Today’s selection is “Happy Baby Words” by Roger Priddy.
I was optimistic about “Happy Baby Words” given Roger Priddy’s previous works including “Bright Baby Colors”, “Snowy Bear”, and “Funny Faces Dizzy Dragon”. It begins by instantly capturing your attention by proffering the following: “My face: Happy or sad? What kind of face should I make?” Though the same has been asked countless times in literature, none have done so this bluntly and often not immediately on page one. Regardless of the approach, the question nonetheless forces the reader to examine himself and others, their presentation to the world, and their existence therein.
Priddy then moves to the body, explaining that “I’ve got a lot of growing to do”. Whether Priddy is examining his own self-worth or the readers is open to interpretation; however it is clear that he is out rightly challenging Dostoyevsky’s principles of satisfying human need, which, unfortunate to the reader, parallel most other critics on this subject. There are also images of various body parts – hands, feet, noses, etc., which are a nuisance to the actual message attempting to be conveyed here. Perhaps Priddy wants to provide assistance to those who have trouble grasping his intention?
Unfortunately the book goes downhill from this point. There are ramblings about meal time, play time, bath time and so on; presenting a disjointed mess of a logical thought pattern. Photograhic images of each point presented persist throughout the entirety of the book, captured in a stongly utilitarian fashion, continuing an unnecessary distraction and further driving home the point of the need to provide a crutch to the bourgeois reader. The chapter on Dress Time was wholly unneeded – I am well aware of what a shirt and a pair of pants look like. I won’t give away the ending, but let’s just say if you don’t know what piece of furniture you sleep in each night, Priddy clears that up pretty swiftly.
Though his existentialist ideals are prevalent, Priddy’s approach here is tired and pedantic. No new ideas are presented and the style is formulaic and boring. Come on Roger, the same book has been written hundreds of times! I was looking forward to a fresh style and a thought provoking read, but those are clearly not found in “Happy Baby Words.”