Saturday, August 21, 2010

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

I read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy years ago.  Okay, in truth, it was actually years and years ago.  (A significant difference.)  But reading The True Meaning of Smekday brought back visions of “several dozen huge yellow chunky slablike somethings, huge as office blocks, silent as birds” sailing over Earth.

No, in Smekday the Earth is not destroyed to make room for a hyperspace bypass, but nevertheless the appearance of the Boov over the Earth, some in “ships the size of Rhode Island” appearing over major cities of the world from New York to London to Moscow, reminded me of Douglas Adams’ classic.  Even if the Boov ships look like jellyfish.

Gratuity Tucci, known to her friends as Tip, explains the Boov’s intentions.

  1. They believe Earth is rightfully theirs because they discovered it. 
  2. Colonizing new worlds is their destiny.
  3. They were sorry for the inconvenience, but humans will surely assimilate into Boov society.
  4. Disagree and your leaders will meet messy ends.
Tip was concerned ever since her mother’s night time abduction.  Soon her mother is taken by the Boov permanently.  When the Boov realize the humans won’t just give in, Captain Smek himself appears on TV and orders the “Noble Savages of Earth” to move to “Human Preserves.”  Americans get Florida.  Eleven-and-a-half-year-old Tip decides to drive rather than take the rocketpods provided by the Boov.

Tip, her cat named Pig, and the car end up in a hole in the highway - Boov created, of course, to persuade humans to take the rocketpods.  A Boov who calls himself J.Lo and claiming to be Chief Maintenance Officer Boov, discovers them and offers to fix their car.  It’s an odd offer, but Tip soon learns that J.Lo himself is trying to keep other Boov from finding him.

Their journey to Florida, and eventually Arizona, takes them to places like Roswell, New Mexico (appropriate, don’t you think?) and the Happy Mouse Kingdom, where my favorite attraction is the cigarette trees around the Big Rock Candy Mountain, not because of any personal tobacco preference, but because of this:

There’s plenty more to cover, including what happens in Arizona, the Gorg, incidents and residents in Roswell, allergies, plenty of explosions, and a wonderfully satisfying conclusion, but I’ve already strayed to a video from Oh Brother Where Art Thou, so we’d better just wrap it up and call it good.

Middle graders and above will appreciate The True Meaning of Smekday.  Girls will like the female protagonist who’s unafraid to travel across the country or to look a Gorg in the eye, and boys will like the action and explosions and the whole take-over-the-Earth thing.  Teachers will like it because Adam Rex has given them another book that can be added to the shelf that won’t spend much time there.


  1. One of my friends who doesn't usually pick up children's books RAVED about this one.

    I think I'm really going to have to read this one soon.

    *moves Smekday from the wishlist to the cart*

  2. Now that's one happy shopping cart ... soon to be followed by one happy reader, I hope. Let me know if your friend was right.


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