Pardon Me, Your’e Stepping On My Eyeball–A Book Review By The Paperback Writer
Paul Zindel is best know for writing The Pigman trilogy, but he also wrote many other novels for young adults. I stumbled across this novel on the internet, and was intrigued by the beautifully unique artwork of two teenagers and a raccoon. I did more research into the zany book and had to buy it–first edition of course which is the very copy pictured.
The first thing I loved about this book is the era–it was published in 1976–and captured very poignantly and exactly how I imagined the seventies to be. Very out there, very creative and fun, and reads kind of like a Scooby Doo, Where Are You? episode. I absolutely adore books from the sixties and seventies, and read many YA books from that time period because the Otis Library was out of date.
There are three main characters; March Mellow, Edna Shinglebox, and Raccoon (his pet raccoon, of course). Marsh is a fifteen year old high school student who lives with his alcoholic mother, on the same street as a fortune teller. He is consumed by an obsession to rescue his father from in insane asylum, and when he befriends Edna he wants her to help him. Their relationship is unusual, it is an on and off friendship that becomes romantic towards the very end of the book. I can sense that they care for each other, but the book focuses more on Marsh and Edna’s dysfunctional families and their struggles as people.
Edna lives with her parents, her highly neurotic mother and her father who just wants his wife to stop nagging. Mrs. Shinglebox wants her daughter to have a boyfriend (very badly) so that she can get married and become a duplicate of her mother–a suburban housewife. I understood Edna’s frustration because her mother does not care at all for what her daughter wants her to do, and being a suburban housewife is not very flattering. It was funny to me that her parents were horror movie enthusiasts, because they were always off watching The Creature From The Black Lagoon or something to that effect.
The chapters are a fun and easy read, and alternate from Edna and Marsh. We learn about them separately and when they are together. Marsh suffers from some physiological issues, and Edna struggles but on a less dramatic level. At one point, she goes to see the fortune teller who has bad hygiene but helps her realize her romantic feelings about Marsh.
Without spoiling too much of the plot, the two solve Marsh’s troubles with his father, and become closer.
I highly recommend this book, as I do any of Paul Zindel’s novels. This was extremely fun, zany, heartfelt, and humorous. Vintage young adult books are the very best.