Book Review: The Club

2008-12-03 00:00

ST Patrick’s has all the trappings of an upmarket school. There are school plays, the pupils can opt for rowing and there are mahogany notice boards.

From then on the novel falls into the same category as many stories about what happens at these institutions. The pupils are crafty and resourceful and the teachers are gullible out-of-touch halfwits who are unable to see what is happening right under their very noses. There seem to be only three members of staff. The headmaster, Dr Cawe, is called The Moo Cow (!), there is a decent hard-working woman nicknamed The Ostrich and there is Brother Peter who tries, in a not very Christian way, to undermine the headmaster. He is himself easily manipulated by the school mafia. The school is controlled, and I mean controlled, by a group of pupils who call themselves The Ess Club. They have their own website, they hack into the school computer system, they handle large sums of money and if you are taken in by this sort of thing, they run MI5 a close second. They have a spin doctor who can afford whisky, a girl named Cherry who “leaks state booze”, a special projects manager and a marketing manager. While we would be foolish to overlook how sophisticated some of our youngsters are nowadays, I think a lot of this is over the top. Some of the dialogue at their meetings is certainly too much. Mammuso, the main character, is unbelievably cynical. This is only partially redeemed by her attempts to protect her brother Jacob. The attempt at match fixing and the betting involved in the inter-house cricket final is very unrealistic and it simply doesn’t work. There is some reasonably descriptive language and I think the reader is meant to like Jacob and his irrepressible chatter but that doesn’t work either. This is not a must-read.

Gordon Crossley

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