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Tom Sharpe's worst book
on 28 January 2005
I have read most of Tom Sharpe's books and I normally enjoy them immensely. "Porterhouse Blue", while not as funny as Wilt and Blott, was still satire of the highest calibre, but its strong point was the plot, which had me reading the book in record time.
Then came volume 2, and at 490 pages it is quite a volume. The problem is that it never really got off the ground. The plot is okay but mostly boring and I found at times I had to force myself to pay attention. It's a good book for practising speed reading - that's what I did.
The plot is one of Sharpe's more complex ones, and it builds up expectations for a monumental climax. But instead it simply fizzles out and leaves one feeling cheated. I am willing to put money on it that after 450-odd pages, the author realised that he couldn't bring it together and then lost interest. So he made X die, Y retire, and Z live sort of happily ever after. All within the space of the last four pages.
If you also hate the bombastic arrogance of the Americans, you are in for a treat though. Sharpe makes no secret of his sentiments (or lack of) in this respect. He treats his American characters in a noticeably more venomous fashion than his British (or African) ones.
But I felt cheated afterwards. The book is not up to Tom Sharpe's normal high standards and is most certainly not a worthy successor to "Porterhouse Blue". As I've said: stick to Wilt and Blott and avoid disappointment.