FatherReader and KidReader here...
I’m not “KidReader” anymore. It’s TeenReader now.
I said, I’m TeenReader.
Yeah, I heard you, I just... oh, never mind. Anyway, we both just read Barry Lyga’s new book, Wolverine: Worst Day Ever, and thought we’d offer up a joint review. Pam’s idea was that
Just get on with it, Dad.
Oh, all right. Anyway, we’re both coming at it from different perspectives. I grew up with the Wolverine comics of the ’80s. So I’ve got a lot of preconceptions, based mostly on the Chris Claremont version of the character. (And to a lesser degree, the Bryan Singer/Hugh Jackman movie version.) So one of my concerns going in was whether this book would reinforce my own thoughts about the character or contradict them. Like a lot of comic readers, I like to pick and choose my own favorite tales and ignore those I don’t especially care for. For example, I’m a big fan of the Wolverine and Kitty Pryde and Wolverine miniseries, but never really cared for the Origin storyline. And though the book does have lots of little nods to X-Men continuity by not focusing too intently on Wolverine himself, the book allows the reader to apply his or her own interpretation.
Man, Mom warned me you were wordy. For me, I really only know the character from the movies. But I think the book explained things well enough for me to follow along. We learn what we have to about his history and some of that is important to the story but we don’t need every little detail. Which is good, since we don’t really care about it all.
So what did you think of the style of the book?
I think it was mostly geared toward kids from nine to twelve, but I still think there was a lot in there for me to enjoy.
But you’re just
Nope. TeenReader, remember?
Oh, yeah, I keep forgetting. So what did you think about Wolverine not being the main character in the story?
Well, I don’t think a lot of teen girls are going to be all that upset about not having enough Wolverine. (That’s more of a teen boy thing.) But I like how the main character is a kid in Professor Xavier’s school instead, since it gives us a perspective on how other people see Wolverine. It’s also good because we have plenty of other characters we can focus on without feeling overloaded.
I’ve always thought that was one of the problems with the X-Men it can be tough to follow so many characters at once. But this book focuses on the main character, Eric, and lets the other characters really support his story. What do you think about how the book handled the regular X-Men characters?
I like how they were teachers instead of big heroes. In the movies, we only see bits of them acting as teachers, but here, we see that it’s pretty much a full-time job. Professor X is the principal, and Storm can’t take an eraser to the head.
So speaking as a kid
Speaking as a teen, and without giving too much away about his particular situation, did you feel that you could empathize with Eric’s plight?
Well, I’m not a loser like he is.
Um... okay. (Sorry, I just had a horrible flashback to my own high school years.) But did you feel like you could identify with his situation?
Well, the blog format helped. It gave a real reason for him to share his opinions, and spaced out events well. It seemed better than just a straight novel or a regular “diary.” And it did make it feel a little more current.
So blogs aren’t just for old people?
No. Well, not yet. Approaching that, maybe.
So again, without giving too much away do you think Eric’s superpower reflected his own insecurities? If we look at the X-Men stories as a metaphor for teen isolation, does Worst Day Ever express that well?
So exactly how am I supposed to answer that without giving away his superpower?
Do your best.
And really, “teen isolation”?
Work with me.
So you’re saying that the X-Men’s powers are supposed to be a metaphor for teens feeling like nobody understands what they’re going through? That their abilities are a reflection of their own personal issues?
That’s the basic idea. You can extend the metaphor to other contemporary issues, like Bryan Singer did with the movies, where he used mutant powers as an analogy for
Yeah, I get it. Looking at it that way, yeah, the book does a good job of doing that.
Any final thoughts?
Can I say something about Wolverine singing?
Sure. So why was that significant?
It wasn’t. It was just funny.
Funny because of Hugh Jackman’s history as a
Don’t overexplain it, Dad.
MotherReader here to let you know that Barry Lyga will be signing Wolverine: Worst Day Ever at Book Expo America this Saturday at 2:00. Also, he’s given a copy as a prize for the 48 Hour Book Challenge!
I’ll miss his signing time, because I’ll be going to the Book Bloggers discussion, but I’ll make sure to see him at BEA because he’s awesome. I actually have my own signing time at a bloggers’ booth 4077 on Sunday at 11:00. I’m not sure that anyone will come by to meet MotherReader or talk about KidLitosphere Central, but fortunately I’m sharing the time with other kidlitter Sheila Ruth from Wands and Worlds and the Cybils, so we’ll have fun catching up. We'd love for some folks to visit, so stop by and say hello.