Non-inspiration for the masses ‘You Can Be Anything!’

This is not a children’s book.

Again, for emphasis: This is NOT a children’s book. Despite its child-like writing and stick-people artwork, this, as stated in the introduction, “is a book about grown-ups, for grown-ups who have grown. This is not for your children, but may be suitable for delinquent young teens.”

You can be anything! From A to Z: An anti-inspirational guide to adulthood, by Sarah Montague is the truth no one wants to face, told with a cruel yet hilarious twist. It is written very much like a kids’ “you can be anything book”-but names everything that no one truly wants to become.

From Amy, who is adopted, to Zeke, who “works forty hours plus overtime at the zoo,” You can be anything! looks at reality with black-tinted lenses and more than a smattering of sarcasm.

Covering everything from drunks, to Born Again Christians to schizophrenics to “trekkies” to young republicans, Anything! is merciless. It covers all the stereotypical negative qualities of each, exposing their flaws to the world with the greatest flair possible for a not-for-children children’s book.

Precisely because of her painfully simple language, Montague’s humor is that more biting. A classic example:

“Micah is a Dungeons & Dragons Master. When you roll the dice he says things like ‘You are entering a dark corridor. You have a magic dagger and the charisma of 9.’ He’s never had a girlfriend.

Do you like playing games?”

By following this model, letter after letter, one can’t help but keep flipping through its short 53 pages, anxious for the next inevitable put-down. A masterful work in its simplicity and cruelty, Anything! is excellent reading anytime a pick-me-up is desperately needed.

April 12, 2002


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.