Monday, September 1, 2014

Review - The Grumpy Guide to Life

The Grumpy Guide to Life
by Grumpy Cat
Date: 2014
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
Reading level: A
Book type: picture book
Pages: 112
Format: e-book
Source: library

In a world filled with inspirational know-it-alls and quotable blowhards, only one figure is indifferent enough to tell the cranky truth: Grumpy Cat. Following the success of her New York Times bestselling debut, everyone's favorite disgruntled feline is back with this demotivational guide to everyday life, love, friendship, and more. Featuring many new photos of Grumpy Cat's famous frown and packed with uninspiring observations, The Grumpy Guide to Life will help anyone get in touch with their inner grouch.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

If you're not familiar with Grumpy Cat, you must have been living under a rock for the last year or so.  She's popped up in many an Internet meme with her trademark scowling face and crabby observations.  In small doses, the schtick is funny.  After over a hundred pages of the same thing... it's not.  After a while, I stopped smiling and began to feel quite depressed.  The sentiments are downright misanthropic, very negative, and often mean-spirited.  It starts to wear on you after a while.
Added to that were numerous badly Photoshopped images of the cat that made me wonder if the book had been put together by a bunch of beginner graphic design students.  It wasn't that impressive, and it made the book seem like little more than an attempt to jump on the bandwagon and cash in on the popularity of this ugly little cat.

And maybe it's really overthinking things, but I feel distinctly uncomfortable with the whole Grumpy Cat phenomenon after reading this book.  The cat can't help how she looks.  She may be perfectly sweet and not at all grumpy (her real name, after all, is not Grumpy Cat, but Tardar Sauce), but the whole meme just endorses the idea that how we look is all we are... and that's an idea I think we should be moving away from, not reinforcing.

Okay, off the soapbox.  In short, this book stopped being funny after a few pages, and unless you like looking at badly Photoshopped snapshots of cats, your time is probably better spent elsewhere.

Quotable moment:

The tide is a great reminder that whatever you do doesn't really matter because it will just get washed away and forgotten.

Recommended to: cat-crazy people who are impervious to constant negativity

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 1.67 out of 5

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