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Wish Book

james hörner

f rom what i gather, Wish Book is the story of a young man trying every scheme in the book to survive the depression of the 1930s. as "a Catalogue of Stories," Wish Book is the narrator's successful attempt to hawk a piece of merchandise.

book cover this fast and funny book is the product of Derek McCormack, and features the drawings of Ian Phillips, like wacky illustrations from some demented catalogue.

there are a lot of parallels with the narrator's struggle to make do, and jobs of today, particularly with how McCormack so viciously satirizes the world of retail work. with sections like "The Showman", "The Singing Brakeman", "The Newshawk", "The Freak", "The Elf", and "The Fiend", to name a few, you know you are in for a treat.

Wish Book is a short compulsive read. it has the feel of a rapid-fire autobiography, capturing everything yet wasting no words. you immediately get a grasp for the narrator's perspective on the world, a mind-set based around trying to make a buck. here's him as a boy in the early part of the book:

Mom took me downtown. At the Salvation Army I picked out denim overalls grimed with oil. A blue pinstripe suit, lining ripped, cuffs frayed.
"What about moths?" Mom said.
"Moths won't come near me," I said.

besides learning a million ways to try and con people, Wish Book taught me i can't wait for McCormack's next book. as he says, in the guise of "The Junior Businessman":

You gotta move on. Another dream, another scheme. A Junior Businessman's never broke as long as he's rich in ideas.

published by gutter press
ISBN 1-896356-25-7

james hörner edits canadian content.

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