AUTHOR: Court Burback
PUBLISHER: Diversion Books
GENRE: Humor, Parody
A Coupla Shades of Taupe is the Spark-Notes version of Fifty Shades of Grey… on steroids and laughing gas. While Grey is the wealthy owner of a company that delivers food to the hungry, Taupe is the wealthy owner of a taxidermy company that immortalizes deceased pets. While Anastasia Steele pines over Grey’s perfectly sculpted face, Alexandria Aluminium fantasizes about picking jerky out of Taupe’s teeth. If you haven’t heard of Fifty Shades of Grey, you should know that it’s a closet fad made infamous for its explicit sexual content, including whips and bondage. If you don’t think that’s grounds for a riotous parody, stop reading here.
What makes a parody hard to pull off is that the writer is regurgitating a known story. Because of that, plot twists are moot and all originality must come from the writing itself. The reader must turn the page because the writing compels them to read on, not because they want to know how the story will progress. That being said, there are few writers who could pull off the farce that is A Coupla Shades of Taupe quite so eloquently.
Court Burback makes it very clear that her novel is parody for the sake of parody. The plot is one-dimensional and there isn’t a single redeeming character in the book. What redeems the book is the author, whose sarcastic, twisted sense of humor makes Tucker Max look like a goody-two-shoes and Austin Powers look like a sexy gentleman. Court has a handle on words, and she uses them like a stand-up comic. Her metaphors would get any English student promptly kicked out of class… with a begrudging A plus.
I read A Coupla Shades of Taupe before picking up Fifty Shades of Grey, but that didn’t keep me from laughing out loud. When I finally got around to reading Fifty Shades of Grey, memories of the parody had me chuckling when I wasn’t supposed to.
It goes without saying that the material in A Coupla Shades of Taupe is not appropriate for young adults. In fact, it’s not appropriate for adults, either. If raunchy comedy isn’t your style, don’t pick it up. But if you’re looking for an off-color laugh, A Coupla Shades of Taupe is an expertly executed parody, and it’s worth reading for the metaphors alone. Court Burback’s no-holds-barred humor will make you inge and laugh at the same time, whether or not you read Fifty Shades of Grey.
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