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Book Review of Adorables and Deplorables

John Carroll Long says he wants to bring poetry to the masses. His offerings in Adorables and Deplorables succeed in doing just that. No veil of hidden imagery; no word salads. His poems poke fun at some touchy subjects: racism, religion, sexism, ageism, and more.

The author has created fifty plus characters, dressed them in t-shirts, and given each a message or commentary on life. Set within the frame of these t-shirts, the artist/poet gives the reader a smorgasbord of philosophy, humor, and cynicism: “There’s a perfect place to live for everyone. If you’re rich live in New York City. If you’re paranoid, live in Russia. If you’re fashionable, live in Paris. And if you have a bad haircut, live in North Korea.”

His art reflects Picasso and Salvador Dali. Disney’s Mickey Mouse pops up in various disguises. There’s Mickey without make-up and Mickey woven into a Venetian blind. Some images bring to life the artist’s “take” on the politics of our times. Yes, the Donald appears, too. From “Politics-Me-Off!”: “Politicians think they are thinking, When they’re actually organizing their dumbness. Unfortunately, the University of Stupid has a very large alumnus.”

With smatterings of subtle eroticism and laugh-out-loud humor, stick figures, wire hanger people, Dalmatians, and kangaroos all comment on the human condition. None does it better than Smuggy the Clown. In the true Pagliacci tradition, “Smuggy hides his pain behind half a frown…He still wears a tuxedo jacket that comes across as smuggy. And after so many years, it fits him rather snuggy. From caviar to pizza, and a very few hairs to coif. That’s why all of his buttons have chosen to pop off.”

“Politics-Me-Off!”, “udderly”, ”kangamoo” are three examples of made-up words that John’s sixth-grade teacher would have commented on over 50 years ago when she sent home a note saying “John’s grades would improve only….” see back cover for complete reprimand.

Is it a thick comic book? A social commentary? A compilation of satire, humor, and art? For you to decide.

Written By: Kay Kehoe Kent