Positioned as “a wickedly funny novel” that will “make you roll around on the carpet laughing hysterically, gasping for air and begging for mercy…”, Spud is a collection of teenage diary entries.
Stop! Don’t you dare raise your eyebrows, nauseous at the prospect of digesting the horny ramblings of another insipid Adrian Mole! For Spud is brilliant. I didn’t quite fling myself a-carpet, clutching my sides, but I did smile, snigger and chuckle – and for me, that’s literary hysteria.
Spud is John Milton, aged 13: pre-pubescent teenager extraordinaire, first-year boarding school pupil, diarist, cricketer, singer/actor, aspirant freedom fighter, would-be stud, son to crazy parents and grandson to senile old bat. Spud is also the dorm-mate of an assortment of freaks so jaw-droppingly insane that the mind simply boggles – and that boarding school begins to sound alarmingly like Hell.
Over the course of a turbulent school year, Spud sneaks us into his life, recounting his unusual exploits and describing his 1990s environment with delicious South African flavour. He introduces us to his truly dysfunctional (horrifyingly realistic) family, his deeply disturbed (but vivid) posse of teachers and his cruel, mean, bloodthirsty (quite sweet, really) peers.
I adored every second of reading Spud, ignored family and friends while I did so and fell to my knees at the finish to thank the Good Lord for not subjecting me to boarding school. Buy it!