I would have to say that the success of Gideon Defoe‘s Pirates book is against all odds. Just what the hell are these books, really?
Our friend Steve, who lent them to us, really couldn’t say. The books formed the basis of a fairly successful children’s movie this summer: Pirates! Band of Misfits! which was quite delightful and full of Aardmanisms. (Claymation lives!) So, we thought that we were going to get some good children’s books. Indeed, the Internet is full of people reading these things to their children.
And as we read through the first three, I thought, “What kind of parents read these books to their kids?” There’s quite a bit of adult humor in these books, the kind that might not go over children’s heads. Clearly, these are not children’s books.
Okay, so what are they? There’s some comparison to Monty Python floating around. I would say that the humor in the books is saucy (a good pirate word, I might add!) not avant-garde. The books are more silly than Python, less risque and inscrutable.
Near as I can tell, these are great books which combine the silliness and innocence of childhood humor with a dry and erudite wit. Now, who would have expected that to work? The unique flavor of the book, the utter individuality of what is on the page, indicates that the publishing industry is indeed willing to take risks on authors who don’t seem to fit the mold. As a reader, I appreciate that this is unique, fresh, and very much a series about itself.
So. I urge you to get out there, and read about the Pirate Captain and his crew. Each of the books is based around the adventures of these lads (with references to some tantalizing adventures we might never see, like The Pirates! In an Adventure with Pole Dancers), married with some interesting intellectual…thing (so far, we’ve had Charles Darwin, Ahab from Moby Dick, Karl Marx, and I’ve still got Napoleon and the Romantic Poets to go.) I will be sorry to see these books end, and I will eagerly await the next installment.
Enjoy the goofiness! Enjoy the smartness! Whatever you do, don’t be a humorless lubber and avoid picking them up.
Aaarrr, because that’s the proper way to close this review.