Sunday, March 08, 2009

Spud, the Madness Continues...

by John van de Ruit

(See my post about the previous book in the series here.)

Man, I freakin' loved the first book in this series. The second one is also quite good, but with some fairly major drawbacks.

I still really love the protagonist, young John "Spud" Milton, but I also found myself getting annoyed with him for not realizing that one of his friends is actually a complete tool whom I, as of the middle of this second book, cannot stand. I don't want to dwell on the why's and what-for's, but I really hope Spud will eventually recognize that this guy is a spoiled-rich-kid narcissistic bully and heroically stand up to him, in the manner of Tom Brown's Schooldays (for the record, I've only seen the movie and haven't read the book).

There are some hopeful signs that Spud himself is maturing, and I'm optimistic that the slight increase in homophobic behavior and post-apartheid racist backlash in the book is more reflective of Spud's growing sensitivity to such things, and of the time period in which the book is set, than it is indicative of what's to come.

On a related note, a friend of mine, who doesn't normally read anything like this at all, stumbled across the first book and really enjoyed it. The third one isn't published yet, and I'll probably have to interlibrary loan it, but I certainly will.

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