Of Mouse and Men by Nicklaus Hopkins documents the authors’ experience as a friend of a Disney character. To quote the official synopsis, “In a fun, fast-moving narrative, Nicklaus relates exactly how he got his job as a character performer, takes you through his unique, vaguely boot camp-ish training as Goofy, and then brings you with him into the parks for guest encounters, cast member horseplay, and all the pleasures and perils of being a Disney theme-park character. Despite the harsh training, the heavy costume, and the sweat drenching his body, Nicklaus loved every minute of it”. Much like how Nicklaus Hopkins loved every minute of his job, I loved every minute of his story.
About two weeks ago I was contacted by Nicklaus Hopkins. He asked me if I would review his new book. After accepting, he sent me a copy of the book for review. After taking two weeks to read through and fully think about the story, this is my review.
Of Mouse and Men is a great story filled with fun people, humor, and very interesting insights about a job I have always been fascinated about: a character performer. I really enjoyed the book. There are a few parts which are a bit slow, but most of the novel had me on the edge of my seat and wishing for more when it was over. Hopkins was able to weave humor and fun into his book in ways most bestselling authors can’t. I laughed way more than I should have at various points throughout the story. Overall, I would give it a 4 ½ out of 5 stars. It’s really good.
As I said earlier, I am fascinated by the cast members that make the Disney parks what they are, and the characters are some of the most important aspects of them. Hopkins explains how the cast members are trained in ways anyone and everyone can understand: using humor and imagery. He made it easy to understand and made it sound amazing, despite the back problems, heat, and sweat that come with the job. The first half of the book is my favorite part: the training portion of the story was hilarious and fascinating. The second half is good, too, but in my opinion the first half is unbeatable. From imagery created by a plethora of adjectives or comical pieces featuring sweat or dance auditions, the first half gave me a new respect for cast members. As this story is a documentation of Hopkins’s experience as a character performer, the plot (If I can honestly call it that) is simple. The book falls into two main parts: Training, and Performing, with performing including all of his experiences as Goofy or a plethora of other tall characters. The plot isn’t where the story shines though, the humor is what makes Of Mouse and Men rise above the rest of Disney literature.
As I’ve mentioned too many times, I had a blast reading this book. Of Mouse and Men made me laugh more than almost any other book I’ve ever read. I don’t want to spoil any of the jokes, but a lot of the earlier jokes revolve around the idiots that Nicklaus Hopkins called ‘classmates’ thinking Yogi and Dora are Disney characters. As a Disney nerd myself, I was completely offended by their ignorance, but I still found it funny. The story is filled to the brim with great Disney references and jokes, and the humor is truly why I loved the novel.
When I was first contacted by Nicklaus Hopkins to review the book, I didn’t know what to expect. Part of me expected the book to riddled with typos or grammatical errors. I was wrong. Unlike the first novel in The Return series, which had dozens of typos, Of Mouse and Men had almost no grammatical issues or typos. The wording is phenomenal, except for one place that I counted. Hopkins knows what he is doing, and his editor is great at his job.
MY ISSUES WITH OF MOUSE AND MEN
After gushing about it for most of the review, I do have one issue with story: the pacing is odd and sometimes switched between too slow and too fast. Sometimes Hopkins takes too long to make a joke, and sometimes he zooms past important aspects of his life as a character performer. While most of the time it gets explained well, I was left with a few questions after the novel was done.
Another issue I had with Of Mouse and Men was the setting. While the locations are explained well, the time is not nearly as well. Mostly occurring in the earlier portions of the book, the time jumps around a lot with not a lot of explanations or warning given.
The third issue I had with the book is that at about 130 pages, Of Mouse and Men is short. Some would say short and sweet, but I wanted a bit more when I finished it.
These are mostly just nitpicks and won’t affect your experience. The book is still well written and very enjoyable.
I would definitely read Of Mouse and Men, and would certainly read anything Nicklaus Hopkins releases in the future. Of Mouse and Men is hilarious, enlightening, and a blast to read. I’d much rather see a passionate author like Hopkins top the bestselling charts than most of the authors that control to the bestsellers list. His work is amazing, and I hope it gets more attention, because it deserves more. It’s a great read.
You can buy the book HERE.
Official website: www.ofmouseandmen.com