Saturday, October 09, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 248 (10/9) -- Me Write Book by Graham Roumieu

Seven or eight years ago, my brother gave me a book called In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot for a present -- an illustrated (in energetic, crude watercolors) memoir of Bigfoot, as if written by himself. It was rude, silly, random, and bizarre, and very funny. A year or two later, the man behind Bigfoot -- Graham Roumieu, a Toronto illustrator -- brought out a sequel to In Me Own Words, Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir. (And, I've just learned, in 2008 there was yet a third book, Bigfoot: I Not Dead, showing that if something can be done right once, contracts and funds will be forthcoming for it to be done repeatedly until everyone is sick of it.)

I stumbled across Me Write Book recently, and -- because I'd liked the first book so much -- I read it quickly. Sadly, in the way of so many sequels, it takes what was good from In Me Own Words and stretches that out to greater length and lesser effect. It's still funny, but only intermittently, and Roumieu's attempts to portray Bigfoot's violence humorously fall flat.

Roumieu doesn't try to impose a narrative on either of these two books; each page or spread has a separate thought or event -- Bigfoot remembering his days as a celebrity, or when he was bullied in high school by a squirrel, or describing his feelings on various issues, or attempting to seduce the imagined reader, or describing various unlikely things that happened to him -- and those don't come together in any coherent sequence. (In fact, some of the events will certainly contradict each other, particularly across the two books, if anyone put in a concerted effort to organize them all.) Bigfoot's voice is a constant -- grumpy, demanding, ungrammatical in a pseudo-Incredible-Hulk style, and faintly confused about the modern world.

If you want to read a book in which Bigfoot complains about his life, explains that he's nothing like Chewbacca, and recounts some unlikely stories about his adventures, you want In Me Own Words. If you've read that and want more, only then check out Me Write Book -- it's got some good stuff, but it's more uneven and not as original.

Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index

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