Not since the vibrating Harry Potter toy vibrator… er… BROOM have I seen anything quite as amusing. One of the highlights is that the REAL reviews are voted as being unhelpful, and the ‘joke’ reviews are rated as very helpful. There seems to be an attack on goodness and decency and Bil Keane on a number of books;
85 of 90 people found the following review helpful:
Happiness, November 11, 1999
Reviewer: A reader
There is a certain sadness one feels in remembering happy times: turning over the last page of a good novel, and reflecting over the wonders we have just experienced, the characters who have become our friends; discovering old pictures, seeing ourselves in the halcyon throes of youth, silly smiles on our innocent faces; the plangent last notes of a Chopin nocturne, the theme, growing softer and softer now, floating across the room to rest against our face like the rhythmic breaths of a peaceful, sleeping lover.
I don’t know how: but Keane captures this feeling, this happy sadness – “Oh heavy lightness,” as Shakespeare put it. Billy romps around the yard. He runs all over town. His parents are in love. His family is love with itself, each unto each. Can our lives ever be like this? Perhaps not, but we can watch, watch ever single day, and wrap ourself in that happy sadness. And maybe forget, if only for a little while, the way our lives really are, the way they have to be: our heavy lightness. Thanks, Bil Keane, for that, and thanks to Amazon for letting people express themselves. Thank you all.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Handbook for Hegemon, December 1, 2004
Reviewer: Red Bill (Columbus, Ohio, USA) – See all my reviews
In this age of global struggle for peace and sustainable modes of living for all, the unwary may well greet “What Does This Say?” with a smile or at least a brief nod of affirmation. One cannot help but come to this book primed with hope: Have progressives committed to achieving a just and equitable society by any means necessary finally found a popular author willing to challenge the oppressive cultural systems that perpetuate the hegemonic discourse of violence and ownership that brutalizes all of humanity? The title coyly suggests that Mr. Keane has indeed joined arms in our struggle by challenging the overbearing constructs of “author,” “reader” and even the fictive, pernicious notion of “book.” Clearly Mr. Keane is asking us to embark on a de-centered, collaborative relationship exploring the pressing question “What Does This Say?”
Yet it soon revealed that the title is itself the grimmest of jokes, the twenty-first century equivalent of “Arbeit Macht Frei.” Taking stock of Keane’s intellectual forebears, one can only conclude that he is most indebted to Joseph Goebbels, for what is this book if not the embodiment of “The Big Lie”? Posing as the avatar of innocence, the book is in fact a handbook for global domination. In the panels purporting to represent the circuitous routes of “children” on their way “home” we find so brazen a road map for imperialistic adventure that Cecil Rhodes, if he could, would blush. With panels depicting “grandpa” in “heaven” Keane takes the intellectual superstructure of global oppression to heights unseen since the dazzling, castrating cathedrals of medieval times. Opiate of the masses, indeed! Contrary to the claims of others insufficiently grounded in critical, revolutionary thinking, “Ida Know” and “Not Me” are in fact nothing more than representations of those false leaders who pretend to represent the interests of the people, but are in truth coopted by the very power system they pretend to assail and which uses these pawns to sow doubt and confusion in the minds of workers struggling to make a living in this poisonous system of radical redistribution of wealth from the people to the plutocrats (e.g., Ida Know why Big Pharma sold toxic chemicals as “medicine” that killed “grandpa,” but don’t worry, now he’s in “heaven.”) Yet what is most shocking is that Keane does this not to raise revolutionary consciousness but rather to dull the minds of the oppressed and in this regard his work is best analogized to alcohol. For those interested in pursuing this avenue further, I highly recommend “How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic” by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart.
As for Mr. Keane and his ilk, take heed. When the revolution comes, all that is solid will indeed melt in the air! In closing, I must stress that this review pertains only to the hardcover edition.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A taut psychological thriller, November 6, 2004
Reviewer: psychedelephant “psychedelephant” (Staten Island, NY United States) – See all my reviews
Billy and Dolly find crudely printed material in Arabic with photos of Osama Bin Laden hidden under the latest sketches on Bil’s drawing table, and begin to suspect the awful truth: their own father was the chief planner behind 9/11. A scary and timely work.
