2 Aug

I stumbled over this unusual YA book as I was sifting through book-blogs. As soon as I read the reviews, I knew I just had to get to know 14 year-old Walter Galt and his close- knit friends. I knew I had to be a part of their autonomy and their night shenanigans. These boys had sneaking-out-of-the-house-late-at-night (snarking-out) down to a science.

So, armed with the name of the book and it’s author, I went in search of The Snarkout Boys, only to be disappointed when I found it at a hefty price. Undeterred though, and after several queries, I tracked a hardbound used copy published in March 1982 by William Morrow & Co. Apparently, this is a somewhat sought-after tome that has, over the years, developed a bohemian following (by adults). But there was a snag. The copy I found was a library copy. I didn’t want a library book. I kept searching. I was just about to give up and buy the library book (for a price that stuck in my craw) when I got an email from one of my feelers. “We found a copy of the book you are looking for.” it said.  It seems they found a good used copy (at a very reasonable price) in a stack of other back-water books, just gathering dust. The email went on to say, ‘it’s an old library book, and it has the coveted “Leonard Prize for Literature” gold sticker still on it! “Do you still want it?”

And so it was that I bought the gold sticker, and met Walter Galt and Winston Bongo, who introduced me to Bentley Saunders Harrison Matthews, a.k.a. Rat.

I gotta tell ya, this book gave me some major deja vu feelings. Oh, I’m not sayin’ I ever snuck out in the dead of night after my parents were asleep to meet up with some friends so we could catch the midnight show downtown. And I’m certainly not sayin’ that we met some pretty strange (after-dark type) dudes who involved us in some pretty wild tomfooleries. Mercy no. I would never. But this book did conjure-up some walking-on-the-rails’ memories, for me.

 Daniel Pinkwater (1941- ) inserts himself into most of his books, pointing out the absurdity of reality which is why his writings are so true to life. So, go outside your comfort zone and walk on the edge. Remember what it was like to be a kid again.

 I laughed out loud in this one, and sometimes that’s just what we need.


This is an image of Pinkwater created by James Gurney  in 1999 at an author event in the basement of a library near where James lives. I love the quote that James included in the sketch: “I have an unerring instinct to avoid prosperity.”





    […] reads in secret. He writes (mostly) for ‘children’ or so I am led to believe. I recall reading The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, thinking then that a child wouldn’t have the mindset to understand the slight nuances. Maybe […]

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