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Monday Book Review: The Cheese Monkeys April 20, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Book Reviews.
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Chip Kidd is a multi-faceted graphic designer who has turned his talents from designing the art around a text into designing and writing the text itself. The Cheese Monkeys is Kidd’s first novel, and a spectacular one at that. As if worked in paints or pencils, the characters are vividly drawn, and love ’em or hate ’em, you know exactly what makes ’em tick.

The novel has been accurately described as a coming-of-age tale, as our protagonist, Happy, has left the nest for his first year of college to major in Art. He quickly learns how to deal with roommates, professors, friends and dive bars, while struggling with where and how he fits into this new life.

I found the novel to be unique, witty and thoroughly enjoyable until the last few events which while fitting for the disingenuous Cheese Monkey universe, were just a tad too outrageous for my taste. This was a fascinating glimpse into the kind of friendships I imagine the competitively “artsy” people in college might have had, each day trying to be more creative than the last, no matter how off-the-wall they might seem. The kind of insincere creativity that is outrageous just for the sake of being more “artistic” than the others, and ends up being more phony than anything else.

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