The True Meaning of Smekday
By Adam Rex
This book is really funny satire for middle schoolers. It’s one of those books where if I wrote down all the funny parts here, I would write down most of the book!
Gratuity “Tip” Tucci has written the winning essay for a national writing contest: “Write an essay titled The True Meaning of Smekday. What is the Smekday holiday? How has it changed since the aliens left? You may use your own personal experiences form the alien invasion to make your points. Feel free to draw pictures or include photographs.” (The “photos” Gratuity took are Rex’s illustrations.)
Aliens called the Boov invade on Christmas Eve 2013, when Gratuity is 11. Earth is renamed “Smekland” in honor of Captain Smek, who “discovered” it. He decides the “Noble Savages of Earth” need their own land separate from the Boov, so all humans are relocated to Florida. Gratuity is left to witness the chaos of her neighbors’ deciding what to take to Florida. She decides to drive from Pennsylvania to Florida with her cat, Pig, to find her missing mom. (She practiced driving with cans nailed to her shoes.) She meets a Boov who calls himself J.Lo after crashing the car at a convenience store. He fixes her car–so now it’s a hovercar–and they decide to travel together to Florida. [End of Tip’s first draft]
Tip remembers going to “Happy Mouse Kingdom” with her mom, so they head there first. Along the way, J.Lo likes to draw, so he explains a lot about the aliens through drawings, which are Rex’s little comics. When they do get to Florida and get help from a group of lost boys hiding underneath “Happy Mouse Kingdom,” they realize all humans have been relocated again to Arizona. (The Boov like to wear oranges as shoes.) J.Lo also realizes he accidentally called another group of aliens, the Grog, to Earth–and the Grog will enslave humans, “use [some of them] as furniture,” and kill the rest. [End of Tip’s winning entry. The national committee wants to know more for their time capsule.]
So Tip and J.Lo head towards Arizona, and find a kooky group of people living in Roswell. There are a lot of jokes about “The United States of Arizona” complete with map, how inefficient bureaucracy is, and what really crashed in Roswell in 1947. I liked the joke about a pompous man Tip meets and how he “fought” the Gorg, involving him taking all the credit for the people who did in the end. (That character made me want to know more about speed-reading. If you can read Ulysses in “a day and a half,” do you remember what you read? Or is it just bragging rights and a certificate like the man in the story?)
Source: Public library Picture sources: BN.com