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The Snarkout Boys and The Avocado of Death

The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death - Daniel Pinkwater This book was written in the early '80s. The following are among the long list of giveaways:1) The word "retarded" appears twice on the same page.2) The narrator's science teacher is casually anti-Semitic.3) In order to find out what movies are playing, the characters need to use a newspaper.4) One of the movies they go to see is Song of the South, which as far as Disney is concerned ceased to exist around 1984.5) The main characters, young high school kids, all smoke.6) Inside of theaters and restaurants.7) There are Gypsies with wagons in New Jersey 8) When the word "hipster" is used, the characters are thinking of this:...as opposed to this:I first read this book in about fourth grade. It's weird because it is definitely written for that age group, but all the characters are high-schoolers. I don't think they do that in kid's books anymore. Anyway, it's very weird, which is no surprise if you have read any Daniel Pinkwater in the past (like this one). Basically, the premise of his books is that almost every single character is clearly absolutely insane. The main characters can be sort of normal, perhaps social outcasts like Winston Bongo and Walter, who "invent" the practice of snarking out, which is sneaking out of your house to see a movie at an all-night double-feature theater (oh yeah, that is another way you can tell this book was written in the early '80s). They are quickly embroiled in a conspiracy involving a kidnapped chimpanzee, a pro-wrestler, a missing scientist, a criminal mastermind, a man with a singing chicken, a looming alien invasion and a sentient computer made out of a giant avocado. At one point, perhaps shortly after a clandestine meeting in a sewer, the narrator has to remind himself that everyone he's met throughout the book is nuts.Another thing Daniel Pinkwater does really well is describe food in a way that makes you really want to reach inside the book to taste something. This is true of many of his books. For example here he talks about a midnight visit to a hobo bar where Walter has a nickel beer and a buttery baked potato that has stuck in my memory for over a decade. I mean, clearly Daniel Pinkwater is a man who knows how to enjoy a good meal:I'm still chasing the bowl of green chili he describes in Alan Mendelsohn, The Boy From Mars.(rating is reflective of nostalgia.)