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Johnny Nothing Kindle Edition
|Length: 194 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 10 - 18|
|Grade Level: 9 - 12|
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Top Customer Reviews
Soon you get to know the characters first hand and let me tell you they are something. Felicity is that self-centered woman/mother that can't see beyond her and what she needs. I know her! Bill, well he's just that browbeaten, pathetic character. And then there's Johnny. He's that neglected kid that you want to help and you just pray he is going to find a way out of his situation, which had gone from bad to extremely bad. The characters were very well crafted.
This story is a humorous but a bit snarky and cynical look at people, money, family and relationships. It is worth reading, I do recommend it.
Forget the story, Johnny Nothing is a roller coaster ride back into the young male mind (or, for female readers the first accurate glimpse) as he perceive parents, grandparents, teachers, elders, funerals, flatulence or scatalogical matters of any kind, prepubescent sexuality, social rituals such as dining and parties, church and boogers.
To be honest, when Probert finally settles into the plot, the book looses half of its fun. But he still manages to infuse the story with preposterous scenarios such as two lawyers, asleep at the wheel and daydreaming in the same lane on the highway.
Johnny Nothing’s self-centered parents neglect him to the point that his only pair of shoes are his father’s size 12 loafers. He earned the nickname "Nothing" because he wears the same set of clothes every day and brings nothing in his lunch bag. His rich Uncle Marley leaves nothing to the family but Johnny, whose inheritance is a million dollars.
Johnny must earn one penny more than that million in a year in order to receive ten times that much. The only problem is, Johnny’s mother is determined to spend his money as quickly as possibly, and none of it on him.
Probst prose punches readers in the face like a clown hammer. Ever line sets up a gag or delivers it with unabashed glee. Adults will relish every joke or find them fiendishly inappropriate for children, which makes them all the more perfect for kids.
I don’t know how your inner little girl will feel about Johnny Nothing but my inner eighth grade boy thinks Johnny Nothing is funnier than farting in the front of church when the Franciscan Sisters pray.
Phillip T. Stephens is the author of Cigerets, Guns & Beer and Raising Hell.
Johnny Nothing is the story of Johnny MacKenzie, a kid whose parents are so awful, and so stingy toward their son in everything from affection, to clothing, to even food, that the kids at school call him Johnny Nothing. But then a rich uncle dies and leaves him a million pounds and a task: if he can return exactly one year later having increased the money by even the smallest amount, Johnny’s inheritance will be increased tenfold. Obviously, it would be the easiest thing in the world to simply leave the money in the bank for a year and collect interest, but this is a moral test, and Johnny’s horrible, greedy parents fail it eagerly, taking Johnny’s money and going on a spending spree that will not only lead him to fail in his task, but to end the year as penniless as he began. What will Johnny do? That’s where the story’s twists and turns—and its surprisingly humane resolution—come in.
With a bag of tricks that includes potty humor, self-referential asides, hilarious digressions, visual aids, and even footnotes, Probert writes like a cross between Lemony Snicket and David Foster Wallace, as channeled by your best friend’s obnoxious older brother. You know, the one whose number one mission in life is to Gross. You. Out. Kids will love the book’s descriptions of nasty aromas and general corporeal unpleasantness, but Probert writes with a biting and often subtle wit that will surprise and charm adults as well. As I read, I imagined youthful readers coming back to this story years later, perhaps reading it to their own children, and laughing out loud at jokes that had gone right past them as youngsters.
And there are a lot of jokes. This is the kind of book that will spend half a chapter listing dozens of puns and allusions about countries the characters have visited on a world tour: “They got hungry in Hungary. So they had Turkey in Turkey. And Chicken in Kiev…They found Nuremberg a trial. They thought that Guinea was foul. They went to a party in Toga…” and on and on for two-and-a-half pages, until we finish with: “In the end they simply flew back to France—they had nothing Toulouse.” If that kind of humor makes you groan, there are also subtle, satirical gems, like this description of a lawyer: “He looked how James Bond might look if he lived on meat and potato pies and worked for the council and had a license to read legal documents.” And if that joke is too dry for you, don’t worry, there will be another joke—probably a big, sloppy wet one--within the next two sentences.
As a journalist and the author of Rope Burns, a meditation on boxing, Ian Probert usually writes for an adult audience, and he seems to have approached this book with a "What kind of children's book would I like to read?" mentality--an approach I wholeheartedly endorse. Parents may tut-tut at some passages, but this is a book that respects children's intelligence. My only complaint about it has nothing to do with the content, but rather the cover art. The interior illustrations are so arresting and beautifully colored, I can’t image why this particular illustration—not of Johnny, but of his lawyer—was chosen, or why it was rendered in such an unappealing, yellow-green monochrome. This vibrant, funny, shocking, charming, and highly entertaining book deserves a cleverer—and more welcoming—face. I found it off-putting; but I’m glad I looked past it, because the story inside is a lovingly crafted, one-of-a-kind read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Why I'm Giving This Five (Stars)
I’m giving Johnny Nothing five (stars) because it’s a truly unique...Read more