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Book Review

Book Cover



Authors: Nik Perring and Caroline Smailes
The Friday Project
RRP: £6.99
ISBN: 978 0 00 744289 8
Available 12 April 2012

I suppose that there are many connotations which spring to mind when the word "freaks" is used, come complementary, some not so.

Freaks is a collection of very shorts stories written by Nik Perring and Caroline Smailes, illustrated by Darren Craske.

From the cover you could be forgiven for thinking that the stories and poems are universally amusing, which they are not, or that they specifically deal with super powers, in the same way that comic books do, again you would be wrong.

Freaks consists of fifty illustrated short stories, many a little over a page long, which deal with the notion that human behaviour can be viewed as a superpower. So, you have a poem about invisibility, which recounts a bullied girl's desire to remain so still that she will no longer be noticed by the girls who are picking on her. 'No Sudden Movements' looks at the ability to make one unseen by the naked eye, by having a small piece about a stalker/rapist.

There are some mildly amusing stories, but most deal with the less pleasant sides of human experience and emotion. At one hundred and thirty-three pages, this is a slim volume, when you consider about a quarter of the pages are filled with illustrations, in the end it only took about an hour to read.

It is difficult to know who the target audience is supposed to be. From the sexual references one would suppose an adult audience and indeed many of the situations will only make sense to someone with an adult’s experience of love, loss and the cruelty of the world.

There are occasional pieces which amuse, but generally the book concentrates on negative aspects of experience. Fans of the authors work will want to pick up a copy, for the average reader the content may come as a surprise, given the book's cover.


Charles Packer

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