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Spud Hardcover – October 4, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill (October 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595141707
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595141705
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,173,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A bestseller in South Africa, it's likely to be a hit with American readers as well. -- Kirkus

[Spud] is funny and the characters...are wildly eccentric. -- KLIATT

About the Author

JOHN VAN DE RUIT was born in Durban, South Africa, in 1975. John is an actor, writer, producer and playwright, and is now at work on Spud: The Madness Continues.

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Customer Reviews

We ALL enjoyed this book greatly.
Mark Buckholz
This is a fabulous read especially if you also attended a boys only boarding school.
Ross Hesom
The funniest book I've ever read.
James leonard cameron

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on October 24, 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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David Zimmerman VINE VOICE on March 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I got a pre-US publication copy of this book, which has been very successful in South Africa, the home country of its author, John van de Ruit. Thirteen-year old protagonist John "Spud" Milton receives a scholarship to boarding school in 1990 and with apprehension welcomes the opportunity to escape from his increasingly wacky and warring parents. They think they're sending him to a world of structure and discipline. What he finds is a world not much less bizarre than Hogwarts, where he bonds with housemates "Rambo", "Boggo", "Fatty", "Gecko" and others into the "Crazy Eight". As with most 13-year old boys, their thinking is preoccupied by sex and in this case farting, a talent with which "Fatty" challenges the school record. Spud, so nicknamed for the slow pace of his pubescent development, develops in many other ways, as he struggles to survive in a world of crazy classmates, sadistic upperclassmen, drunken teachers, from whom his only escape is the occasional weekend visit to the maniacal world of his parents and grandmother, Wombat.

An American reader will enjoy both van de Ruit's sense of humor and his inside look at South African in a time of great change, as Nelson Mandela is freed and apartheid ends. Along the way Spud reads some modern classics, "Catcher in the Rye" (his resemblance to Holden Caulfield isn't lost on either him or us) and "Catch-22" and discusses them with his English prof (and cricket coach).

Part "Catcher" and "Catch", part A Confederacy of Dunces (Evergreen Book)(and part "Diary of Anne Frank", as the book is written in as Spud's diary entries), and all wicked South African fun, "Spud" is highly recommended to both adult and teenage readers (though for some reason, Amazon has it categorized for 9-to-12-year olds).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MDG on October 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Witty, charming, and consistently hilarious, "Spud" combines the prep-school humor of "The Catcher in the Rye" with the rebellious teen antics of "Dead Poet's Society." Though John van de Ruit's 13-year-old protagonist Spud (real name: John Milton) may hail from Durban, South Africa, his adventures, insecurities, and humor are universal. Anyone who has experienced life as a teenager can relate to Spud. First crush? Check. Feelings of alienation? Check. Crazy family members? Check. Throughout the novel we follow Spud as he meets his new friends "the Crazy Eight," tries out for the school play, serves as moderator for his eccentric family, and witnesses the end of apartheid.

Since first reading this book (and falling in love with it), I have recommended "Spud" to friends and family ranging from 15 to 60 years old. I have yet to find one person who wasn't won over by Spud and his motley crew of prep-school buddies. A novel that will appeal to people of all ages, "Spud" is sure to find a fan in anyone who reads it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Pavlinovic on January 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Spud is a thoroughly enjoyable book about a boy trying to figure out who he is personally and politically, when the ANC is becoming more powerful in South Africa. My kids and I loved it. However, as a word of caution, it is not the best book for someone under the age of 15 or so, because there is quite a bit of sexual content.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tammy M. Dahle on January 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for laugh out loud funny this is the book for you. Spud by John van de Ruit is one of the funniest books I have read in a while.
The story comes from John "Spud" Milton who attends an all boys boarding school in South Africa set in 1990. His tale is written by way of journal entries which relate his various adventures, trials and humiliations.
John rooms with a group known at school known as the "Crazy Eight" and they never fail to live up to their name. These 13 year old boys are full of schemes and trouble galore. He deals with feeling home sick, the insecurities of not fitting in and being marked as a lowly freshman. Not only is John dealing with the insanity at school but on his breaks he puts up with his crazy family at home. Which includes his paranoid, bottle loving father, his always on the edge mother and stark raving mad grandmother he calls the wombat.
We follow John through his first year of boarding school where he bonds with his crazy roomies, has his first crush, deals with power hungry upper class men and drunken teachers.
I found this book hilarious, honest and surprisingly tender.
I'm happy to say that this is the first book in a series featuring John "Spud" Milton. I can't wait to catch up with him and the rest of the crazy eight again.
I would reccomend this book for readers 14 and up. It's about thirteen year old boys so know that the topic of sex will be brought up, there is crude humor and some rough language.
Excellent Book!
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