The surgeon is to what as a satirist is to words? The answer is scalpel. The surgeon uses it to cut out disease and the satirist uses words to mock a social ill. Authors Alla Campanella and Ken Massey ridicule secrets and the extremes to which people hid them in their book, The Skeleton Code: A Satirical Guide to Secret Keeping (Morgan James Books, 2017, 205 pages).
The subtitle gives the reader some expectations. Few contemporary writers work the genre of satire and when they do, they used parable or vivid imagery for the social issue they wish to address and correct. Think of Orwell and totalitarianism in Animal Farm or Cervantes and idealism in Don Quixote. The touchstone for most readers might be Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. I have given these examples because satire has range, whether it is imaginative, as in Orwell and Cervantes, or abrasive wit, as in Swift. Wit is neither humor nor Snark; it is intellect and associated with a rapier.
The Skeleton Code is not as abrasive as Swift. I’m not sure who the intended audience is for this book. The concept is unique. The writing is intelligent, informed with literary and pop culture allusions. Most of the chapters offer summaries. Some of those secrets and behaviors are cringe- worthy, depressing, but unfortunately realistic. Use the scalpel to excess, the blade becomes dull, and the patient bleeds too much from trauma and has a harder time healing. The book spent a lot of time on the types of secrets and their costs. The best chapter was The Cure and I suspect that readers will find it the most rewarding. The Skeleton Code is best read either in small doses for the humor, or when you need moral cheerleader and a road map, which you get from The Cure chapter.
I received this book free from Pro Book Marketing. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.