The Goofies are, like their name suggests, goofy. Their particular brand of goofiness involves constantly being in a hurry to do things. So, Mrs. Goofie rushes through her shopping and then forgets it in the supermarket, Mr. Goofie reads the same newspaper again and again and Little Goofy is in such a hurry to strike a goal that he nearly scores one against his own team!

The Goofies unexpectedly win a holiday when Little Goofie helps the Petersville football team win the championship. The question that bothers the whole world is: where will the Goofies go on a holiday? The Goofies themselves have no interest in the holiday, but are bombarded with so many questions that they finally book tickets on an impulse. The tickets they buy are for the Borg I which turns out to be a cruise ship to Africa. To make things more exciting, the ship carries a gang that plans to stage a grand diamond robbery. The Goofies, intent as usual on rushing through things, don’t really notice the strange goings-on on the ship, but the thieves are watching the Goofies closely. And they soon arrive at the conclusion that the Goofies are dangerous people who practice black magic. Meanwhile, Mr Alien, whose previous visit to Earth was ruined by the Goofies, is sent back on another trip, accompanied this time by Spacey, an enthusiastic young alien.  So, we have a triangle – with the aliens on one side, the thieves on another and the unconcerned Goofies on the third.

Reading this book was like watching a particularly exciting episode of some cartoon show. There is the same frenetic pace, the same thrill-a-minute excitement and the same slapstick situations. I kept thinking how well this would translate on to the little screen and how much children would enjoy the range of characters and the things they do. As a book though, it is fun but gets a little tiring. There is too much happening, and all of it, suddenly.

Also, I would have liked to know a little more about the Goofies. The narrative presents them as one-dimensional characters, whose only identifiable trait is their desire to hurry. I think the Goofies are essentially good people, capable of kindness and empathy. The story, however, creates no opportunities to examine these redeeming features in otherwise flat characters.

I also wondered why the author decided to create a very western background for her narration. At a time when most Indian books are rooted in the local and when Indian writers are celebrating our country and its people, I mulled over why the author chose to create a setting that was so obviously alien to Indian readers. This is not a serious failing and I am perhaps quibbling here. But I could not stop thinking of all the crazy things that could have happened to the Goofies had they been Indian. Maybe Seth could have the Goofies come to India next time?

By Nandini Nayar

Author: Amishi Seth
Illustrator: Abhimanyu Ghimiray
175 pages
Rs 199.00
ISBN: 978-0-143-33379-1
Puffin, 2015
Subject Category: Contemporary/Fiction
Age-group: 8+

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