Book Review: Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People


Book Review:

Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People by Douglas Coupland and Graham Roumieu


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis



Category: Humour

Author: Douglas Coupland

Illustrator: Graham Roumieu

Format: Paperback, 138 pages

Publisher: Random House of Canada

ISBN: 978-0-307-36067-0

Pub Date: November 6, 2012


Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People by Douglas Coupland and illustrated by Graham Roumieu is a book filled with seven audacious, illustrated short stories that will shock you by their creativity and absurdity.

As irreverent as these stories are and obviously part of the Literature of the Absurd tradition, which makes the comment that the human condition is essentially absurd, the stories are also dark, seeping with a black comedy that will either tickle your funny bone with its paradox or compel you to laugh nervously by the eerie style of its satire.

If you’re still uncertain about what I mean, the titles of the stories should somewhat reveal the dark humour that only Douglas Coupland is known to readily confront and exude in his work:

  1. Donald, the Incredibly Hostile Juice Box
  2. Sandra, the Truly Dreadful Babysitter
  3. Hans, the Weird Exchange Student
  4. Brandon, the Action Figure with Issues
  5. Cindy, the Terrible Role Model
  6. Kevin, the Hobo Minivan with Extremely Low Morals
  7. Mr. Fraser, the Undead Substitute Teacher

The stories like their accompanying illustrations are unafraid to unravel traditional convention, almost seemingly provoking and challenging its readers on.

Though the style of the book may not be for everyone, for to truly appreciate this work, one should be fully prepared for evil, irreverent characters, dark and antisocial, sensationalized comedy, and potentially cruel outcomes.

It’s a testy little book pumped with exactly what its title dictates: Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People (though I think Highly Inappropriate Tales would certainly suffice).

If you have a dark sense of humour and can appreciate the innovation and creativity of the grotesque, this charmingly dark and surprising, little book will pump blood right back (or out) of your gory veins…and make you smile…that sadistic smile…


Zara’s Rating


A special thanks to Random House of Canada for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an unpaid and honest review.


Have you read Douglas Coupland’s work before? Titles like “Generation X” and “Life Before God?”Of all his titles, which is your favourite work?

Do you enjoy reading books with dark humour or black comedy? Why or why not?



2 thoughts on “Book Review: Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People”

  1. Oh, how can I not come see what this post is about with a title like THAT!? Generation X has been on my to-read list for about 15 years! One day, one day… I have to admit that I really like black comedy – it does amuse me immensely. I’ll have to add this one to my to-read pile. lol

    1. The first book I read by Douglas Coupland was “Microserfs” and enjoyed that. He’s great. But this little book of short stories are quite a departure from his longer novels. If you like dark comedy, you’ll get a chuckle out of it. Hope you enjoy!

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