Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Fake Mustache
Author: Tom Angleberger
Publisher: Amulet
Publication Date: April 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Regular kid Lenny Flem Jr. is the only one standing between his evil-genius best friend—Casper, a master of disguise and hypnosis—and world domination. It all begins when Casper spends money from his granny on a spectacularly convincing fake mustache, the Heidelberg Handlebar #7. With it he’s able rob banks, amass a vast fortune, and run for president. Is Lenny the only one who can see through his disguise? And will he be able to stop Casper from taking over the world?


Fake Mustache, a children’s comedy story, is American as is clear from the title. The novel takes place in a slightly bizarre version of modern day America, within the fictional state capital of Hairsprinkle. It is initially narrated by Lenny Flem Junior but later swaps to Jodie O’Rodeo. The action is spread through Lenny’s house, the Heidelberg novelty company factory, Sven’s Fair Price Store and the Hairsprinkle Municipal Stadium.

The plot is surprisingly complex, but basically Lenny Jr. saves the world from his best friend Casper and his fake mustache with the help of his favorite TV star, Jodie O’Rodeo and the mustaches inventor, Hank Heidelberg. Casper meanwhile has used the unknown powers of his mustache to raise vast amounts of money and get himself elected/chosen for increasingly important governmental roles.

My favorite part of this tale is a short section narrated by Lenny where he meets Jodie while in fancy dress as her. It is one of the funniest parts of the book. The character I like best is Hank Heidelberg, who is wonderfully old-fashioned and quirky. He knows all sorts of things which he does not at all understand the implications of and he stubbornly insists on remaining in a near-suicidal situation in a classic hero/martyr manner.

Something that annoys me about this book is that the American title has not been translated into British English and consequently says “mustache” rather than “moustache”. However, this is just my problem. The only real issue is that, for a comedy book there is not that a huge amount of humor in it. This does not really detract, though, from and excellent and complicated story.

I thought this comedy might be a bit childish but it was actually great, even for me at age 14. I might get another book by this author if I saw it, but I have a feeling my friends would consider themselves too old for it.

I would give the story four out of five stars.