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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Review: Mistakes Were Made

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made - Stephan Pastis

Mistakes Were Made is not the sort of book I'd normally pay much attention to. I'm not a huge fan of children's lit and this one looked a bit too juvenile for me (not that I'm not very childish at heart). I picked up this novel for one reason: Tom McCarthy, genius behind such movie gems as The Station AgentWin Win, and Up, is adapting the novel to film. McCarthy isn't a filmmaker who deals in adaptations, so I was intrigued with what this book was all about.

Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that McCarthy has taken on this project. It's quirky, which is right up McCarthy's alley, but it has a different tone than McCarthy's usual “quirky with heavy underlying dramatic weight.” But enough about a film that doesn't even exist yet.

This is a hilarious book. The humor is fresh and often unexpected—even though Timmy's lack of common sense is established early, the disconnect is so absurd and finely drawn that I laughed out loud every time he reached a conclusion. This is the kind of humor that can be understood by children and adults alike, but may at times be lost on some children.

The narrative was great and the plot worked fine for the style. I was very much engaged for the bulk of the story. At the point where the story begins to wrap, however, the plot sort of fizzled. The conclusion was very rushed and not all that entertaining. For a novel which spent so much time setting up the dynamics of the narrative and the setting, as well as introducing us to a myriad of wonderful characters, I guess there just wasn't enough room to build a satisfactory ending. Hopefully, now that the stage is set, the following books in the series provide a stronger story arc. (And, yes, I do plan on continuing this series.)

The Timmy Failure movie is schedule for release in 2020. I'm sure given McCarthy's handling, it'll be a fabulous movie—though one cannot forget (and maybe not forgive) The Cobbler.