Spud (Spud, #1)
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Spud (Spud #1)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  3,402 ratings  ·  400 reviews
It's 1990. Apartheid is crumbling. Nelson Mandela has just been released from prison. And Spud Milton - thirteen-year-old, prepubescent choirboy extraordinaire - is about to start his first year at an elite boys-only boarding school in South Africa. Cursed with embarrassingly dysfunctional parents, a senile granny named Wombat, and a wild obsession for Julia Roberts, Spud...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 4th 2007 by Razorbill (first published January 1st 2005)
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Feb 02, 2008 Jennifer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone looking for something different and those YA readers
This is a cool book. It is written in the form of a diary of a 14 year old boy living in South Africa. The year is 1990 and it is his first year at an elite private boys boarding school. The hilarity ensues. All of his experiences and thoughts are realistic and although the feeling of the book is comedic, there are more sobering experiences as well. This is a brand new book this year, a hit in South Africa, and the author is coming out with a sequel. I'm definitely interested in seeing what come...more
Fans of Adrian Mole and Georgia Nicholson will appreciate this latest entry in the adolescent teen diary mode. With wacky family members, teen romance problems, and faithful friends, Spud doesn't disappoint the reader. The added benefit is that it takes place in South Africa at the time of Nelson Mandela's release from prison and the end of apartheid. The seriousness of the political situation is a stark contrast to the laugh out loud situations in Spud's life in a private boy's school. I'm look...more
Sep 27, 2007 Lauren rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
This book has been number one on the bestseller list in South Africa for the last couple of years. Now it is number two, only because the its sequel is number one. With a tag line that touts it as the South African Catcher in the Rye and a rave review from my Penguin rep, I knew I had to read it. Told in almost diary form from the perspective of a 14 year old boy (nicknamed Spud by his dorm mates because his balls haven't dropped yet) who has just started boarding school, this book is laugh out...more
Dec 02, 2008 Anina rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: teen
All the reviews say it's very funny but maybe it's not my type of humor or something because I didn't tjhink it was hilarious.
What's not to like? It's hilarious.
Aug 30, 2014 Skip rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: humor
Thirteen-year old, South African John "Spud" Milton receives a scholarship to attend a prestigious boarding school in 1990 and is excited to escape from his crazy home life. Instead, he becomes part of the Crazy Eight in an equally bizarre, but teenage world dominated by sex, farting, harmful pranks, testosterone. Spud, nicknamed for the slow pace of his pubescent development, develops in many other ways, facing the usual teen pressures, especially when it comes to girls, and his hoped for lead...more
There were points in the book where I had to put it down because I was laughing so hard. Oh man, what a great book to start 2008.
Some amusing bits, some just plain crazy....lots of casual violence...just didn't engage me very much.
The Messenger
Spud! Oh boy do I love this book. Really, what's not to like? It's got a little bit of everything. There's a whole lot of humor accompanied by some life themes, classic literature, and some South African history. Almost anyone could find something they like in this book. At first I wasn't too sure how much I would like the diary-style entries, but I ended up loving them. John "Spud" Milton is a hilarious narrator and he handles the tough format well.
What really makes the book are the characters...more
Tammy Dahle
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 a...more
Richard Nixon
I went to Irish and British boarding schools in the mid-seventies to early eighties. The bulk of my time was spent in Northern Ireland where I experienced The Troubles.

Spud takes place in South Africa at the time of Nelson Mandela's release from prison which serves as the backdrop that "keeps it real" so to speak.

