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.


smurfanator said...

ha! i read this book too! and in class we had free reading and i laughed out loud at some parts and kids would ask what was so funny. so id read them what i was laughing at, but they didnt seem to get it. not very many kids in my grade have my kid of sense of humor or share my love for reading. i thought the beginning was slow but once i got into it i had to know what happened to him. what he was going to do next. the ending made me cry though! normally i hate sad books but the ending to this one seemed oddly fitting im not really sure why though. im glad i read this book. it made me think about what our english teafher told us. CARPE DIEM-seize the day. i know thats probably not what the author was getting at but it made me think that yes even kids my age die and i might happen to be onw of those kids [i sure hope not-knock on wood-yes i did just knock on wood] and i really need to stop trying to be invisible and try to get as much done in my life as i can. i dont mean to sound pessimistic [not sure about the spelling of that] but oh i dont know it just got my brain going i guess. i do recommend this book to other 14 year olds aout there. im a girl and i liked it so i think anyone can read this book. thanks for listening!!
- anonomous google search freak

smurfanator said...

hey no problem! i was kind of bored last night and i had just finished reading the perks of being a wallflower i was looking for a place to comment on the book and this popped up. worked out pretty good for me. i have never read looking for alaska but when i was in 7th grade we had this reading competition where we had to memrorize book titles and their authors and the main idea of the books. that one was on the list i almost read it but another kid on my team got to it first! ill have to check it out.