Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories
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Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories

4.7 39
by Tim Burton
     
 

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From breathtaking stop-action animation to bittersweet modern fairy tales, filmmaker Tim Burton has become known for his unique visual brilliance — witty and macabre at once. Now he gives birth to a cast of gruesomely sympathetic children — misunderstood outcasts who struggle to find love and belonging in their cruel, cruel worlds. His lovingly lurid

Overview

From breathtaking stop-action animation to bittersweet modern fairy tales, filmmaker Tim Burton has become known for his unique visual brilliance — witty and macabre at once. Now he gives birth to a cast of gruesomely sympathetic children — misunderstood outcasts who struggle to find love and belonging in their cruel, cruel worlds. His lovingly lurid illustrations evoke both the sweetness and the tragedy of these dark yet simple beings — hopeful, hapless heroes who appeal to the ugly outsider in all of us, and let us laugh at a world we have long left behind (mostly anyway).

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Tim Burton has always kept himself enough in the shadows of public scrutiny, avoiding the limelight like a bashful vampire, to remain a genuinely enigmatic figure in the world of entertainment. As the director and/or creator of some of the most unusually stylized films of the last decade or so -- "Edward Scissorhands," "Beetlejuice," and the original "Batman," to name a few -- he is the quintessential cult auteur. Now he's produced his first work of fiction. "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories", a collection of delectably macabre little tales in verse with accompanying drawings, is funny, sad, and as you would expect, more than a little bit twisted.

For the protagonists of these stories, Burton has spawned an array of fantastically misbegotten, partly human children, each one tragic and sweet, gruesome and heroic in his own way. Like Edward Scissorhands, who so gracefully and eerily embodied the tragedy of misunderstood youth, these poor little misfits appeal to the awkward, anxiety-ridden outsider in all of us. Take Voodoo Girl, for instance, whose plight is a sad one:

Her skin is white cloth, and she's all sewn apart and she has many colored pins sticking out of her heart. She has a beautiful set of hypno-disk eyes the ones that she uses to hypnotize guys.

The accompanying illustration is of a "Nightmare Before Christmas"-esque voodoo doll impaled all over by pins, with blazing eyes and red lipstick. It's both revolting and comical. And though as the story goes on, Voodoo Girl can woo all the boys she wants, the end has anunhappy and metaphor-laden twist:

But she knows she has a curse on her, a curse she cannot win. For if someone gets too close to her, the pins stick farther in.

There's also Roy, the Toxic Boy, mortally allergic to fresh air (his favorite toy is a can of aerosol spray); Mummy Boy (with his mummy dog), mistaken at a birthday party for a piñata; and a host of others. They could easily be Edward's mutant little brothers and sisters, and though they're horrible, they're also silly and sympathetic.

One of the great things about watching Burton's films is that they are so visually striking and atmospherically unusual that they give you the distinct sense that you're seeing things through the eyes of someone with a thoroughly unique perspective. He has a knack for re-creating the world as something that reflects whatever story he's telling. "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy" has a similar effect. It's a sparse, smallish black hardcover that looks disquietingly like someone's diary. This is somehow appropriate, because the delicate drawings and poems inside seem extremely personal. To open the book is to step into a strange fantasy land. It's very much the same experience as watching one of Burton's movies.

Like all of Burton's creations, these stories are wildly original; they're also pretty grotesque -- several of them enough so as to be truly unsettling (the climax of the title story is one of the most outrageous and hideous things ever to happen in a cartoon). It might take a rarefied (some would say warped) sense of humor to appreciate it, but this is brilliantly dark storytelling in a simple, uncluttered form. If you liked any of Tim Burton's movies, you'll like this book. It's guaranteed to make you smirk and cringe.--Olli Chanoff

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688156817
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/28/1997
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
107,049
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.25(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Stick Boy and Match Girl in Love

Stick Boy liked Match Girl,
He liked her a lot.
He liked her cute figure,
he thought she was hot.

But could a flame ever burn
for a match and a stick?
It did quite literally;
he burned up pretty quick.

Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy. Copyright © by Tim Burton. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Tim Burton is the creative genius behind Batman, Beetlejuice, Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, Mars Attacks!, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, and The Nightmare Before Christmas, among others. He began his career at Disney, where his first project was a six-minute tribute to Vincent Price. His second film, the twenty-seven-minute Frankenweenie, was deemed unsuitable for children and never released in theaters. He lives in New York and Los Angeles.

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Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have loved Tim Burton since I saw Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (first movie I saw in theaters) and now that I read this book I can tell he's more of a genious then I ever thought he was. The poem's are funny (Stick Boy and Match Girl in Love, Stain Boy's Special Christmas) and depressing (The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy, Roy, the Toxic Boy). I wouldn't say the book is a children's book (because of Anchor Baby and others) but I would say that you should at least be 12 to read this book. If you are a parent don't buy this book until you think your children should read it. But, it is pretty funny (Sue) because of the dramatic irony (The Reptile Room). I used to think Tim Burton was dead until I saw Big Fish and now, I just hope he writes a sequel to this book. A sort o' Oyster Boy comes back from the dead sorta thing. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us next! -Matt McGinnis
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tim Burton is a great legendary director,and now he has wrote this book that is so sad and funny it deserves to win an award.WARNING BOOK IS NOT FOR CHILDREN UNDER 13
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a tough critic. More for movies then for books. Tim Burton is my favriote director because of his dark vision for everything is simply outstanding. How can a vision Be dark? How can a dark vision be good? Read this and you will find out. Great Book. Loved it and proves that Tim Burton is still a visionary genius.
Guest More than 1 year ago
one of the best books i ever read, all of them are sad, but you have to look at them with a dark sense of humor. my favorite poem in the book was "the boy with nails in his eyes". this is surely on of the greatest literary works of our time
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tim Burton is with out a doubt one of the most amazing creative geniuses of our time, and this book proves it. It is touching, beautiful, and often times quite amusing. The poems will leave tears in your eyes, humor in your heart, and a smile on your face. The pictures add a wonderfully visual second dimension, and add insight to Tim. I have always been a HUGE Tim Burton fanatic, and this book did nothing but increase the enthusiasm towards him and his works. It is totally lovable- if you are considering, with out a doubt- buy it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AutumnWolf29 More than 1 year ago
I love anything Tim Burton including The Nightmare Before Christmas and Alice and Wonderland. I was excited to come across this in my local Bares and Noble. The poems are funny (StickBoy and Match Girl in Love) and very disturbing and sad (The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy). I find that as I was reading this, it referenced marriage problems and problems in the bedroom. I don't think I would recommend this book to a child under 13 or you will have to be answering a lot of question. This book is a nice hardback book with cute little illustrations in it. The book in stores cost me $19.99. Even though I enjoyed reading it and it was entertaining, I feel that it should have cost quiet a bit less.
Johnny7373 More than 1 year ago
I´ve just read some of the poems. I have especially liked Vodoo Girl. This is an Awesome book. I don´t really like poetry, but in this book Tim Burton offers poetry as a story. The thing I loved more was the AWESOME twists of the story... Impossible to guess.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nightmare_Lord More than 1 year ago
This is one of my most cherished books because it is very rare. It is amazing,funny,but not for kids there is lots of sexual stuff,but a great read.
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milesangus More than 1 year ago
All this talent in one body. Bravo for Tim Burton's witty, beautifully illustrated book.A keeper!
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Eat_The_Kids_First More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing collection of short stories for any fan of Tim Burton. New or old. Some are quite funny but also very serious at the same time. I like how each story can relate to anyone at some point in their life. Burton has an incredible mind and a very vivid imagination. This is quite an old collection of stories, written a little over a decade ago, but is a great start for anybody looking to get inside the mind of Tim Burton.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Belenka More than 1 year ago
Hi, everyone! I loved this book! But I can tell it's not a book for just everybody. I would not give it as a present to someone I don't know much and most definitely I would give it to someone special who at least like these kind of dark stories. I guess the one who wrote the review "You people must be mad!" DID NOT UNDERSTAND IT. But it's ok. We all who like Tim Burton and this kind of books forgive him. :) He he he. Thanks for reading my review!
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