1 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
Very, very funny book, November 4, 2004
Reviewer: cognidata2 – See all my reviews
I absolutely love this book! It is so, so funny. I have loved the Family Circus all my life. This book is filled with funny moments as well as some touching moments involving everyone. I have developed quite a collection of Bill Keane’s “Family Circus” books, and this is another wonderful, funny book to read and laugh out loud about for years to come.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Endless Opportunities for Discovery, October 25, 2004
Reviewer: The Real “Ida Know” – See all my reviews
Bil Keane’s urgency in What Does This Say? may have much to do with the age of his children. He brackets his combative, inspiring manual with the news that the surviving members of his Family Circus brood are now in their seventies and eighties and none have time for the mediocre. (One doubts that they ever did.) Nor will he countenance such fashionable notions as the death of the author or abide “the vagaries of our current counter-Puritanism” let alone “ideological cheerleading.” Keane illuminates both the how and why of his title and points us in all the right directions: toward the Romantics because they “startle us out of our sleep-of-death into a more capacious sense of life”; toward Austen, James, Proust; toward Thomas Mann, Toni Morrison, and Cormac McCarthy; toward Cervantes and Shakespeare (but of course!), Ibsen and Oscar Wilde.
What Does This Say? In order to know, Keane advises us to reread, reread, reread, and do so aloud as often as possible. “As a boy of eight,” he tells us, “I would walk about chanting Housman’s and William Blake’s lyrics to myself, and I still do, less frequently yet with undiminished fervor.” And why should we engage in this apparently solitary activity? To increase our wit and imagination, our sense of intimacy–in short, our entire consciousness–and also to heal our pain. “Until you become yourself,” Keane avers, “what benefit can you be to others.” So much for reading as an escape from the self!
Still, many of this volume’s pleasures may indeed be selfish. The author is at his best when he is thinking aloud and anew, and his material offers him–and therefore us–endless opportunities for discovery. Keane cherishes one-panel comics because they are “a prophetic mode” and the entire Sunday section of comics for its wisdom. Intriguingly, he fears more for the fate of the latter: “The Sunday comics section requires more readers than a one-panel comic does, a statement so odd that it puzzles me, even as I agree with it.” We must, he adjures, crusade against its possible extinction and read the Sunday comics “in the coming years of the third millennium, as they were read in the eighteenth and nineteenth century: for aesthetic pleasure and for spiritual insight.”
Keane is never heavy, since his vision-quest contains a healthy love of irony–Jedediah Purdy, take note: “Strip irony away from reading, and it loses at once all discipline and all surprise.” Keane knows full well that a prophet should stop at nothing to get his belief and love across, and throughout What Does This Say? he is as unstinting as the visionary company of the family circus he so adores.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
Curious, May 22, 2004
Reviewer: Beau Zeaux (Uruguay) – See all my reviews
Keane’s stab at serial mystery fiction, his Inspector Siggurdson is a special detective for the Detroit Police Department with a secret: He doesn’t know how to read.
And from The Family Circus
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful:
America’s favorite perverted family, December 22, 2004
Reviewer: Floyd’s Garage “Punk Rocker” (Pembroke Pines, FL USA) – See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)
You’ll laugh out loud as Billy continues his efforts to sodomize Barfy. PJ looks on with whimscical amusemnt as Dolly ‘discovers’ herself. Dolly may have pudgy little legs, but that doesn’t stop the boy next door from noticing her. He really likes her ‘developing, ripening buds’.
But Thel is the main attraction. No MILF in the world can compare to her. With her razor blade haircut, she goes on a sex spree that Nina Hartly, Samantha Strong, and Wendy WHoppers couldn’t accomplish in a combined movie career. Poor daddy is bound and gagged and is forced to watch as Thel attempts a threesome to the third power. She is the hottest mommy in town and only Blondie Bumstead has a better body, but she’s such a prude.
You’ll also enjoy daddy as he finally decides he’s had enough and goes to the red-light district in search of cheap floozies. He discovers prices aren’t what they used to be, but he falls for a transvestite who calls himself Wilma. Little does he know that Wilma and Thel eventually hook up leaving daddy alone again with nothing to do but watch Dolly and the neighbor boy.
All in all, the Family Circus is good, clean, sexy fun.
Family Circus, Family Delight, August 8, 2004
Reviewer: A. Birkemeier (Peach Springs Az) – See all my reviews
Family Circus is the wonderfully kooky story of the modern family. It deals with the trials and tribulations of raising a Christian family in this modern era. Comedy arises through mishaps such as, misunderstanding words, church principles and of course cannibalism.
Also check out the Nietzsche Family Circus