The Freaky Darlings

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.”
Dr Seuss 1904 – 1991


This unassuming collection of poems is the door into a world of sweet and sour tales. Creator Jason Falk tells winsomely twisted stories about animals, boys and girls, creatures, kings and queens who don’t fit in. Their bodies are misshapen, their habits are odd, and their parents are appalled by them. But, they do try hard to be liked, like poor unwanted Glass Girl, who’s "made entirely of glass": she goes for a walk one day and gets asked to be in a museum installation. Some scientists show up and examine her physical makeup, trying to figure out how a little girl can be made of glass: "A wonderment, a miracle, scientists could not agree, It baffled and confused them to the highest degree." For all its simple humor, Freaky Darlings is a uniquely disturbing collection about the adventures that the characters endure. The themes and imagery are at a young-adult to adult level.

In the manner of the pictorial tales of Shel Silverstein and Edward Gorey, Falk’s creepy stories conjure up the fantastical, even the slightly demented: "Baron Bacon Von Poo" ("The beastly Baron, Baron Bacon Vonpoo, served most of his prey out of an old leather shoe. He cooked them up, to a steamy par boil, then sautéd them whole in vinegar and oil.") "Snozwad and Fleebag, ("Snozwad’s stomach moaned and growled, He clenched his teeth while Fleebag howled. Through his intestines and out through the but, the Fleebag climbed free from her precarious rut.") "Jello Boy" ("Jello boy wiggled, Jello Boy jiggled, Jello Boy wobbled and then fell down. His mother was watching with a sympathetic frown. Will my boy ever walk? Will he learn to run? What have we done? What have we created?")

A cast of misunderstood outcasts who struggle to find love and belonging in their cruel world. The lovingly lurid readings evoke both the sweetness and the tragedy of these dark yet simple beings – hopeful, hapless heroes who appeal to the ugly outsider in all of us, and let us laugh at a world.