Spud, by John van de Ruit

Book CoverI picked up this book recently, during my lunch hour, and found it near impossible to put down.

It’s 1990 and John ‘Spud’ Milton is a scholarship boy entering his first year at an elite boarding school in Durban, South Africa. Spud’s family consists of a high-maintenance mother, a mentally unstable father who fears the crumbling of apartheid and the impending release of Mandela will ruin the country, and Spud’s senile grandmother, Wombat. Though Spud is off to boarding school, he is unable to escape his dysfunctional family who visit him occassionally and to whom he returns every long weekend and holiday. At boarding school, Spud is thrust into a world of raging testosterone, bullying prefects, and the typical hi-jinks that act as a counterbalance to archaic institutionalism. Spud’s dorm group forms the Crazy Eight, a group of misfits and rebels who’s escapades and midnight swims become legend throughout the school. All the glorious mayhem inherent in coming of age is faithfully chronicled in Spud’s diary, which is the narrative device of the story.

Spud is written by John Van De Ruit, South African writer, actor, producer and playwright. Unshelved have done a little comic strip review as part of their Unshelved BookClub feature.

~ Sam M