Reviews

Frisco Freebooters

KELSEA O'CONNOR

We Are Pirates (HarperCollins) is a witty adventure through modern-day piracy, written by Daniel Handler (who is perhaps better known as Lemony Snicket). The story is told in alternating perspectives by Phil Needle, an increasingly unsuccessful radio executive, and his daughter Gwen, an increasingly bored teenager, as they both try to find happiness, or at least excitement, along San Francisco’s Embarcadero. While Phil waffles about pitching the next big radio show and sleeping with his secretary, Gwen and a band of misfits elect to become literal pirates, and damn the consequences. Like Handler’s other novels, We Are Pirates excellently portrays what it’s like to be a teenager in the face of indifferent and incompetent adults. I would have liked less of Phil, whose storyline feels interchangeable with that of any other unhappy middle-aged white man in literature, and more of Gwen, who is daring and unpredictable and a hundred times more interesting. But despite this imbalance, Handler deftly knits irony, humour and danger into a surprisingly adventurous read.

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KELSEA O'CONNOR

Kelsea O’Connor is contributing editor to Geist. She lives in New Westminster.


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