Review: Stark Naked by Norton Juster

The Reviewer’s State of Mind: My dad had this book, back about 1970. It tracked his dry humor and ready wit. I just found the book, used, online and it makes me feel like he is in the room with me when I read it.

It was a silly little book, illustrated by a fellow named Arnold Roth.

Juster was a New York Architect who also authored the children’s math book “The Dot and The Line.” and a more famous children’s Book: “The Phantom Tollbooth”. I never read the later nor did I see the movie.

All I know is Roth was in the great tradition of cartoonists like Charles Addams, B. Kliban, Gahan Wilson and others, a hint of the macabre.

This was an entire book of names, each name being a play on words such as O. Diferous the garbageman and Walter Wall Rugs.

The book takes us through the town which each phony name more creative than the next.

Our little cartoon-figure cameraman is naked except for his camera as he walks through the mythical town of Emotional Heights encountering every fake name, such as Ellis Dee who is floating above the University, and Yetta Nother with her 12 kids.

The illustrations are a little bit melancholy, but add the perfect backdrop to the humor.

This book is the foundation for almost every fake name that followed in film and literature. It is an absolute classic and the first and best of its kind.

Go out there and find a used copy somewhere on the net.

Stark Naked, A Paranomastic Odyssey

Very Highly Recommended, An American Classic

Arnie Swa K. Molly Panse


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