Sunday, April 27, 2014

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephen Pastis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
294 pages

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephen Pastis is the hilarious story of a young detective attempting to solve crimes while facing his so called arch nemesis, sneaking behind his mother's back, pandering to his polar bear partner, and avoiding retention at school. Timmy Failure opens with the funniest line ever: "It's harder to drive a polar bear into somebody's living room than you think." From there on Timmy Failure never ceases to make the reader smile with his over-the-top confidence, his lack of awareness and single-minded determination to defame the character of his competition, Corrina Corrina aka the "Weevil Bun."

 Timmy Failure explains that his last name was once Fayleure, but it was changed to Failure. He insists that he is not a failure--in fact he's the best detective in town or "perhaps the nation." He is the founder and CEO of his own detective company, Failure Inc. Despite his office being in his mother's closet and the fact that he hasn't correctly solved any of his cases (though he believes he did), Timmy knows he's going to have a multi-billion dollar detective corporation one day. Timmy's blind confidence rubs off on the reader even though his first case involving stolen candy is botched in a matter of seconds when Timmy concludes that the obvious culprit has an alibi. Timmy writes short detective notes that will make you laugh out loud and shake your head, such as "Work of Monkeys?" and "TP...Tiny People?" when he's called to investigate a home that was trashed with toilet paper.

The best part about Timmy Failure is his commitment to his company and his business partner Total, a lazy and understandably not very cooperative polar bear. Timmy faces severe punishment when he loses his mother's beloved Segway, yet he comes up with a plan to get it back before his mother finds out it is missing. His initial plan involves his academically gifted best friend Rollo Tookus, but after Rollo spends the night inside a bank safe Timmy moves on to another haphazard scheme. He recruits Molly Maskins, a tangerine smelling classmate, to put on a fake play where the Segway is supposed to be a part of the show. Molly becomes a nuisance when she takes advantage of Timmy's distress by making incessant romantic overtures. When Timmy's mother finds out that the play is fraudulent and that Timmy is failing in school, she shuts down his company and forces his to stay home and do his school work instead of doing what he loves. Timmy also loses his business partner when Total is suddenly shipped to the local zoo.

The ensuing events include Timmy confiscating Corrina Corrina's journal to collect "evidence" to prove that she's stolen his mom's Segway, a botched attempt to free Total from the zoo, and Timmy driving a car into his teacher's living room. Everything appears to be a disaster, but Timmy ends up getting his company and his polar bear back and improving his grades at school. By the end of the novel Timmy solves all his cases by alleging that Molly Maskins was responsible for the crimes. Timmy's logic makes perfect sense if you understand the workings of his unique, oddly brilliant mind. The first Timmy Failure novel is a pure comical delight and the best children's book released in years.