Some books from boyhood just stick in the mind forever and, for me, this is a gem. It recalls a time when , for many like myself, prep school was hell on earth with sadistic , war ravaged teachers and boys of all persuasions trying to get an education (or avoid it, mostly). Young gallows humour. Ronald Searle's illustrations are priceless.
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".
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.
A friend recommended this book to me and I have to say I found it really funny. I think, in all honesty, that this is more of a boy's read but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The book focuses on the naughty school boy, Nigel Molesworth and his observations on school life. There were parts of this book that had me laughing out loud, especially the one liners that just tickled my fancy.If you like school boy humour you'll love this!
I read the complete series of books when I was in the first year of grammar school, we had a book club and could buy one book a month, these and the Horror Stories Collections by Herbert Van Thall were my favourites! I don't know what happened to all my books, I think my mum threw them all out when I left home to get married. Thanks mum. Anyway I had a free £3 Amazon book credit so I bought this, I was surprised how familiar it was almost 50 years later! Not the same as reading it as an 11 year old obviously and a lot shorter than I remember, but a good blast from the past. I think a lot of us schoolboys in the first years of secondary school in the 60's could identify with Molesworth, school back then seemed full of bullies, 6th formers trying to grow moustaches, sporty show-offs and sadistic teachers who were always ready to get out the cane, slipper (old tennis shoe) or just give you a slap across the face. Great days. I think reading Molesworth kept me reasonably sane.
I read this about forty years ago and had forgotten how good it was. I'm not sure if the current younger generation who are unfamiliar with the old fashioned boarding school system will get it, but it still made me laugh.