How Roland Rolls

January 15, 2018
Subheader: 

Rollin', rollin', rollin', RAWHIDE

Review: 

What on earth? What made Jim Carrey think he could write? He can't. I'll tell you that. His poetry is very cliche, and very forced sounding. The whole thing is in poetry. Also, although the artist has good technical ability, everything in this book is very trippy-looking. It looks like Wyland dropped some acid, painted these, and then put googly eyes all over everything.

The story just meanders. It doesn't go anywhere until the very end. There's a wave named Roland. Now, to begin with, personifying a wave is a really bold move. And it fails. He cannot handle having a wave as a main character, because there's just not enough understanding of what a wave is, and what they are physically capable of doing. Waves are difficult to understand to begin with, and this book is not helping. This wave is apparently intelligent and anthropomorphic and has friends that are other waves. A ship comes in between him and his friends, and he can't find his friends anymore and he's lonely. Then there's another wave that's like scary named Gnarly--it could possibly eat him somehow? It doesn't, though, it just wrecks somebody's boat (thankfully nobody dies). He meets a seagull, then he meets a girl wave (because waves also need genders, apparently) and of course her name is "Shimmer" and she's got earrings made of shells and eyelashes (that's how you can tell she's a girl: she has eyelashes and earrings). It's just ridiculous.

Roland and Shimmer learn that someday, they're going to crash into the coast... and die, I guess... "Then Roland was told that life ends in the sand/That the coast is a place that a wave can't go past,/Unless you're like Gnarly and even then you won't last!" Why even mention Gnarly there if he's not going to last either? I guess Gnarly is a tsunami or something. It shows him wrecking a house. So Roland and Shimmer crash on the beach, and then they get mixed together, and then they both realized that they're not really waves; they're the whole ocean. And every single bit piece of water is them. All of the pictures are trippy, but probably the trippiest picture is a girl (or woman, I don't know how old she is) crying, accompanied by the text, "And when you're sad, even your tears are Roland." Each of her tears has one of Roland's googly eyeballs in it.

This book is disturbing. Basically, there's a message tacked on to the end. It doesn't make any sense. It just says, "If you think you're just one little wave... you're just wrong/You're like Roland, and you'll always be rollin' along." What? What the- what? Is he trying to say that you can make a difference? Because Roland doesn't make a difference. I mean that's what that sounds like to me but maybe he's just saying that people never die? I don't even understand this. Is it some kind of like religious message? I'm just baffled. I really don't understand this. In the inner jacket, it says that it's important "that parents help their children feel worthwhile" and also "making them feel loved and worthy of our involvement." Nope, no context there.

So it ends up saying, you're not just a wave, you're the ocean. But you're not going to notice that until you die. I don't understand this book. I really don't. I've read a lot of books that are baffling just like this one; this is just a particularly egregious example of it, where the wording and the the vagueness of the wording make it obvious that the author is aiming for something deep and profound, but thinks that being vague and mysterious is good enough. It's not. If you're trying to get something deep and profound, you kind of have to talk about your message a little bit more explicitly than this.

He's just a bad writer. I mean, he may be a good actor, but he's not a good writer. Which really shows. And like I said, the artist made everything looks very shiny and computer-animated, except for the rare people, and there's just googly-looking eyeballs everywhere. This book is so bizarre.

This is such a badly-written book, it inspired me to create a new category. I can't call it "bad" because I've reserved that rating for terrible morals, so I've come up with the new rating "poor."

Message: 

You're a part of everything, but you won't realize it until after you're dead.

Author
Illustrator
Publication Year
  • 2013
Age Range
Age Range: 
4-8
Number of Pages
Number of Pages: 
56
Number of Words on Typical Page
Number of Words: 
15

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