Book Review: ‘The Tiny Wife’ by Andrew Kaufman

Tiny Wife

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Title: The Tiny Wife

Author: Andrew Kaufman and illustrated by Tom Percival

Publisher: The Friday Project

Publication date: 3rd January 2013

Pages: 80

Why did I choose to read this book? I loved the first one so much why I started bulk buying books written by Kaufman, plus it’s been a suitable length of time since I reviewed the last one ahmm a month.

Where to read this book? I seem to carry my life in my handbag add to that a gym bag, on occasion, and you’ve got a heavy burden. Therefore, The Tiny Wife weighing in at 80 pages is the perfect lightweight commuter companion for all you fellow people who have similar handbag or man-bag issues.

Refreshments: Commuting isn’t really conducive to food and drink, far too many things to juggle especially on the Northern line when you’re wedged between an armpit and someone’s rucksack/ bouffant hairstyle, so I would recommend at best a bottle of water and perhaps a cereal bar – my favorites are the Jordans range.

Review:

A robber charges into a bank with a loaded gun, but instead of taking any money he steals the most emotionally significant object currently in their possessions. Leaving the bank the purple chapeaud thief explains that he has taken 51% of their souls and now they must learn how to rejuvenate their souls, or die. Once he has made his escape, strange things start to happen to the victims. A lion tattoo comes to life, a husband turns into a snowman, a baby starts to shit money and Stacy Hinterland discovers that she’s shrinking a little each day only too aware that she will soon shrink away to nothing.

Told from the view point of Stacey’s husband this novella is my second foray into the unique mind of Mr Kaufman and his surreal reflections on life and society. This book will only take you at most a couple of hours to read but it’s creativity and frankly bizarre character plots, twists and turns will leave a lasting impression.

The story is focused on Stacey and her family. The item stolen from her is a calculator, this maths machine has factored into every important decision she has made in her life, from her marriage to the birth of their first child Jasper and without this she starts shrinking. The lesson I believe in her story is to not to reduce everything to probabilities and just let go and let happiness happen by chance. And her story culminates in a rather happy life lesson relating to growing-up and the very real need to retain a passion and love for life and for those around you.

The stories are swift and varied for each character within the self-titled Branch #117 support group; this was the name of the bank in which the thief stole their precious items. I enjoy this genre of writing and aspects of the story reminded me of French Noire, especially that of the author Jean Teulé and his novella ‘The Suicide Shop’. The references to the woman turning into candy and another whose husband turning into a snowman are really quite grisly in comparison to the man whose child starts shitting money which leaves us with the message that money doesn’t buy happiness.

Illustrated by the hugely talented Tom Percival the pages feature silhouettes of the thief, the victims and the manifestations of the hunt for their lost souls. These designs evoke a sense of puppets and puppet master with the characters each caught up in Kaufman’s twisted vaudevillian play.

Overall by combining both the whimsical and macabre my second Kaufman self-help book has left me with the underlying message to not take life for granted and with that duly noted I’m off on a tour of London’s best Gin venues – toodle pip.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 – I really hope these are made into films very soon preferably starring Johnny Depp (not to be obvious but he would be brilliant)

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