By Stephan Pastis
From the back cover
“MY NAME IS FAILURE. TIMMY FAILURE. I AM THE FOUNDER, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE BEST DETECTIVE AGENCY IN TOWN, PROBABLY IN THE WORLD. TIMMY FAILURE: MISTAKES WERE MADE IS A HISTORICAL RECORD OF MY LIFE AS A DETECTIVE. IT HAS BEEN RIGOROUSLY FACT-CHECKED. ALL THE DRAWINGS IN HERE ARE BY ME. I TRIED TO GET MY BUSINESS PARTNER TO DO THE ILLUSTRATIONS, BUT THEY WERE NOT GOOD.”
Take Timmy Failure—the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of a budding investigative empire. Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large polar bear named Total. Of course, his plan does not include the four-foot-tall female whose name shall not be uttered. And it doesn’t include Rollo Tookus, who is so obsessed with getting into “Stanfurd” that he can’t carry out a no-brain spy mission. Or Molly Moskins, who smells like a tangerine and is crazy about Timmy, making her his obvious (and only) prime suspect.
In a gist…
I personally am uncomfortable with this type of children’s books. The mere concept of glorification of school failures makes me very eerie. Timmy Failure has a GPA of 0.6, according to him, and he is completely satisfied with his performance and sometimes takes pride in it. His main focus is his detective work which, comically, he is terrible at. If your child must read this book, please keep the following points in mind when you are discussing the book with him/her:
Chapter 35: We’re introduced to a man his mom is dating.
Chapter 42: His female classmate is in love with him and hugs and kisses him while he tries to push her away
Chapter 36: As a figure of speech, Timmy tells his friend to burn their classmate’s backpack to sanitize the room.
Chapter 54: Timmy takes the car keys from his mother’s boyfriend telling them that he will be bringing picnic supplies from the car while planning to drive it into his classmate’s house. He turns the ignition on but his mom finds him before he moves the car.
Chapter 55: An accident occurs where Timmy is in a car by himself and the car speeds downhill and crashes into a house. No injuries occur though, just a damaged house and car.
None other than vague descriptions of other characters like referring to one kid as “round” for being chubby, making reference to a girl’s pupils being different sizes, and his teacher being smelly and bent over “like he’s got a sack of potatoes hanging from his forehead”.
Degradation of Family/Islamic Values
Chapter 2: Timmy uses his mom’s Segway despite her telling him not to without her knowledge. “Never. Ever. Ever.” She said “i thought that was vague. So i use it. so far, she hasn’t objected. Mostly because she doesn’t know.” He continues to comment that his main principle is to “keep [his] mom in [the] dark”
Chapters 3&4: Failure, as his name implies, is a failure at school with a GPA of 0.6 who is not interested in studying and vows to never be like the geeky kid who studies and has a 4.6 GPA. Is that the type of example you want for your children to be reading about? He is funny, and has aspirations of building a global detective agency, could this motivate your children to drop out of school and aim towards far-fetched dreams?
Chapter 23: Timmy lies to his mother about the disappearance of her Segway to get himself out of trouble
Chapter 36: Timmy goes through his classmate’s backpack without her knowledge and takes her “Detective Log”