51 Fiendish Ways to Leave Your Lover
by Lisa Mannetti
illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne
Bad Moon Books (2010)
I firmly believe that you can't truly appreciate horror unless you have a healthy sense of humor. If a humorless person enjoys horror fiction, watch out. Some, however, have a more twisted sense of humor than most. And I think your funny bone should be a little bent if you're going to appreciate this book from Lisa Mannetti and Glenn Chadbourne.
Complemented by the macabre artwork of Glenn Chadbourne, 51 Fiendish Ways is a darkly comedic look at relationships--specifically the kinds of relationships that try your patience and test your resolve. If you've ever fantasized about ridding yourself of some dead weight or excess baggage, ever stared at that person beside you in bed while they sleep and imagine for half a second what it might be like to smother them with a pillow so they'll quit snoring--not that I speak of a personal nature--then this book could earn a chuckle or two from you.
In the run of a hundred plus pages, we're treated to fifty-one brief methods of closure from Lisa Mannetti on one page, with the neighboring page showing Chadbourne's unique interpretation of Lisa's words. His characters look like anthropomorphic scarecrows with bottomless eye sockets. And the characters that do have eyes seem all the more sinister. There are a couple of illustrations that even look like Cathy comic-strips possessed by the Devil.
There's a mischievous charm to the book, but even I have to admit to a couple of instances where I read a passage and gazed at the accompanying picture and thought: Wow, that is morbid.
I think this is the kind of book that could potentially make a great Christmas gift this year. Of course, if you do buy this book as a gift for someone, you'd better be sure they've got as dark and rich a sense of humor as you. Otherwise, you're bound to get crossed off that person's Christmas list for next year--but maybe that's the reaction you're going for in the first place.