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.
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 pgw.com)