A smile with a limp to it…

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about some dazzling similes and metaphors from Kevin Brockmeier…

I have a not-so-secret affection for memoir. It’s my favourite genre and I usually manage to read about a dozen each year.

Kevin Brockmeier’s memoir, however, is unusual in that is covers such a short time — just one year.  A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip recounts his life as a seventh grader, in all its misery and occasional glory.

The glorious part for me was the chance to experience Brockmeier’s very fine use of figurative language. Here are the metaphors and similes I particularly appreciated:

  • It is an oddly sunless fall afternoon. The sky is the color of oatmeal with lots of milk.
  • He has never operated such a contraption [a paddleboat] before. There is a dinky toy-car feeling to it. It’s fun, he has to admit, but also kind of ridiculous. He can’t believe that grown-ups do it, too — grown-ups!— with their big legs and their beer coolers and their sunglasses, pumping and splishing across the water while Jet Skis and motorboats slice past them like knives moving through a cake.
  • Laughter blooms from their mouths like a chain of musical notes, dozens of tiny stems and noteheads popping open and ringing off the walls.
  • Secretly, though, he watches Miss Vincent’s expression as she flips through the pages of the story, the way her lips tighten at one corner but not the other, a smile with a limp to it.
  • Half an hour later, in math, something in the room’s attention shifts toward the door like a sheet of water listing across a pan.
  • He dabs a “The End” lightly onto the end of the sentence, like calamine lotion.

Rest assured I’m going to be seeking out other books written by Kevin Brockmeier (pictured above.)

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