Johnny Nothing: Ian Probert

WARNING: This book will seriously damage your funny bone.

Oh, Wow. Dark, sordid, grotesque and hilarious are only a few words I can conjure up to describe this hilarious book. When I was sent the email, it was described as a children’s book however I am absolutely positive that this would be enjoyed greatly by a reader of any age! It’s a comedy mixed not only with gruesome descriptions and incredibly beautiful illustrations, but it also has a message and a moral that could teach any of us a good lesson! I absolutely loved this book so grab a copy and settle down to read!

The poorest boy in school has just inherited £1 million. But there is a catch: If he can hold on to his cash for a whole year he will earn ten times that amount. Enter Felicity MacKenzie, the ugliest, sweatiest, vilest, cruelest, hairiest mother in the western world. When she steals her son’s money and goes on the spending spree to end all spending sprees it seems that Johnny Nothing will stay poor forever. However, Johnny has a plan – he will imprison his parents and force them to do homework and go to bed early as punishment. Join Johnny Nothing, Bill and Ben the bouncer men, Ebenezer Dark and a cast of literally dozens in (probably) the funniest book you will (most likely) ever read in (some of) your lifetime. Learn why solicitors like handbags; why dead people are windier than the North Sea; why parents dislike electrocution; and what happens to you after you die.

Johnny Nothing is BORED; he is BORED of being poor, he is BORED of his horrible parents and he is BORED of being Johnny Nothing; but, things are about to be far from BORING. Uncle Marley is (recently) as dead as a doornail and as the family members begin to crowd around the body like vultures over a dead carcass, waiting for the reading of the will, it appears that Uncle Marley has made a bit of a joke of his family. The family will receive nothing like the money that they expected or desired. Instead one million pounds will go to little Johnny Nothing. But that’s not all; if he can keep the money for a year and put at least a penny more in the bank, Johnny will receive a further ten million. Sounds easy, right? Not if your mother is Johnny Nothing’s mother. She decides (rather arrogantly) to take control of the cash-card, and makes herself busy; trips to Harrods, holidays abroad, new appliances, hundreds of different pieces of clothing and finally to top it off, a party to end all parties. This party has not only 500 guests, but food by Gordon ******* Ramsey, and an appearance by none other than the ‘Rolling Stones.’ Johnny’s mother, (being the worst mother in the world,) takes his inheritance and spends it on her own selfish, outrageous, and expensive desires, splashing the cash to a tune of 500,000. Johnny has to stop her so that he can take control of HIS inheritance and therefore HIS future! But how? Johnny calls Ebenezer Dark (the solicitor) and takes control, employing two bodyguards and imprisoning his parents in their own home to stop the spending so that Johnny is able to fulfil Marley’s final request and gain the further ten million pounds that will change Johnny’s life forever. However, there is a catch, Johnny has never been in charge of so much money before, and as he looks at the people around him that have so very little, Johnny finds himself giving to others. As the money spirals out of control (once again) Johnny must stop giving his money away and try and claw back the money that he has inherited! Can he do it? You will have to read it to find out!

The main strength I found with this book is in the narrative style; written through the eyes of the narrator Probert does not hold back. The prose is lively and really uses some colourful, overly gruesome and salacious language and description; which really brings the story and the characters to life! The description really brings a darker sense to the book and really helps to show how disgusting and arrogant Johnny’s family really is only pulling the reader more strongly into the book. The writing of the book is self-assured and doesn’t dip in its efficiency in telling the story exactly as it is! This is also shown in the illustrations of the book, which I think are absolutely stunning, they really add to the book and make it even more fun and exciting. When I found out the author of the book is also the illustrator I was stunned! They are brilliant and help to show the tone of the book as a whole. They have a really dark style that only adds to the genre and writing style of the book. I also loved the use of different forms of text; some words are in bold, some are written in lists, there is a competition leaflet embedded in one of the chapters, whilst the author also messes around with the placement of the paragraphs to show the awkward silences between the characters. This is ingenuous and I think would really make reading fun for any advancing reader. I loved this book it is silly and hilarious, but it also has a message that runs through the book that will teach a lesson to the reader. I thought that this book screamed of maturity and a real knowledge of how to fascinate the reader and engross them in the plot and the characters. A very brilliant written book with a real understanding of style and prose! AWESOME! (And not BORING at all!)





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