... Set in the 1950's English grammar school educational milieu, this book accurately reflects the atmosphere of the times, lost in today's educational "free for all". A time of school blazers, prefects, discipline, and a sense of mishievious fun among young males. The cameraderie between teenage boys, plus their growing awareness of the opposite sex, is faithfully portrayed.
One of them, the book's hero, has fallen hopelessly in love with a classic English rose, who he feels is too good for him, but finds encouragement when he is chosen by a strict drama mistress (herself having an affair with the young school groundsman), to act in the school play, whose last scene entails him kissing her.
A clever theme parallels the course of the young hero's story, in that his progress & setbacks are narrated as commentary by the famous cricket commentator of the time - John Arlott - as if he were out battling against the Australians in an International cricket match.
A delightful, innovative story which will find resonance in anyone who lived through this heyday of the English grammar school in a leafy suburb.
"P'tang Yang Kipperbang" is the boys' catchphrase used whenever they part company - a kind of "all for one, and one for all" parody - they each utter the phrase, accompanied by a grunt and a clenched fist in mock salute . (Not quite the stuff of "Animal House", but maybe a pre-cursor )