Thirteen year old John Milton goes away to boarding school for the first time, and while he's apprehensive about what awaits him he's equally eager to get away from his crazy family....more
His Succulent Story

With a soprano voice, a small body, and many bunk mates, would you get teased? Spud by John Van de Ruit, is a realistic fiction novel based in 1990 in South Africa. The main characters are Spud, Vern, Gecko, Mermaid, and Wombat. Spud goes to a boarding school in South Africa, where he meets the crazy eight that includes Vern, Gecko, Mad Dog, Rambo, Boggo, Fatty, and Simon. There is definitely a reason why they are called the crazy eight. Spud goes on many fun journeys tha...more
Away From Home
What is your nickname? For John Milton 14, it is Spud. He goes to an all-boys boarding school in South Africa and is the book’s storyteller. Spud has a messy love life that makes things interesting. When he was at boarding school, he meets the “crazy eight”, a group of eight boys who do many outrageous things. The group is made up of Spud, Rambo, Mad Dog, Simon Brown, Rain Man, Gecko, Fatty and Boggo. This historical fiction novel is set in 1990. The author of the book is Joh...more
Oct 13, 2012 Owen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Owen by: Sam
I decided to read Spud because it is sort of like my situation. Mainly the school aspect, which is pretty much the entire book. We both go to all boys schools and have to dress in pointless dress codes. Except, I go to a nearby(ish) school and Spud is at a boarding school in South Africa in the 1990s, at the time of apartheid. Other than that, there isn't much more similarity.

I almost want to say that this is sort of like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I think it's been described somewhere (I...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
From a cultural standpoint, Spud might be too unbelievable to be a 13 going 14 year old boy, but then again, boys, whatever, whoever, wherever they are, have this similar crux of concern. Themes of belonging, madness, and friendship grace through the pages of the book, and all the while, you will laugh with the boys and their ordeals going through an entire year being together in a boarding school.
I appreciate how van de Ruit writes his bildungsroman with wit and wild livery. I admit that throu...more
Ankit Agrawal
The book I read had 309 Pages in Paperback

For the first about 100 pages I thought this book was fully hilarious and I had 5 stars in my mind. But it got a little boring after halfway through as the same jokes were being repeated and I thought there was a lack of creativity from the writer. So for the next 150 pages from 5 stars I had come down to 3 stars for this book. But thanks to the last few pages of the book that I was caught with some good creativeness and the book went to a different leve...more
Amanda Patterson
At last, a South African novel that is just a novel! Someone up there is finally taking note that South Africans are tired of political memoirs and high brow literary offerings that sell 3000 copies and die a lonely death.
Spud leaves its British counterpart, The Diary of Adrian Mole, in the dust. Spud and the Crazy 8 have kept me from my dates with Michael Connolly, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell and Adriana Trigiani. And that's a feat. I have laughed out loud, giggled and smiled and shed a few tears...more
Loved every page of this book! John van de Ruit has made me rethink the way I feel about South African writers. This book is strong enough to compete with any well known writers' work. Spud is the type of character you cant help but love! Even though he is such a typical boy and makes so many bad decisions, you still cant help but cheer him on. Every member of the crazy eight has a special place in my heart. You can learn so much from different characters and how they handle situations. My fave...more
Definitely not South Africa's Catcher in the Rye, despite the many plot parallels and the blurb making big claims. Still, pretty good. As a parent, I was kind of creeped out by the author's acceptance of a horrible boarding school. Are beatings, uncontrolled bullying, insanity,rampant drunkenness, and affairs with students par for the course in South African schools? Yikes!

Spud is very likeable, though a little too good to be true -- star of the school musical, star cricketer, excellent student...more
Blablabla Aleatório
Cotoco, O diário (perversamente) engraçado de um garoto de 13 anos, marcou o début do sul-africano John Van de Ruit como escritor. A obra publicada originalmente em 2005 fez muito sucesso, sendo traduzida para vários idiomas e em 2010 a editora Intrínseca traduziu e publicou esse que é o primeiro livro da série que contará com quatro livros, dos quais três já foram publicados: Cotoco (Spud), Spud – The Madness Continues e Spud – Learning To Fly.
Leia mais: http://feanari.wordpress.com/2012/01/...
Spud is a book I’ve heard lots about, and I’ve watched part of the first movie, but didn’t care much for it. My fifteen-year-old son kept nagging at me to read it, and so did one of my colleagues, until she got fed-up and bought me the book as a gift. Needless to say, I then had to read it. Turns out, Spud is a ton of fun to read!

