“Sometimes things are dead, but still move.”
In the fifth book of M.T. Anderson’s deliciously absurd Pals in Peril series, Lily Gefelty’s mother is worried. You see, she’s read all of Lily’s assigned reading for school, and she’s noticed an alarming trend: all of the mothers die. Since Lily has been in five books now, she’s worried that the same fate awaits her. So she does what any fretful mother would do, and accidentally goes on vacation in Todburg, NY, a town where the undead are chilling out forever, and when she comes back she doesn’t recognize Lily, can’t speak French anymore, and really wants to dish on some girl talk with Lily. What happened to her? Hilarious hijinks, etc.
As always, this book is a pretty perfect blend of playing with genre tropes, metafiction, absurdity, and rare moments of really lovely reflection on something important, in this case on the way in which we living dead folk take life for granted, and how important it is to be present in this precious thing we call life.
But enough of all that, here’s a really long passage that demonstrates why I love these books so much:
“‘Well,’ she said, ‘at least I’ll die of asphyxiation before I die of boredom.’
‘A little dull?’ said Jasper. ‘Then we can put on my radiophonic–‘
I’m sorry. Excuse me. Someone who just came in the room and read the last few paragraphs over my shoulder has informed me that ‘Mooch Couture clamdiggers’ are pants, not shoes, so Madigan should not be wearing them on her feet. If she wore them on her feet, they would be a very long, wrinkled, bedraggled kind of footwear.
I’m sorry. It has to be admitted, when it comes to fashion, I know absolutely nothing. So I need to back up a few lines and do a little substitution.
The guy who’s reading over my shoulder just suggested, ‘You know what you need to have her wearing? Some crushed-berry Manolo Blahnik flats,’ which I found very informative, so I followed it up by asking him other questions of interest, such as who he was, and what he was doing in my apartment.
‘Oh. Yeah,’ he explained, pointing at himself. ‘Robber. Robbing.’
I nodded. ‘I don’t know how much I’ve got for you. My stereo is pretty old. My computer is covered in microwave popcorn husks. I don’t keep any cash around the house.’
He snorted. ‘And we know there isn’t going to be anything worth taking in your clothes closet.’
For music, I always go with The Unicorns for these books so let’s do “Tuff Ghost.”