BOOK REVIEW: S.C.U.M. (Danny Katz, A&U)

Australians of all ages ought to be aware of Danny Katz by now. If you have not heard the name before, go immediately to the Age/SMH website and look up some of his Modern Guru columns—it’s belly-achingly hilarious stuff. As well as his columns, Katz has been turning his grotty, no-holds-barred brand of humour to children’s books for awhile with the ‘Little Lunch’ series and others, and he does it mightily well. S.C.U.M. (Students Combined Underground Movement—the name Tom gives his group of misfit buddies) takes the reader on a day in the life of 14-year-old Tom Zurbo-Goldblatt, facing school bullies, his amusingly big-nosed best mate Ravo (aka Nostrildamus), teachers both hot and horrifying, ‘footydicks and uncos, arseholes and suckheads, smartarses and dumbarses’, and the trauma of asking the girl of his dreams to the school’s Bush Dance. Fast-paced and full of slang and whacky humour, this book will appeal to teenage boys and girls alike, but is really aimed at that tricky demographic of the 14-15-ish male. It’s not for the fainthearted or those overly concerned with being PC.

Hannah Cartmel is an editor with Macmillan and co-founder of the Rag and Bone Man Press. This review first appeared in the June/July issue of Bookseller+Publisher Magazine. View more pre-publication reviews here.

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