Funny Business

Funny Business

by Leonard S. Marcus (Editor), Various
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Funny Business 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
socraticparenting More than 1 year ago
Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy, compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus, surveys a dozen beloved authors of young adult literature, focusing on humor as a common theme: Judy Blume (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret), Beverly Cleary (Beezus and Ramona), Sharon Creech (Walk Two Moons), Christopher Paul Curtis (Bud, Not Buddy), Anne Fine (Alias Madame Doubtfire), Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Carl Hiaasen (Hoot), Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth), Dick King-Smith (Babe), Hilary McKay (Casson Family and Conroy Sisters books), Louis Sachar (Holes), and Jon Scieszka (The Stinky Cheese Man). Marcus’s own skill and wit as an interviewer and author shine through from his dedication to “Thing One and Thing Two” to his shortest chapter, which is nothing more than an amusing e-mail from Daniel Pinkwater declining to be interviewed. Each author comes alive through personal history and insights in his or her own voice. Photographs, manuscript pages, correspondence, and short passages from well-known books interspersed throughout the interviews add visual appeal and interest to the text. There are a handful of mildly profane responses—one from Hiaasen, one from Juster, and several from Scieszka. Overall, however, the content is appropriate for middle grade readers and will also appeal to anyone interested in writing, publishing, or simply understanding what it is that makes people laugh. Marcus explores the subtleties of humor with each author, discovering many underlying truths. Anne Fine tells Marcus, “The pain of being aware of what is going on around you is often what galvanizes a person to wit and humor.” She also notes that “in Shakespeare the jester is always the one who’s given license to say whatever he wishes.” All who love any one of these authors and everyone who appreciates quality young adult literature are sure to enjoy this thought-provoking compilation. Laurie A. Gray Reprinted from the Christian Library Journal (Vo. XIV, No. 5, October 2010); used with permission.