Below are excerpts from five of the 25 parodies in the new book, each positing what an episode of the classic sitcom Leave It to Beaver would have been like if written by a world-renowned author. Your job is to find a match for each from the list at the end!
1. It’s not that she feels unhappy, June thinks as she goes through the motions of vacuuming the floors and giving the boys hunks of milk as they barge in after school. It’s that she feels nothing. She wonders what real people feel. Then she wonders if real people even exist. Everyone around her looks like such a two-dimensional stereotype. The world seems to be entirely in shades of gray, and she begins to think that even the laughter she hears whenever one of her boys says something cute is only a tape recording played on cue.
2. Beaver has a hard time paying attention in school that day as he can’t stop thinking about Miss Landers being a Ganymedean slime mold. But at last he’s able to shake off the preoccupation. So what if she’s a particularly hideous alien life form, he tells himself. Since she’s able to project the image of a pretty young school teacher and rarely sends him to Mrs. Rayburn’s office, it doesn’t really make any difference.
3. Ward has seen Larry Mondello countless times before and felt nothing for him but a vague distaste, but until now he has never seen him wearing only swimming trunks. Awash in the vast, pale sweep of Larry’s flesh, the abandoned voluptuousness of his sheer corpulence, Ward is surprised to find himself strangely transfixed. He tells himself that he must surely be appreciating Larry at an aesthetic level. He wonders if Larry is the Platonic ideal of something and wishes he had studied more classical philosophy along with the Greek mythology.
4. Well, sir, I immediately went into my act, fiddling with my cap, making sure my shirt was buttoned to the throat, flashing my buck-toothed grin. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, I always say. I’d worked dang hard on my perfect-child routine, and I knew there’d be trouble if the old bum had seen through it. As it turned out, though, he just wanted to tell me some of his musty old stories. Gus could lay on the corn as thick as I could. The only difference was, he meant it.
5. Beaver rushes away and is accosted by Eddie Haskell. Eddie cackles and makes a long speech about how, with Ward Cleaver gone, he’ll be free to give Beaver the business whenever he feels like it. But in the process he reveals how his concept of giving the business is built on moral cowardice and a fear of the rationality which is the foundation of man’s existence.
A. Thomas Mann, Death in Mayfield
B. Jim Thompson, The Beaver inside Me
C. Sylvia Plath, The Beaver Jar
D. Ayn Rand, Cleaver Shrugged
E. Flannery O’Connor, A Good Beaver Is Hard to Find
F. Philip K. Dick, Do Beavers Dream of Electric Creeps?