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Spud Paperback – 1 May 2008

44 customer reviews

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Spud + Spud - The Madness Continues + Spud - Learning to Fly
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141323566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141323565
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Some rave reviews from South Africa:

Funny, fast-paced and wonderfully observant (Book Shelf The Daily News)

Once you pick it up it's almost as if the pages turn themselves (Metrobeat)

Achingly funny (Sunday Times Lifestyle)

About the Author

John van de Ruit was born in Durban, South Africa. He went to the University of Natal where he completed a Masters degree in Drama and Performance. Since 1998 he has been a professional actor, playwright and producer, winning numerous awards. Spud is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
SPUD has been compared to THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, but I see it more as a twisted Harry Potter minus the magic and the nasty, evil villain. It is boarding school at its craziest and best.

Even though it is set in South Africa, and I'm guessing that most of its readers will not have attended boarding school, teens everywhere will be able to relate to the trials and tribulations of main character John "Spud" Milton.

Through Spud's diary, the reader gets to follow the antics of The Crazy Eight. Their wild adventures include the infamous "night swims," porn magazines and videos, attempts to break the school farting record, and investigations into the mystery of the school's resident ghost. All their schemes and pranks are done at the risk of being caught by Headmaster Glockenshpeel, known as "The Glock."

Spud not only deals with all craziness while at school, but he also deals with issues when he goes home during breaks. His father is a drunk who is sure the country is doomed now that Nelson Mandela has been released and Apartheid is over. Spud's mother puts up with his father's nonsense most days, but there are frequent, loud battles which sometimes end in her throwing him out. Add to all that a seriously senile grandmother Spud calls the Wombat. She has never-ending stories that, due to her declining mental abilities, she constantly repeats. Spud's father is seriously considering poison as a method for ridding them of his obnoxious mother-in-law.

John van de Ruit's book is sure to be a success here in the U.S. His newfound fans will be happy to know he is at work on the further adventures of Spud and the gang.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Marcus Wilkinson on 7 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
I remember coming across this book, just as it had been released, in a book shop in Johannesburg Airport as I waited for my flight back to the UK. I had never heard of it before but after reading the blurb I decided I would take a chance and spend the last of my money to buy it.

And thank the Lord in Heaven above that I did buy it! This book is absolute comic gold dust. It follows the story of John 'Spud' Milton, a young white South African boy as he begins a scholarship at a South African boys boarding school.

To sum John 'Spud' Milton up for you - He is the protagonist. Spud in general dislikes his life, due to the major embarrassment he gets from having slightly deranged parents, a senile grandmother (affectionately known as Wombat) and being part of one of the most notorious gang in the school. He is very pessimistic about many aspects of his life, especially his spudness and has a low self-esteem when confronting personal matters. Sparerib watches him with much concern and offers him much support. He consistently worries about his own sanity. Has many goals, such as being a star cricketer, actor, detective, freedom fighter and many more. Is certainly popular with girls (as he is the object of affection of three girls). Got into the school through a scholarship. Best known in the school for his lead part in Oliver!.

This book made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me laugh so hard that I cried, it made me laugh so hard that I wet my pants a little. Thats how brilliant this book is. You must read it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Guy Allensby on 5 May 2008
Format: Paperback
The cover says you will be rolling around, and you will be.

What with manic parents, crazy teachers, insane girlfriends, and bizzare friends this book is the best.

Read it you won't be dissapointed. What gets me though is it really is true to life.

Well done John.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By purplelil on 25 May 2010
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my 15 year old son, but thought I'd read it too, after the glowing review in the Guardian. What a fantastic book! I have never laughed so much reading a book. Be careful, though, if buying for a young person. There are some sad, scary & cruel moments - it is set at a boys boarding school after all...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mentalelf on 9 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
i was given this book by a friend (who hadn't read it). i was about to dump it on the pile of 'oh i'll get round to reading that eventually' books, when i started casually flicking through it...
that was it. i was hooked.
never before have i been so caught up in the world of a 14yr old boy and his mates. it was wonderful.
it is written so simply and brilliantly. i couldn't wait to pick it up again after only putting it down because i was so sleepy i feared dropping it and forgetting which page i was on.
it was a book i expected nothing from and it delivered probably one of the best reads i have had this year.
odd but true.
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Format: Paperback
I was given this book as a present and regretably damaged it slightly. Replacing it means getting the English dust cover which I find more than a bit tacky as the cover resembles popcorn woman's reading. This has been the fastest selling book in Africa because of it's wide appeal to two audiences. Pre-teens and teenagers for whom this is a latter day Adrian Mole and nostalgic adults who can relive their childhoods through the novel. Until the turn of the century, many schools did still cane their students while holding archaeic pyramidal power structures based on age and size.

Personally I feel the book should come with a glossary. Much of the slang and vernacular is very much rooted in the time and place in which the book was set. Despite this, my British boyfriend has really enjoyed listening to extracts from the book. He's been amused by the lighthearted style and has managed to make sense of about 95% of the wording. The book contains a universal appeal that means it can be enjoyed by everyone.

Dramatic political events during the 90s in South Africa feature distantly in comparison to Spud's girlfriend and school angst (as like any teenager). Nevertheless, the parts that do feature will resonate with people who lived through that time period in the amusingly human way politics influencing life is incorporated. The stockpiling of tinned food for example is a moment many will remember.

This book is very much light holiday or public transport reading. Easy to pick up and put down. Nevertheless I was pleasantly surprised as I'd had my doubts about it after all the hype before I read it. Spud is a very human character. Reading between the lines he is a relatively emotionally mature and intelligent boy, popular with his class.
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