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Back in the Jug Agane (Penguin Classics)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2002
This book has never failed to make me laugh, and I've read it about five times. The humour is extremely witty, in the guise of a more simple type of humour. Molesworth's (the hero) spelling is funny by itself, and combined with his insightful criticisms of school life and the range of characters at St Custard's, makes for hilarious reading. One can always empathise with Molesworth's predicament, increasing the book's charm. Despite his non-standard English, one can always understand him: after all, everybody knows what a chiz is (a chiz is a swiz or a swindle as any fule kno).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ronald Searle was one of Britain's best-loved cartoonists, and Geoffrey Willans (if I remember correctly) a former teacher. If there is such a thing as a genius, then Willans and Searle together were one.

The Molesworth books purport to be instructional manuals by an English public schoolboy named Nigel Molesworth, about how to survive the school experience. From the day the first was published in 1953, they became a wild success, especially with schoolchildren. They are still in print and still eminently applicable (which says something both about the quality of the books, and about the nature of the British school system, which even at that point hadn't changed much in 400 years).

The wild misspelling that permeates them caused hysteria among parents, and their removal from many school libraries (the books, not the parents). Nevertheless, many phrases from them have since gone into the English lexicon, particularly "enuff said" and "as any fule kno".

The quartet consists of:

Down with Skool
How to be Topp
Whizz for Atomms
Back in the Jug Agane

and an omnibus edition,

The Compleet Molesworth, reprinted by Penguin as
Molesworth

These are considered absolute classics in the UK along with gems such as 1066 and all that. Whether they're intelligible to anyone but Britons is another matter; but I didn't think Monty Python would be, and I was wrong about that...

P.S. And should you be wondering (during reading) exactly what Treens might be, they're the myrmidons of that most unforgettable villain The Mekon (whose portrait you can see here), from the wonderful contemporary comic-book series Dan Dare.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2010
This is a very funny and cleverly written book. Yes, it can take a few pages to get used to the deliberately bad spelling and the 1950's schoolboy jargon, but very soon you are transported into the wonderfully witty and astutely observed world of the hugely cynical Nigel Molesworth, pupil of that perfect prep school, St.Custard's. With brilliant illustrations by Ronald Searle this book is virtually un-put-downable.
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on 20 August 2015
Seminal.
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