CannedTitle: Canned
Author: Alex Shearer
ISBN: 9780439903097
Pages: 237 pages
Publisher/Date: Scholastic Press, c2006.

“Now then. Moment of truth. Fergal reached forward, grasped the can and slowly lifted it up.
Something slide out onto the paper on the desk. Fergal had to study it for several seconds before he knew what it was. In truth, maybe he knew instantly, but it took time for his brain to believe his eyes. It was so improbable, so impossible, so not what he had expected. Of all the things he had thought to find in the can, he had never imagined anything like this.” (49-50)

Fergal Bamfield has a hobby. It’s not collecting baseball cards though, or coins, but cans. Cans without labels that he finds in the bottom of the bargain bin at the supermarket. When his mother and father say no more cans, he becomes resigned to open the one can that’s the most different from all the rest. What he finds inside however, leads him to uncover a sinster plot that results in putting Fergal’s life at risk. The only person who knows what happened is a young girl just as eccentric as Fergal. When her evidence disappears and no one believes her, will she be able to save Fergal on her own?

This book is a wonderfully hillarious dark comedy. The improbability of it all just makes this book all the more enjoyable. One review I read of this book remarked on the lackluster ending, and yes, the climatic scene could have been more … climatic. However, the disgusting details of what is found in the cans I feel more than makes up for it, and will bound to appeal to older boys. Squemish stomachs should not read, as body parts become involved, along with a questionable end for two of the characters.

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