As Kriffle the Flidderbug investigates why his fellow ‘bugs find it impossible to agree on the pressing issue of how many points there are on the leaves of the tree on which they live, he finds that the truth is more complicated, and ultimately more terrifying, than he ever could have imagined.
Flidderbugs is a political satire, a modern fable, or maybe just a funny little story about a bunch of insects with some very peculiar obsessions.
I live in a back to back terraced house. I know that my roof is... well, I'm not actually sure what colour it is and it's raining so I'm not going out to check. But say it was blue. That should mean that my neighbour's roof is also blue, right? But what if they KNOW they their roof is pink?
When I opened Flidderbugs and read the first couple of lines, Orwell's 1984 immediately came to mind, more specifically Minitrue (aka The Ministry of Truth). In truth, my associations weren't too farfetched: there are aspects of Flidderbugs that mimic the absurdity of Minitrue and its slogans WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
Flidderbugs is an interesting tale of what we know versus what we believe. Do we believe something because we know it to be the case? Or do we know something because it fits in with our beliefs? Can politics, like religion, prevent us from approaching situations logically? And is it always in our best interest to listen to the information that is fed to us from those who - allegedly - know better?
Doodling, Gould's first title (and a Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Humor semi finalist), was a fabulously fun read with a heavy smattering of satire. Flidderbugs takes satire to a whole new level. Yet its real genius lies not in that but in the fact that you don't actually realise the strength of the messages until you've completed the book. Flidderbugs simply seems like a good read (saving initial Orwellian thoughts) but it's the period after you've closed the final page or put down your ereader that the heavy thinking kicks in.
What an amazing achievement: fiction that provides you with an incredible and fun read but leaves you full of thoughts long after you've finished the final paragraph. More please, Mr Gould. Much, much more!