I first stumbled upon Emily the Strange many years ago in a local shop that carried Emily gear and apparel. I had no idea what it was about but it was all very appealing to me; the art that was imprinted all over this stuff was right in line with my sensibilities.
Except that there was an unusually large amount of red strewn across it all. And while I have nothing again red, such a vibrant colour simply doesn’t fit my own personal scheme.
Recently, a friend of mine was getting rid of a bunch of books and he had this Emily the Strange book up for grabs. I immediately snatched it up. I just had to. And it got bumped right up at the top of my list of things to read.
‘Emily the Strange’ is a short little book about a twisted little girl not too far removed from a modern Wednesday Addams: twisted, sarcastic and ill-fitting in ‘normal’ society.
There is no story or any real structure; the book consists of a series of slightly humourous vignettes that explain who Emily is and what she’s about, what her values and hobbies are.
My favourite moment is in the final few pages when we discover that Emily doesn’t change, irrespective of what calamity might befall the world around her. I related to that, to her clear definition of character, to her comfort in who she is.
The art is all black and white and red in a minimalist fashion on glossy pages. It’s a pleasing look that absolutely works for this material. One could say that it’s more style than substance, and that may be correct, but it will naturally connect with its intended audience.
‘Emily the Strange’ is an amusing, but unsubstantial and unessential book. It’s pure dark fluff of the cutesy bunny kind – cute zombie bunnies, I mean. Somehow, I don’t know how, it got its pointy little fangs in me good.