The family in this book puts the “function” back in dysfunction. It’s fair to say that none of the characters in this book will ever be candidates for the Family of the Year award, but that’s what makes The Nood’s Jamaican Vacation a pretty fun book to read.
This book tells the story of two halves of a very crazy American family. As the parents fly to Jamaica for a weekend to celebrate their anniversary, their teenage kids are left home with a sitter. All kinds of madcap, dysfunctional events happen to both halves of the family, including wanton drunkenness, a stolen car, a talking dog and cat who create chaos, and some rather painful sex on the beach.
As you can imagine, this is not a book intended for all ages, but then again that’s part of what makes it so fun. The nonstop bizarre hijinks that Moran, Hay and Willis present have a kind of cumulative, overwhelming effect to them – the more you read of this book, and the more time you spend with these crazy, crazy people, the more absurd and ridiculous these situations become.
The book is a bit tiring at times, though. Because it springs from event to event without a small break for the reader to take a breath, it becomes a bit exhausting. I found myself sometimes wanting just a moment’s break for a bit of character building, for an effort to be made for me to like these characters a bit more than I did.
I also sometimes wanted a bit more realism in the book’s art. Hay and Willis have a very loose and cartoony style that sometimes fits the wackiness of the story pretty well. But in other places that style works against the art. For instance, I found it very hard to figure out the ages of the kids in this story, which worked against a plot about the kids taking their parents’ car for a joyride.
But overall I think this comic succeeded in being exactly what its creators wanted it to be: a crazy, slapstick and outrageous comedy adventure about a very dysfunctional American family.