by John van de Ruit (Penguin) ISBN: 9780143530244
Spud Milton has finished school and vanished into his future. Matric, with its agonies: maths, strange school rituals, The Glock, Mermaid; and its ecstasies: drama, cricket, The Guv, Mermaid; has ended. The Crazy Eight have grown up. Spud has changed over the four books - in a good way.
I enjoyed reading the fourth novel as much as any of the others. Once again, I was struck by the simple fact that the series has been so successful because the books are just about a boy dealing with the difficulties of growing up. For South Africans, that pleasure is rare. We usually have to trudge through a political mess of meaning if we want to read a local author. Van de Ruit is also a very good writer. His comedic timing and talent is as brilliant as ever. He has polished his style, and his writing has improved with each book.
South African fiction was given a second chance when Spud was published. I hope to see many more novels like these. I am grateful that Spud Milton enriched the reading lives of so many young South Africans.