Thursday, December 4, 2008
Spud--John van de Ruit
I just can't help myself, I have to blog about another boarding school book. Help, I'm obsessed!
Spud is set in South Africa just as apartheid is coming to an end. John "Spud" Milton attends an all boys boarding school and we learn about his adventures with his dorm-mates, The Crazy Eight, through his witty, enticing, and thoroughly entertaining journal entries. We can live vicariously through his words as The Crazy Eight sneak out for night swims, go ghost-hunting, endure birthday hazings, dream about girls, endure zany professors and parents, and more. While this book was a bit of a slow start for me, I think teens will like it.
Throughout this book, I had this nagging feeling, like it reminded me of something but I couldn't put my finger on it. At the end, I realized: this book totally reminded me of the Dead Poets Society movie! And although thematically different from Looking for Alaska, Jellicoe Road, and What I Was, readers who enjoyed those books will also like this one. What makes Spud stand out to me, however, is the subtle messages about friendship, culture, and society that are told in Spud's journal entries. Still, what I like the best about this book was that it made me laugh out loud. I must have looked like a crazy person when I was reading this in a waiting room the other day.
This book would be good for both boys and girls, though older teens might get more out of it.