Yesterday a package of ARCs from Abrams arrived at my home, among them Tom Angleberger’s forthcoming Fake Mustache and, needing a light read before bed, I decided to give it a try. Next thing I knew a couple of hours had passed and I’d gulped down the whole delightful confection. It isn’t out till April so I hope this isn’t a dreadful tease, but I thought Origami Yoda fans as well as others looking for good and funny middle grade books might like to know what they have in store.
So wacky this is (as another beloved Angleberger character might say) in the best way which is no easy feat. For funny is incredibly hard to pull off; what has me guffawing can just as easily leave another reader cold and vice versa. As someone who too often has been left cold by silliness I was wary when I started this one, but within pages I was completely won over.
So where to begin with this over-the-top story? The beginning, I guess. The first section is narrated by seventh grader Lenny Flem, Jr who tells what happens when classmate-and-supposedly-best-friend Casper Bengue gets his hands (or rather his upper lip) on a very pricey fake mustache, the Heidleberg Handlebar #7 to be exact. Somehow Casper knows of the remarkable properties of this mustache and while I don’t want to give away too much I will say that they help him to begin taking over the world starting with state governor and moving on to president. And so Lenny along with a Hannah Montana-like television star called Jodie O’Rodeo (who narratives the second section of the book) alone have to save the day.
There are silly names (Casper and Lenny’s town is called Hairsprinkle), pitch-perfect-for-kids grossness (boogers play a significant role), and some lighthearted pop culture baiting (e.g. Jodie’s has-been status). There are wild and crazy chases and bad guys and much zaniness. One of my many favorite moments is when Casper in his new “I”m taking over the world” role changes Election Day to Monday so he can take over the US faster.
I will be eager to see what others think of this one, but for me it was a goofy froth of fun.