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Johnny Nothing by [Probert, Ian]
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Johnny Nothing Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Length: 194 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Age Level: 10 - 18
Grade Level: 9 - 12
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ian Probert has been scribbling down words ever since he learned to spell the phrase: 'Once upon a time...'. He is the author of Internet Spy, Rope Burns and a bunch of other titles. Internet Spy was a bestseller in the US and made into a TV film. Rope Burns is a book about why books shouldn't be written about boxing. Ian has also written things for a shed load of newspapers and magazines. When Ian was a student he used to write lots of letters to the bank manager.

Product Details

  • File Size: 41000 KB
  • Print Length: 194 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Ian Probert; 1 edition (March 5, 2014)
  • Publication Date: March 5, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,211,096 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Modern readers might compare Johnny Nothing to Lemony Snicket, but the book that came most to my mind was Laurence Sterne’s delightful and convoluted Tristram Shandy. Yes, Johnny Nothing is a kid's book and contains nothing of the complexity or depth of Stern’s prose, and yet the frequent segues and digressions, the illustrations and absolute sense of irreverence make me think Johnny Nothing is the perfect book to prepare youngsters for the labyrinths that will await them as adults.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Review of Johnny Nothing by Ian Probert

This book is hilarious! I imagine the target audience is kids (mainly boys?) between the ages of 8 and 12, but this middle-aged woman couldn’t stop laughing – or reading. You know how animated movies are supposed to be for kids, but the jokes are really for the adults? Well, it’s kind of like that. So, don’t be fooled thinking this is just a book for kids. It’s also a book for seriously warped adults.

Johnny Nothing is a 10-year old boy whose parents treat him like cr….er, dirt. To me, he is like a cross between Harry Potter, with the selfish, narcissistic, mean adults making his life a living hell, and sweet Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Johnny is a good kid who makes no complaint despite the horribleness of his parents. He inherits a huge sum from his Uncle Marley, and has a chance for more if he can return a year later having made that money grow.
Of course the despicable parents go crazy spending the money and it’s up to Johnny to rein them in.

Probert’s descriptions are terrific. Here’s what we’re told when we first meet Johnny:

“If Johnny was a colour he wouldn’t’ be yellow or red or blue or green or violet or gold or silver. He’d just be grey. Dull, muddy, grey. If he was a sound he’d be a monotonous drone. If he was a smell, he’d be the smell of nothingness.”

The smell of nothingness – how great is that???

Probert also uses great techniques that made me chuckle, such as talking directly to the reader:

“Am I making myself clear? Johnny’s just ordinary. Just ordinary, except for one thing which I’ll tell you about on page 4 because right now I’ve got to get back to explaining why everybody was BORED.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Johnny Nothing may be BORED but his life is soon to be come far from BORING. Uncle Marley is dead as dead can be, but he is bringing his family to life with his quirky bequeaths and requests at his funeral. Johnny Nothing had nothing, even after Uncle Marley gave him everything. Johnny's mother is the worst mother in the world as she takes his inheritance and spends more and more of his money on her own selfish and outrageous desires. Johnny has to divine a way to stop his mothers spending before she continues on her path to drain the account Uncle Marley left to him before Johnny is able to fulfill Uncle Marley's final request.

This story is written through the eyes of the narrator who gives lively, sometimes overly smelly, descriptions and advice, (don't smoke kids!) bringing a comedic side to Johnny's dark tale. The images in the book are very unique and creative and give a clear picture of just how disgusting Johnny's family is. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A highly amusing and original moral tale about a ten-year-old called Johnny Nothing. ‘He’s not over-clever. He’s not under-stupid.’ Author Ian Probert can certainly give Roald Dahl a run for his money with this novel.

Johnny MacKenzie has two feckless parents who seem to have emerged from all of the worst nightmares of children’s fiction: his mother, Felicity, in truth, is a marvellous invention, unsavoury and selfish, among other things, while his father, Billy is a drinker and gambler and under the thumb, correction – ‘Billy lived in mortal fear of his wife.’ She is definitely the kind of person children of all ages will love to Boo and Hiss at: ‘SILENCE commanded his mother in capital letters.’

Uncle Jake Marley (deceased brother of Felicity) died a millionaire, and bequeathed £1m to Johnny, with the added proviso that if after a year Johnny increased that million rather than spend it he will be in line for a further £10m. Unfortunately, the cash card Johnny inherits is stolen and used by Johnny’s mother.

Marley’s solicitor is Ebenezer Dark, whose image graces the cover of the book. (Maybe Johnny should be on the cover as well as Ebenezer – or even Marley as well?) Might as well mention the illustrations, by the author’s daughter: they’re excellent, conveying that ‘otherness’ that surrounds the characters and the story itself.

Probert is a wordsmith, and loves playing with them, viz: ‘Uncle Marley didn’t mince his words (if he did, they’d probably come out in little gnarled up chunks and you could make wordburgers and chips or spaghetti with wordballs from them).’

I’ve read somewhere that publishers and agents don’t like puns in books. Well, all I can say is, they’re sad people.
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