THE SNARKOUT BOYS AND THE AVOCADO OF DEATH by Daniel Pinkwater

THE SNARKOUT BOYS AND THE AVOCADO OF DEATH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The title is indicative of the silliness quotient of Pinkwater's latest exercise in outlandish adventure. The snarkers of the title are narrator Walter Gait and his friend Winston Bongo, two ninth graders who sneak out at night and take the Snark Street bus to the Snark movie theater where they watch all-night reruns. There they meet Rat, a girl their age who indulges in the same practice and also calls it snarking, and through Rat her mad-scientist uncle Flipping Hades Terwilliger, an avocado freak like Walt's father. Pinkwater coasts for a while, wheeling us past a stream of eccentric people and places, then initiates a preposterous search when Flipping Hades Terwilliger disappears. It seems he does this frequently, but the family worries because he's been pursued through the years by archfiend and international criminal Wallace Nussbaum. It turns out that extra-terrestrial thought forms have taken over the minds and bodies of all earth's realtors; but Uncle Flipping has developed a vegputer, called an Alligatron but really a giant avocado, which uses the fruit's natural electrical emanations to repel the invaders. A detective with painted-on hair and sideburns, his sidekick in a mop wig, a wrestler named Mr. Gorilla (Winston's uncle), two kidnapped orangutans, and, performing briefly, the Chicken Man from Lizard Music all figure in the rescue of Uncle Flipping--but the Chicken Man's intriguing mystery and wisdom are absent here. And despite a sardonic characterization of the boys' high school, some spoofing of classic detection fiction, and the important revelation about realtors, this is mainly random silliness without the inspired absurdity of Lizard Music and Alan Mendelsohn or even the buildups and comic eruptions of Yobgorble and The Worms of Kukumlima. It's more on the order of bus reading for a snarkout.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1982
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard