The Lovely Land of Love

The Lovely Land of Love
The Lovely Land of Love review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Sugar Buzz - 978-1-83827540-2
  • Release date: 2021
  • UPC: 9781838275402
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Alternative, Humour

This is an odd little book. At first glance, one could be forgiven for thinking it’s aimed squarely at young children, though the quick-witted may consider The Lovely Land of Love a bit too sugary a title even for such fare. Nowadays, with some books, it can be genuinely difficult to tell if someone’s yanking your chain or you’re just getting old. However, you’d be right to think there’s more to this slim volume than meets the eye.

Happlejack and Lalupin – species unknown – are two cutesy characters that undergo a series of adventures and incidents in this frankly bonkers book. Normally, a synopsis would be appropriate, but lactating Flottyflies, a Michael Biehn cupboard (yes, the Terminator actor) and the veiny, throbbing Egg of Felicity are just a few of the many things that defy description. There is a plot, of sorts, but one would struggle to relate it without sounding like copious quantities of drugs have been ingested. Goodness only knows how writer Ian Carney came up with this story, but one assumes he had lots of fun in the process.

The wonderfully named Woodrow Phoenix’s artwork is just as off-the-wall. He draws like an 11-year-old girl doodles, though he has strong graphic design sensibilities that incorporate elements as diverse as public service broadcasts, 1950’s cartoons and more modern influences like The Powerpuff Girls and My Little Pony.

This is a quick read, and quite possibly a one-joke idea. However, is there more to this than would appear to be the case on a first reading? It might, for instance, be a thinly disguised diatribe against the overarching economic consensus of the USA-led military industrial complex. Or something. If there is one overt target, it’s men. Again, this may be an attempt to be inclusive and representative (especially coming from two males) or it may be a savage satire of such contemporary tropes and concerns. Who knows?

What we can say with some certainty is that this silly little book is probably unlike anything else you’ve ever read. Sugary, subversive, funny and – it almost goes without saying – quite lovely. Just don’t buy it for any young children: you’ll traumatise them.

There is no listing on major bookseller sites, but pick up a copy here.