertaining if you are a parent having to sing Humpty Dumpty thirty times a day – I’d start killing them all of too! If you’ve ever wondered what happened to all those nursery rhyme characters after they became rich well this is the book for you.
As to be expected of Robert Rankin it is random, surreal and unexpected, it’s full of puns and what could be considered oxymora. It is entertaining from start to finish and I could not recommend it more. What I love most is the silliness that fills the pages; ‘But doom is doom, no matter how you spell it. Unless, of course, you spell it differently from doom.’ The story, while random, is well thought out and constructed. The methods used to murder the characters are linked to their corresponding nursery rhyme. Perhaps they are being punished? – Out of jealousy for being successful, and being able to live off one little rhyme or for disgracing the rhymes for the way their lives have turned. Who knows? You’ll have to read it for yourself!
Toy City is dirty, run down, and crime-ridden. The people living there are hedonistic and living their lives full of sin, Eddie is an alcoholic teddy bear, there are fast car chases and toy fetishism – it is the opposite of chick-lit – and it won SFX magazine’s Best Book if the Year in 2003. This does not mean it is only for men, after all I really enjoyed it. (It also won an erotica novel contest held in Ohio, in 2007) It is, despite the title and character, definitely not one to buy for/read to your children.
To fit it into the detective who-dunnit category would be difficult as it does not follow all of the typical genre expectations, however, it is the easiest category to fit it into. Rankin is no Agatha Christie – nor is he trying to be. I am sure he had great fun writing this book, and I had great fun reading it.
However, I expect the more observant of you have noticed that I only gave it a 4. This is because at times the violence/sex seemed unnecessary and I felt it was more for shock value than plot depth. For example; in the first few pages Jack finds himself in a pit and has to escape from a farmer who wants to eat him, I don’t think this was needed, it would not be that detrimental to the plot if it was skipped all together, but it does give the reader a preview of what is to come and gives you chance to put it down if you’re not into that sort of thing.
DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOUR ;)
(Click on the picture for link to the amazon.co.uk page)