These Children Who Come at You With Knives, by Jim Knipfel
Posted October 27, 2010on:
I suspect you will either love or hate this book.
How’s that for a teaser?
If I had a quarter for every time I said I’ve been reading a lot of fairly dark and heavy stuff lately, I’d finally be able to get caught up on all the laundry. Last time I was at the library I decided to look for something a little lighter. Maybe even humorous. I’m not usually a fan of short stories, but I supposed I could make a concession, just this once. Thus I found These Children Who Come At You With Knives, by Jim Knipfel. A large handful of short stores, mostly with obnoxious and sometimes offensive names, prefaced by one of the funniest prologues I’ve ever read. Not unlike Southpark, Knipfel is an equal opportunity offender.
Like I said, you’ll either love Knipfel’s sense of humor, or hate it. You know all those fairly tales that have a happy ending, or a moral to the story, and gallant princes who slay evil dragons? The ones that make you feel good about the world? These are not those stories. These fairly tales aren’t so much fractured as they are train wrecks of disfunction. What happens when the princess couldn’t find any princes who were willing or able to slay the dragon (or in this case, troll) and has to settle for some podunk loser? What happens when the Pied Piper tells you what he really thinks of your town? What happens when a snowman magically comes to life and suffers from back pain and low self esteem? When you find out what happens, you’ll chuckle, and then maybe feel a little bad about chuckling at someone else’s misfortune. Knipfel’s sense of humor is very, very dark. Personally, I found the whole thing hilarious, and I plan to read it again before it goes back to the library.
Please don’t plonk down $16 for this book because some lunatic on the internet (that would be me) said that she liked it. If you laugh at things your friends don’t laugh at, if you think it more likely that Satan is actually the dude running the show, if you’re at peace with the fact that deep down, most people are hypocritical jerks, then maybe this is the book for you.
What separates us from the animals? We laugh at other people’s misfortunes. And sometimes feel bad about it. And then the next day, we do it again.
How’s that for a confusing review? Me saying I loved the book, but saying that you probably won’t? I suspect many of my readers are nice, kind people, who to read things that make them feel good, or at least satisfied with a good, climactic ending where good prevails over evil. These Children Who Come at you with Knives is none of those things. And I loved it.