The quote “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something,” from William Goldman’s classic The Princess Bride could easily apply CARSON CLARE’S TRAIL GUIDE TO AVOIDING DEATH, a funny, heartfelt, and hilarious poem collection about how to deal with some of humanity’s most common problems. And while there are topics that apply to humanity in general– such as Nazis and the patriarchy–others appeal in more personal ways, such as the topics of bullies, body shamers and siblings. Created as a guide to make tweens and teens aware of what unpleasantness and annoyances await them in adulthood, Bruce III and Carson McCandless’ collection will nevertheless appeal to most reader’s inner child.
Each poem in the book mixes the real with the funny, providing younger readers with survival tips they can apply to real world situations. For older readers, some of the poems may prove a bit nostalgic, such as those about tater tots, grammar and the cafeteria, while other topics remain evergreen, such as prose about social media, selfies, and whether aliens are good-looking. For example, the authors tell the reader to deal with social media by “unplugging, already” and to stop making comparisons to others, which is good advise for people of any age. Tips for the ‘Mean Kids’ poem also applies to adults, as some people remain “mean kids” long past puberty: “Avoid selfish jerks. They might blow up. Or take your stuff.”
The authors emphasize making smart, rational decisions above all else, such as avoiding fanatics of all races and relaxing since stress is bad for health. Avoiding dangerous and just plain stupid situations is certainly key to steering the wheel of life or at least not getting killed. These authors have the right idea and share their knowledge in ways that don’t offend. It’s a collection for the ages and an ideal anytime pick-me-up, especially in uncertain times.
CARSON CLARE’S TRAIL GUIDE TO AVOIDING DEATH is a fun, extraordinarily witty, poetry-based guide to avoiding some of life’s biggest pitfalls, for young and old alike.
~Kent Page McGroarty for IndieReader