For those who’ve spent most of their youth in a boarding school, you can only imagine what mischief these boys, in an all boys school, get up to. Their antics are abso...more
I wanted to like this book; with a tagline like "A Wickedly Funny Novel," it should be hilarious, right?

Well, um, it wasn't. I giggled at a couple of things (mostly those involving Wombat, Spud's crazy grandmother), but for the most part, I just felt like the comedy was forced. I only bothered reading this during my lunch breaks; normally if I like a novel that I start at work, I'll take it home. I think it's telling that this book never left my desk (and took 4 weeks to read consequently). Als...more
if only there was more dialogue it would've been even more funny. not that it wasn't. it's just that everyone were either sex-drived, crazy or homosexual. gotta to love boarding school diaries of a young teenage boy. i found myself comparing it to "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian" or at least expecting it to be. do not. it will ruin and make it fall flat. nothing can compare that mouthful of a book and be as good as it was.
This is the diary of John Milton, age thirteen. Winner of a scholarship at the prestigious Michaelhouse, an all-boys boarding school in South Africa, he has little idea of what lies waiting for him. Promptly nicknamed “Spud” (for reasons you best read and find out yourself), his adventures of midnight outings, bossy prefects and eccentric roommates kick off. Join Spud for a year of madness as he makes friends and rivals, sings his heart out, reads his soul ablaze and finds first love.

Although Va...more
Morné Volschenk
Oct 06, 2007 Morné Volschenk rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone!
The adventures of John Milton “Spud” despite its oddness and quirkiness is able to connect with anyone. Refreshingly original and funny the book has a very South African feel but written in such a way as to delight anyone. With astonishing wit and cleverness, as only a 14-year-old spud can provide, there is not a sentence that will not have you giggling with glee. Every page contains some brilliant weirdness to admire and amuse you.
Funny at times, Spud isn't super lovable. He's average, and maybe that's supposed to make him appealing to the reader. I find his lack of a moral compass disappointing. He is socially conscious, which shows some growth in his character, but his disrespect for girls is disturbing. He reminds me of a slightly older Greg from Diary of a Wimpy kid. There's less substance to this book that I had previously heard.
Jus Singh
The book Spud, written by John van de Ruit, is comprised of journal entries ever since the main character, Johnny ‘Spud’ Milton, was sent to a boarding school in South Africa, where he meets bizarre classmates. The ‘Crazy Eight’ are composed of Johnny ‘Spud’ Milton along with seven other friends from his school: Robert ‘Rambo’ Black, Charlie ‘Mad Dog’ Hooper, Henry ‘Gecko’ Barker, Alan ‘Boggo’ Greenstein, Vern ‘Rain Man’ Blackadder, Simon Brown and Sidney ‘Fatty’ Smitherson-Scott. Filled with ho...more
Dnf after 12 pages. Apparently, this book is a riot, but I was hardly able to smile, and that's saying something considering how much I laugh. It's puerile in every sense of the word.

Graham Botha
Spud is a the story of a young South African boy and his experiences in boarding school. Those who are familiar with boarding school will find the story delightfully authentic. Those who are not will gain an insight into the unique experience of boarding school education.
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Is this a book for teen boys in the US? 10 70 Mar 28, 2012 08:40AM  
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John Howard van de Ruit is a South African novelist, actor, playwright and producer. He has been a professional actor, playwright and producer since 1998. He was born in Durban and educated at Michaelhouse, where he stayed in Founders House and from where he matriculated in 1993. He then went on to complete a Masters degree in Drama and Performance at the then University of Natal.

He is best known...more
More about John van de Ruit...
Spud: The Madness Continues Spud: Learning to Fly Spud: Exit, Pursued by a Bear Spud: Journal The Making of Spud the Movie

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