Wednesday, July 06, 2016

I was a Child by Bruce Eric Kaplan

You might know Kaplan as a New Yorker cartoonist (collected in I Love You, I Hate You, I'm Hungry and elsewhere); or as a writer/producer  for classy TV shows (Seinfeld, Six Feet Under, Girls); as the author of quirky drawn books like Edmund and Rosemary Go to Hell; or even as an occasional creator of odd books for children including Monsters Eat Whiny Children. But what's important this time is covered by the title: Kaplan was once a child, and wants to tell you about it.

He wasn't abused, or otherwise had a horrific time; this isn't that kind of memoir. He also didn't enjoy being a child all that much; on the first page he writes:
I was a child, but I wasn't very good at it, I'm not sure why, I think a lot of us are born waiting to be adults. I know I was. I just sat there, waiting. This is that story.
Kaplan tells that story in snippets and anecdotes, punctuated by his drawings. It's a short book, and a scattershot one, the kind of memoir that seems to be made up of whatever the memoirist thought up on the days he designated for writing, only lightly edited, and then stuck between covers. Kaplan has an interestingly askew view of things, but that is the main appeal here: it's a pretty shallow book about a pretty typical early-Gen X childhood and that boy's media interests. Kaplan does have an appealing style and a skewed viewpoint, but that can only go so far: I was a Child is short and mostly obvious to anyone else of the same generation. If you were hoping to find out how Kaplan became who he is, you will end up disappointed: he seems to have been BEK from an early age.

No comments:

Post a Comment