Friday, October 10, 2014

Flyboy Action Figure Comes With Gasmask by Jim Munroe

In some ways I felt like this book was aimed a little outside the demographic to which I belong. It would be a perfect book for a young man in his late teens/early twenties coming to terms with the blossoming emotional maturity suddenly complicating his raging hormones. Nevertheless I found it fairly enjoyable.

Our protagonist - the title Flyboy - is Ryan, a young man studying at U of T, who can turn into a fly at will. When he finally catches the eye of Cassandra, the waitress he's been crushing on, he finds out she can make things disappear. They decide to team up - both romantically and as a superhero duo.

It is a fun, silly premise, but the book does deal with some surprisingly heavy-hitting emotional issues. I was delighted that Ryan and Cassandra decided to put an anti-oppression spin on their world-saving efforts, calling themselves Superheroes for Social Justice and taking on cops, big business (including the Toronto Sun - called out by name!), and unjust laws. Cassandra is a queer feminist and Ryan is a hesitant but sincere ally - and yet the politics are not overdone or preachy. It is above all a book about being human, and being young, and just not knowing how the hell to deal with the world or with yourself and your overwhelming potential.

I found the characters to be honest portrayals of that young demographic - plugged in but detached, idealistic but self-involved - although their constant irony was a bit distracting.

Toronto wasn't a huge part of the novel but there were nice little touches, specific laundromats and libraries that folks might recognize.

Overall I enjoyed the novel - it struck a good balance between light and funny, and dark and angst-y. Sometimes the writing style got on my nerves but it seems like the author could eventually evolve beyond that. I think if you liked the Scott Pilgrim series you will probably like this.

Four CN Towers out of five.

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