The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy

Okay…I had never heard of The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories before my lovely, artistic daughter recommended that I read it for Carl’s R.I.P.II Challenge. She didn’t tell me anything about it, but it IS a Tim Burton creation, so I expected it to be very creative and unique. I picked it up on Saturday, brought it home, and read it in one fell swoop. At first I was a little taken aback..it jarred me out of my own reality and hurled me elsewhere. But the more I read, or laughed, or was grossed out, or wondered…the more I realized again how much I like Tim Burton. He challenges me to think differently, to let go of my preconceived notions of things, to laugh, to look at the world from completely different angles, to not take myself so darn seriously!

This book is a collection of really weird and poignantly humorous stories (written in verse) which are filled with brilliantly bizarre characters, such as the Boy with Nails in his Eyes, Stain Boy, Roy the Toxic Boy, Junk Girl, Oyster Boy. Burton captures all of our melancholy emotions in these little stories. The book is a “brain-sticker” — I keep thinking about it, trying to figure out how Burton managed to evoke so much thought and emotion with such simple verse and drawings.

Oh yes…a little serendipity to add to my reading experience. I just discovered that Saturday was Tim Burton’s birthday… Happy birthday, Mr. Burton!

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20 thoughts on “The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy

  1. Chris

    Hehe, I love this book! I pull it down from the shelf every now and then and read it from cover to cover and it always puts a smile on my face (despite the grim subject matter). I love Burton’s dark sense of humor and his drawings go perfectly with these poems. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  2. Nymeth

    I’m glad you liked it! It’s such a wonderful book. I have a lot of fun reading it aloud – I love the way the language flows, its rhythm, the way it sounds.

    And like you said, the stories are very poignant, but also humorous and strangely uplifting.

    You used a picture of one of the PVC figures collections – I love those! I have some decorating my bookshelves.

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  3. Robin

    Hi Debi, as Chris says, the subject matter is grim, so I hesitate to call it delightful, but Burton’s dark humor was a lot of fun. I’d be interested in your response to it.

    Chris, it’s definitely one that I should have on my shelf so that I can pull it down and have it put a smile on my face at times, too. He’s brilliant, don’t you think.

    Nymeth, I fell in love with those PVC figures…and I’m thinking of getting some for Christmas presents, although I’ll have to get some for myself, too.

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  4. Heather (errantdreams)

    I have not seen or read much of Burton’s stuff, but your description of him hurling you elsewhere makes me think of Neil Gaiman. This sounds nifty!

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  5. Gentle Reader

    Wow, sounds very interesting. Might be something my son would like, too. I love things that really challenge my worldview…

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  6. Robin

    Gentle Reader, it’s pretty adult, so I would advise reading it first before introducing it to your son, and see what you think.

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  7. Booklogged

    Thanks for alerting me to this book. Sounds like something my daughter would love – a good Christmas present. She loves Tim Burton’s movies (as do I.) Then when she finishes reading it I can!

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  8. Robin

    Booklogged, I don’t know how old your daughter is, so if she’s fairly young, you might read it first. It’s a quirky little book.

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  9. Quixotic

    I absolutely love this book. So delightfully creepy and kooky, and completely Burton. I think this book is pretty much the sum of everything I love about Tim Burton – the feel of it is perfect.

    I love the PVC figures too – I have one of the sets. 🙂

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  10. Marina

    I’ve never heard of this one! It sounds like Gorey on steroids 😉 I’ll have to get it for my husband for Yule or some such holiday.

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  11. Robin

    Hi Marina, I like the analogy–“Gorey on steroids”! It’s a lot of fun to read…very unusual.

    Oh Bookfool…yes, our TBR lists are enormous and getting bigger every day!

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