Book Review: ‘Fortunately, the Milk’ (2013)

The short: 4/5 ✦. The most durable carton of milk you’ll ever read about.

The long: 

It was quite nice to go from something as dense and convoluted as The Goldfinch to something much lighter and just plain fun.

Spongebob - Dancing

This was a bit of a last minute read for me, as I was planning on moving on to the much-hyped Throne of Glass series next, but we had a blackout in my neighborhood yesterday. I know that sounds like I had time to do nothing but read, but actually, no power meant no Internet, which meant I couldn’t get any work done at the house (the one time working from home actually has a downside!). So I had to pack up my laptop and go trumping over to my uncle’s house to finish everything. When I got back home, there was still no power, and it was dark and hot and stuffy and I didn’t feel like devoting energy to anything taxing, so instead of delving into yet another book series, I reached for a flashlight and what I knew was going to be a light, easy read: Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman.

I like Neil Gaiman a lot, though I wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore fan, since I prefer his children’s novels (CoralineThe Graveyard Book) to his adult fare (Anansi Boys, American Gods – though I did enjoy Sandman). He’s one of my favorite authors not only because of his amazing writing, but because he also seems to be a very kind, generous person by all accounts, and that just makes me feel warm and happy inside. It’s nice when your heroes are just as awesome as you imagine them to be.

McGregor - Happy

I’d heard about Fortunately, the Milk as a delightful book for young children, which – shocker – it is! XD Seriously, though, there’s nothing serious about this book, and that makes it perfect. A dad (who looks suspiciously like Gaiman himself in my Chris Riddell-illustrated copy) goes out to the corner shop to get milk for his children’s cereal (and his tea) and winds up in an intergalactic adventure through space and time.

So naturally, there are ponies, vampires, dinosaurs, aliens, and ancient gods.

Doctor Who - This Is Obvious

And throughout it all, the milk carton saves the day. “The Hardy Little Milk Carton” it ought to be christened – the true hero of the story!

There’s not much else to say without spoiling anything, and it’s so short, it’d be a shame to do that. Basically, it’s a very fun and funny book, with something for any type of imaginative kid, and the pictures are gorgeous (I first learned of Chris Riddell from his Edge Chronicles books with Paul Stewart). Either pick up a copy to read for yourself or as an awesome gift for a young reader in your life – preferably the edition I have, which comes in a box set with two other fantastic Gaiman books!

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Heck of a steal!

Another thing I loved about Fortunately, the Milk is how utterly British it is. No edits were made to the terminology or phrasing the characters used (unlike in Harry Potter . . . ), which is awesome and made everything that much funnier. Especially the whole bit about the tea!

So if you have fifteen to thirty minutes to spare, spend it with a great dad, a inventive dinosaur, a giant hot air balloon, and a brave milk carton. 🙂

Header image: Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, published September 8, 2015 by HarperCollins. 

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