Tom Sharpe’s satirical novel on University and shenanigans is still a good read, and in some ways just as relevant as when it was first written. Porterhouse is one of the Cambridge colleges, albeit rather a second rate one. Turning out men who quite often end up in influential positions the college has no great academicians. Concentrating more on winning sporting trophies the college is elitist in its own way, taking on the more dim-witted sons of the rich who would not get in anywhere else, and getting them degrees, all for money.
When a new Master is needed the Government manage to foist Sir Godber onto the college, who they have been trying to get rid of. Sir Godber has big plans for the college, but will everyone see things his way? With his in-fighting with the staff, an undergraduate managing to kill himself and another, whilst damaging the building with gas filled prophylactics, things are not going to plan.
With the Head Porter, Skullion, a man who knows his place and is just as much a traditionalist as other staff members chaos is about to fall on the college, especially so when a former student and now TV journalist gets called in.
A good read, this takes a comic look at bigotry, sexism and racism and is a biting satire on how things still are to a certain extent. We all know about Prime Ministers and others getting places by networking due to the Old School Tie, and this book reminds us of that, and also makes you think about tradition and the unwillingness to change. Admittedly not all change is good, and life wouldn’t be so interesting without some traditions, but some of this will have you chuckling with the traditionalists here seeing the old times through rose tinted glasses. Admittedly this won’t necessarily be for a lot of people, but it still makes a very entertaining read.