The Monster In The Hollows, CSFF Blog Tour Day 2 – Or, Humor Makes It Fun

The CSFF Blog Tour for Andrew Peterson’s The Monster In The Hollows (Rabbit Room Press) is in full swing. Before I address today’s topic, let me mention a couple notable posts I’ve seen:

  • Nicole White wrote an excellent review of the first book in The Wingfeather Saga, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness — not just your quicky summary with an endorsement. She gives you a real flavor of the book.
  • One of CSFF’s newest members, Marzabeth, shares a note from Andrew Peterson to explain why she is a supporter of his writing.

You can see the entire list of participants and links to their posts at the end of my first article, The Monster In The Hollows, CSFF Blog Tour Day 1 – Or Grey Fangs And The Church.

One of the things that endears readers to Andrew Peterson’s books is his use of humor. Some bloggers have called The Windfeather Saga or The Monster In The Hollows in particular, light. I believe that’s an allusion to the humor which makes them fun and which tempers the very serious themes running through them.

The most obvious use of humor is what I call “boy humor” because, well, boys primarily enjoy these jokes, though men with the hearts of boys undoubtedly love them too. “Jokes” does not mean to suggest that The Wingfeather Saga is filled with knock-knock jokes or tales of chickens crossing various roads. Rather the characters themselves do or say things that are funny as part of how they live life and do what they do.

Perhaps the humor in On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness seemed more self-aware, what with the various footnotes and appendixes. Still, there were places where boys were being boys, enjoying the humor that boys share with each other. The Monster In The Hollows utilizes that type of humor too. Here’s an example:

[Oscar] spat, but instead of a nice, dense, seaworthy glob plopping into the sea, it was a spray of white spittle, some of which landed on Podo’s arm.

“Keep practicin’, old friend,” Podo said, wiping it off. “Make sure ye get the bubbles out before ye spit. And remember, it helps if ye snort. Improves the consistency. Watch.”

Podo reared back and snorted so long and loud that the whole crew took notice. They watched with admiration as Podo launched a dollop of spit that sailed an astonishing distance before splooshing into the waves. The Kimerans nodded and muttered their approval.

Podo wiped his mouth. “Sorry, lass. Ye have to seize the teachable moments, you know. Carry on.”

This kind of in-story humor combined with wonderful word inventiveness, much of which came to the forefront in the middle of the novel when the Igiby/Wingfeather children were becoming acquainted with the Guildling Hall and Institute for Hollish Learning — school (“Hollish” being the adjective used for all things related to the Hollows). Here’s a flavor:

When they had … settled [Leeli] in the puppy wing of the houndry, [Guildmadam] Olumphia Groundwich continued the tour with Janner and Kalmar. She showed them the juicery … Then they visited the rockwright class, the bookbindery (which Janner especially liked), the boatery, the cookery (which Kalmar especially liked), and the needlery, where one learned to make dresses and quilts (which both boys especially disliked).

“Your father loved to sail, or so I’ve heard,” Olumphia said. “I’d show you the sailery, but it’s held at the waterfront and is reserved for our oldest students.”

Later the children discover that part of their day will be spent in P. T. or “Pummelry Training. It’s where everybody’s racing and wrestling and punching.”

Later still when Janner and Kalmar join the Durgan Guild, they receive their first lesson in sneakery.

And then there is Oscar and the “indibnible honor” he had of meeting Bonifer, the once adviser to the king.

On the word play goes, each alteration not enough to disguise the meaning and just enough to make the word more interesting and noticeable. Eventually I found myself imitating wordsmithery and commented on someone’s site about bloggery or some similar thing. All that fun has a way of spilling out. 😀

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

4 Comments

  1. Wow! 🙂 Thanks for mentioning my post. I’m totally flattered. *blush* The books are so good in themselves that it’s not hard to write well of them. 😀

    I know what you mean about the humor. It’s not just boys and men with the hearts of boys that can enjoy said humor, but those girls out there who have a brother or two will understand it as well… and probably chuckle. I can’t tell you how many times I was reading through a passage, started to giggle, and my sister had to ask me what I thought was so funny. I would say, “Nothing… it’s just something Nathan (one of my brothers) would do.” So fun!

    Nichole

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  2. I loved all of the wordplay, and kinda missed the footnotes in the third volume for that reason. (Though I think they would have tampered with the spirit of that book too much overall.) I’ve particularly enjoyed the genius of Oskar’s awful quotes. And did you notice the nods (in the list of Janner’s ancestors) to Tolkien and Lewis?

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  3. Nichole, you’re right about girls and women enjoying the boy humor, too. I certainly did, not because I “get” spitting teachable moments, but I see men and boys in those things. It makes me smile.

    Rachel, I realized I was kind of glad Andrew didn’t include the footnotes in this one. In the first book, there came a point where I felt like it had been done and we’d enjoyed the humor of it, and it was losing some of it’s impact because it kept going. Then in the second book when there were far fewer footnotes, I thought the ones there were maybe a token to the humor of the first book, not humor in their own right.

    In this one, the word play seemed unique to this book, and I liked that. Yes, there was appropriate carryover because of the characters, but the footnotes were author created. I suspect, though, if Andrew had included them, I would have enjoyed them all the same.

    I did notice the nod to Tolkien and Lewis. Love it. I think he also gave a nod to J. K. Rowling. As they were riding to the school, Janner was a little disappointed because it wasn’t what he expected, though he didn’t know what he’d expected, exactly — certainly not a castle with turrets and hidden staircases. Is that Hogwarts or am I stretching things? 😕

    Becky

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  4. […] Peterson doodled this picture of Leeli in the midst of writing The Monster In The HollowsFun aside, important meanings aside, is The Monster In The Hollows (Rabbit Room Press) a book you […]

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