105 Ways to Give a Book

Guest Reviewer(s): Wolverine: Worst Day Ever

FatherReader and KidReader here...

I’m not “KidReader” anymore. It’s TeenReader now.

What?

I said, I’m TeenReader.

Wolverine: Worst Day EverYeah, 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 —

Teen.

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.

26 comments:

Kelly Fineman said...

This is brilliant. *clamors for more dialogue entries from FatherReader and TeenReader*

Melissa said...

Very, very clever. And fun. And makes me kind of want to read the book. (Even if I am one of those old blogger people.)

Wish I could be at BEA. Seems like all the cool people will be there. :)

jone said...

I loved the format! Great idea to have father/ daughter banter back and forth.
I am sorry to be missing the BEA and that you have a booth! Awesome!

KATE COOMBS said...

I wouldn't normally be jumping up and down to read this book, but your clever/funny review makes me want to check it out! (And come on, the suspense is killing me: how old are you, "Teen Reviewer"?)

Brimful Curiosities said...

You'll have to do another father/daughter post for Father's Day. I'm not really much of a Wolverine fan, but then again I've never tried reading anything Wolverine related. Thanks for the post!

Laurel said...

LOL! This was hilarious!

I have to say, as a diehard Wolverine fan from way back, I'm not too inclined to dabble with any of the new stuff (saw the movie this week, and it was okaaaay, but totally not in sync with the books). So reviews are unlikely to sell me anyway.

But I LOVE this fomrat! You guys should start your own regular blog, or maybe a weekly feature here!

xoLaurel
http://laurelsnyder.com

Mitali Perkins said...

You should do bunches of these reviews for the sake of fathers and daughters who want to keep reading together through the teen years. My favorite lines were the ones that ended with Dad. I felt like I was sitting around your dinner table and laughing with you. Plus, I'm with Kate -- you've got me wanting to read the book. I am going to link to this on twitter.

Cheryl said...

This is a great review! I love your tone, both of you, love the conversation back and forth. It was fun to read; thank you. :)

Robin Gaphni said...

Great job bantering back and forth TeenReader and FatherReader. You actually convinced me to try a Wolverine book, even though I typically stay far away from them. Keep it up!!

Christine M said...

Great review. I think this is a book my kidreader would like.

Barbara Bietz said...

Great job! I feel like I was watching The View! You guys should have a regular gig.

Thanks!

Lee Wind said...

Nice review - and I loved the parent/teen patter.
Nicely done!
Namaste,
Lee

sally apokedak said...

What a fun review! Thanks for taking the time to entertain us with it. I am so not an x-man fan but my son and daughter both are so now I feel I have to buy the book for them.

adrienne said...

Well, now *I* want to know Eric's superpower. I'm going to have to put this one higher on my to-read list.

sruth said...

Hilarious! I loved the review. MotherReader, I hate to say this, but maybe it's just time to pass the torch and turn your blog over to TeenReader.

Sheila Ruth said...

That last comment was me, Sheila Ruth. I forgot that I was logged into my other Google account, not my regular one.

susanwrites said...

I didn't have this book on my to be read list (not a comic fan) but now I do.

Mostly it was teen reader who swayed me.

Great format and I agree with the others - we need more of these in the future.

Vivian said...

Funny. Love TeenReader. We need to see more of her!

Jen Robinson said...

I really love the style of this post, the back-and-forth discussion between FatherReader and TeenReader (which has a much better ring to it than KidReader, by the way). I think that you both talked me into wanting to read this.

And, Pam, there's a blogger booth at BEA? So cool! I would totally stop by there to hang out with you and Sheila. Except for still being on Hawaii time and all...

MotherReader said...

Popping in to answer a few comments:

TeenReader turned thirteen a week ago. She wears it well, doesn't she?

She and Bill talked back and forth about the book, but I reassured her that she (and he) could edit the longer paragraphs to get the wording right.

I'm not turning over anything, sruth. ;^0
But I am going to encourage more guest reviews. ;^)

The Book Chook said...

I loved the dual review, both drawing me in to their perspective.

One day Pam, I will make it back to the USA, for BEA, and visit your booth.

Gregory K. said...

These two need to take their show on the road! I love seeing the back and forth. And you know what else? Now I wanna read the book. Good stuff, FamilyReader!

e said...

Yes - the TEEN reader ROCKS! :) e

Robin Brande said...

Loved this! Great teamwork, guys, and a great discussion.

Thanks for the laughs!

Saints and Spinners said...

Funny! Wolverine singing? I'm reminded of a now-classic scene from Justice League Unlimited where Batman has to do karoke in order to rescue someone.

a. fortis said...

Great post, guys. (Sorry...just getting caught up!) Loved the back-and-forth format. Though you know we're already fans of that kind of thing over at Finding Wonderland.