Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Review: Doll Junk: Collectible and Crazy Fashions from the ’70s and ’80s by Carmen Varricchio

When I saw the cover of this book on *Netgalley I knew that I had to immediately request it. I could barely contain my giggles at the site of it. I'm not a doll collector and as a child was never a snob over "fake Barbie clothes". But this book looked too intriguing to pass up.

This book is filled filled with dolls and fashions of Barbie (and other doll) knockoffs from the the 1970's and 1980's. Many are shown in their orignal packaging. Drawing from many different countries besides the USA this book displays the wide variety of knockoffs that were in mass production during the 70s and 80s.

As I stated I'm not a doll collector. In fact in my neighborhood I grew up in we had a lady who was well into her 60's who collected baby dolls. As in thousands of them. She would put them in strollers and cribs and dress them up and everything. At the time the kids in the neighborhood found it a bit odd and to be honest pitied her a bit. One of the other kids had sagely told me that the woman couldn't have children and so that was why she had them. Whether or not that is true I'll never know. But now as an adult I have to admit...well I WANT to play with dolls. After going through this book I have the burning desire to go out and buy some Barbies and huge pile of clothes to put her in.

This book was light on words but heavy on pictures. Some of the clothes were down right hideous but some made me want to rip it out of the original packaging and start dressing up Barbie (told you I'm not a collector would open the original packaging). In particular I fell in love with the Petra doll fashions. They may not have been as well made as Barbie's but oh man some look down right fun!

For me what was more scary than some of the fashions were the dolls themselves. Some looked possessed. Some looked like drag queens imitating Tammy Faye Baker. Some of the male dolls had mustaches (one a full beard). The rooted hair made some of them look crazy. Creepy children dolls who would give Chucky a run for his money.

Over all I LOVED this book. It was good for a chuckle, lots of nostalgia (hello crazy fashions of the past), and a return to innocence. I really and truly want to go out and play with some Barbies right now. I could never be a collector because I would want to dress up and play with them just like that "crazy" lady that I pitied as a child. No pity here just a longing for a time of innocence when imagination reigned free and the whole world was ahead of me.

A solid 5 out of 5 stars.

* I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion

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