Snark Inc.

Book Review by Willard Manus

It's a rare children's book that thumbs its nose at American corporate life and attending consumerism. SNARK INC., written by Brian Gage and illustrated by Tom Ellsworth, is just such a rarity. Calling itself "a corporate fable," it tells the story of a young lad, Will, who grows up in Snark, USA, home base of the company that cranks out an all-purpose product that can be found in food, clothing, airplanes and boats. Everyone in town not only works for Snark but consumes it, dreams of it, craves it--all except Will, who decides to rebel against the system.

"I'll never work in that Snark factory, a life full of Snark just isn't for me," he decides. "I prefer freedom, and substance, and thrills. The Snark they all flaunt just gives me the chills--right up my spine, why yes, that's where it goes. To all things deemed Snark I just thumb my nose."

Poor Will tries to live without Snark, but eventually the lopsided battle against such an all-powerful enemy defeats him. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, he tells himself, and so he starts work at Snark Inc., where he is chained to a desk and becomes a well-paid cog in a machine. He marries Irene ("a big Snark V.P."), buys a Snark house, Snark blue chips and certificates--but despite all the surface success, still hates the person he's become.

Will ultimately risks everything to break free of Snark, but there's no escaping this multi-national octopus whose tentacles grip and squeeze people even in the grave. (Soft Skull Press, call 800-788-3l21 or visit