As I’ve said in the past, once I start a series of books, somehow I have to make it through to the end. So, after finding Spud absolutely amazingly brilliantly funny (yes, it deserves all that and a bag of chips), I had to keep going. And with a title like Spud – The Madness Continues, I knew that John van de Ruit’s next Spud book was all set to be as crazy funny as the last one.
Spud Milton is back for his second year at the prestigious all-boys school. But, while he may no longer be an uncertain first year, things are still not perfect for the late-developing Spud. With his slightly mad girlfriend plaguing him and another girl hanging in the background, his dorm-room friends, the Crazy Eight, convincing him to go on adventures that may well get him expelled and a sadistic housemaster and set of prefects wanting his head, Spud’s got a lot to deal with. And that’s not even mentioning his mother’s plan to move to England and his mad grandmother who seems to be getting more senile every time they meet. Will Spud survive or will it all get too much for him to handle? Madness here we come!
As I mentioned in the Spud review, I had a few issues about the difference between the book and the film version of Spud. And as the madness continues in this second book so do my issues. Again I found myself meeting a whole lot more characters in the book and they were fairly interesting characters with decent dialogue too. I would have liked a chance to see them portrayed on the big screen. In this second film, Spud- The Madness Continues, Spud is also again made into the ultimate hero who saves the day. But, having read the book, I don’t think that Spud not saving the school from Sparerib and the prefect bullies or saving the Crazy Eight single-handedly from expulsion made him any less of a hero in the book. After all, Spud is just a fourteen-year-old boy and what kind of fourteen year old has enough guts to save a school? Spud’s (could I call it) non-heroism makes him more realistic and relatable in the book. And of course, Spud’s single-handed heroism is not the only plot line that has been changed in the film. Again I found myself watching scenes in this second film that I had read about shockingly in either the first or the third film. In addition, many of the more exceptional adventures that Spud goes on like (I think I can mention it without giving too much away) his trip to England are missing from the film and replaced with more school madness than anything else. I guess I understand why they cut some scenes: they wanted a more focused storyline, the focus being on the sadistic prefects and Sparerib. But, by taking away the exciting other adventures that make Spud’s life-story more complicated, the producers also took away most of the madness in Spud- The Madness Continues. The movie’s just not as crazy as the book and (I will be honest) when I watched the movie for the first time I found myself asking: why is it called “the madness continues”? When I read the book I figured out why.
In My Humble Opinion:
In my last blog post, I mentioned a highly controversial topic that is scattered throughout the book, homosexuality, and how John van de Ruit incorporates it so that it still seems that Spud is naive. But, that was quite a heavy issue for such a light-hearted book so I decided that this time round I would chat about some of the characters that make this book so super funny. Listed below are some of the characters and their quirks:
Amanda (Julia Roberts): We were all introduced to Amanda in Spud’s first year when she acted with him in Oliver. Amanda, who is described in the book as a red-haired Julia Roberts, is a little bit of a strange character. She seems quite aloof (she describes it as shy in the first book but the way she acts cannot be described as shy) and spends a large part of her time completely ignoring Spud. But then suddenly she’ll randomly start flirting with him and she expects him to be all over her. Poor Spud is left completely stricken and confused about Amanda. Perhaps it would be better if he just watched her fro afar like he does with the real Julia Roberts.
Mr Edly (The Guv): In one of the Spud books (I can’t remember which one but if you find it, please tell me where it is) The Guv is described as someone better suited to be an English comedic actor than an English teacher at a boys school. This struck me because doesn’t the English comedic actor description sound just like John Cleese who played The Guv in the films (talk about typecasting – to quote Spud in the first film). The Guv is a really funny character and even though he is slightly oddball his eccentricities make him a really likable character. Being a drunkard also makes him down-to-earth – after all, it’s a character flaw.
Mermaid (Debbie): Okay, so if you’ve only watched the film (which I hope you haven’t) and you haven’t read Spud (which by now, I hope you have) you may not know that Spud’s girlfriend is a little insane. Ok, a lot insane! Poor Spud is driven crazy with the whole on-again-off-again thing and no one seems to realise what Mermaid is doing except poor Spud who doesn’t know what to do about it.
Julian: In the film versions of Spud and Spud – The Madness Continues, we don’t really get to know Julian the way we do in the books. When I first started Spud and read about Julian and his crazy antics, I wasn’t so sure about him. He sounded a bit like a really awful bully and when I read that he was going to be around Spud and his friends again, I had serious (but understandable) concerns that Spud was going to be in for something nasty. But, Julian isn’t half bad. His (shall I call it) queer nature makes him both likable and really funny. Read the book if you want to see how funny he is.
The Crazy Eight: No one character in the Crazy Eight can be considered more or less important than any of the others. They each have their own quirks and personalities but it’s their combined personalities that make them truly the funniest group of boys. Between Fatty’s superstitious nature, Rain Man’s insanity, Boggo’s sordid mind, Simon’s competitiveness, Mad Dog’s bloodlust and Rambo’s slightly eskewed leadership they make a for a crazy messed up bunch.
Wombat: I don’t think Wombat can be classed, in any way, as a likable character. She’s rude, senile, and a definite racist. While I am usually quite interested in cantankerous old fruit-bats, I didn’t find anything interesting about Wombat But, her awfulness is exactly what Spud’s family situation needs. After all, do we not all have that one relative who doesn’t seem to like us? Wombat’s rudeness makes the story realistic.
Mr and Mrs Milton (Mom and Dad): Would any teenage life be complete without weird parents? Spud’s might be weirder than most. They arrive at his sports matches to drink, force him to visit his psychopathic grandmother, get into the strangest scrapes during school time and the holidays, tend to have nasty arguments and are generally a little insane. And if you don’t believe me, read till the end of Spud – The Madness Continues.
Spud: Well, if you really want to know about Spud, READ THE BOOKS! 😉
So, again. Grab some tissues (because you are going to laugh so much, you cry), find a quiet place (you don’t want any people to be taken by surprise when you fall off your chair, couch, wall or floor again) and don’t drink anything for at least two hours before you start reading (seriously, I don’t want anyone wetting themselves again). Grab the book by clicking on the picture or one of the red links, which will take you directly to Amazon.