Review - Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): My Blue Heaven by Frank Sinatra.

It's somewhat rare when a book genuinely startles you in its execution. It's like taking a bite into an apple and realizing it's an onion (tried it once. Really fun experiment). It's not bad in any way (repeat with me- onions are not bad), it just surprises you, and pleasantly so. That is what Zorgamazoo is like.

Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston
Published: October 16, 2008
Pages: 288
Current Amazon Rank: # 170,379

First Line:

Here is a story that is stranger than strange.
Before we begin you may want to arrange:

a blanket,
a cushion,
a comfortable seat,
and maybe some cocoa and something to eat.

I'll warn you of course, before we commence,
my story is eerie and full of suspense,
brimming with danger and narrow escapes,
and creatures of many remarkable shapes.
Dragons and orgres and gorgons and more,
and creatures you've not even heard of before.
And faraway places? There's plenty of those!
(And menacing villains to tingle your toes).

So ready your mettle and steady your heart.
It's time for my story's mysterious start...

My Take: Zorgamazoo is... weird. But a good weird. I mean, just look at the title. That alone gives you some indication of what's inside. And it might even give the smallest hint of what you might already know. This book is written entirely in verse. You heard me right. This entire book rhymes. And it makes sense. If that isn't reason enough to check it out, this book is downright fun.

The rhymes are clever and only sometimes seemed forced. The only time it was truly jarring was when the characters spoke in rhyme (and some of the characters had a hard time making themselves distinct for this very reason, I believe). I have read from other reviews that you may need to take breaks between readings. It wasn't a problem for me, but it does take a fair amount of concentration. No drifting off or skimming here. There are some big words that would challenge even the most verbose reader. And the typography! Typography (the art and technique of composing type) is HUGE in writing, but is very seldom glanced on. Not here. Here you really get to see what typography can do and just how it can impact a story. Two examples:

I smiled through reading this. The story itself is straightforward: Morty, a distinctly non-adventuring (and sports loving) Zorgle, must find out what has happened to all the Zorgles in Zorgamazoo while Katrina Katrell runs away from her caretaker to keep from being lobotomized because she is too inquisitive. And of course their paths soon intertwine... The circumstances are outlandish, but serve the medium well. The story coupled with the rhyme is what makes it enjoyable to read. The characters are unique and complex enough to be engaging so that they didn't seem flat (though I didn't care much for one side-kick character). You can tell Robert Weston worked to make it shine. It's like combining Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss in the best way possible. The themes aren't overly complex or deep, but that isn't what the book is supposed to be. It's just light, good fun.

The Final Word: Dr. Suess and Roald Dahl in novel form. A light fun romp that sparks the imagination and a love of words again.

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Unknown said...

I love your reviews! It's so brilliant how you seek out strange and different books.

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I need to pick this one up-it looks too much fun!

Heather Zundel said...

Beth - Thanks! I try and save the world, and books, at the same time. It's a fun adventure.

GreenBeanTeenQueen - It really is. It makes you smile at more than one part.