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What Is Goth | review | book | Lollipop

What Is Goth?

By Voltaire
(Weiser Books)
By Sarah Katz

I had never heard of Voltaire before I laid my hands on his latest accomplishment, What Is Goth? The cover didn't really attract me, and I let it sit on my desk. Soon, it was covered in a pile of papers. But then the Editor told me all about Voltaire, his wit and his musicianship, and I quickly dug the book out. I read through the whole book in one sitting, smirking the entire time. Besides making me smile, laugh, giggle, and nod my head in agreement, What Is Goth? made me want to read more Voltaire. As a big fan of dark and spooky comics, I was pleasantly surprised to find a page of Voltaire's Oh My Goth! tucked neatly into Roman Dirge's Lenore collection Noogies.

So what is What Is Goth? Well, I'm sure you've gathered that it's funny. It's Voltaire writing a guidebook to the world of Goth. It covers Goths, Goth clothing, the Goth outlook, Goth dance moves, and a Goth make-over. Littered with several personal stories, some black, salty wit, and the ability to laugh at himself, Voltaire's book is a good read for Goths and non-Goth's alike. For non-Goths, it's a voyeuristic journey into the world of Goth, with explanations galore and never any elitism. For die-hard Goths, it's an amusing look in the mirror. If you read this book and don't at least crack a smile, you either have no sense of humor, or you're dead.

Don't be deterred by the awful cover. This is a good read. Yes, it's a humor book, with fun games such as the "Gothic Poem Generator" (Dark is the core of my soul!), but oh my Goth can Voltaire write! He pokes fun at those who make fun of Goths, those who are scared by Goths, and those who are Goths. My absolute favorite part is the "Dance of the Darkness" chapter, with picture by picture guides to dance Goth dances such as "Cobwebs in the Attic" and "Grab the Bat." My one complaint is that there are definitely not enough of Voltaire's creepy crawly illustrations, but that doesn't deter this darkly humorous book from being anything but excellent.


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