Crump by PJ Vanston

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Crump by PJ Vanston

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A comic campus novel in which Crump rails against the forces of political correctness. It's a well-written light read, although veers a little too much into a basic manifesto in places. Those who hate political correctness will love it.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 344 Date: March 2010
Publisher: Matador
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1848762855

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It's Kevin Crump's first day as a lecturer at Thames Metropolitan University - an ex-polytechnic. It's the happiest day of his life, and he can't wait to see all that it holds, and make a difference to all his students. And then it hits him: the relentless pettiness of authority figures, the students who can't string two sentences together, the lowering of standards in search of higher test scores, so more money from foreign students, and political correctness gone (as I believe the saying goes) mad.

Crump is a modern comic campus novel, with an engaging writing style, that grabs you from the first page and keeps you entertained throughout. The characters are writ large (some a little too large), the satire easy to get to grips with, and it all flows nicely from the page. It won't blow your socks off, but as comic novels go, it ticks enough of the right boxes and makes for an enjoyable, light read, perhaps for lounging around on the beach or by the pool. Frustrated teachers on their summer holidays will either find it blessed relief, or a little too close to the bone for comfort.

Where Crump unravels a little for me is when we're treated to Crump's inner thoughts. What begins as developing his character and moving the plot along, gradually becomes more and more a manifesto. Crump wondered... at the beginning of a paragraph becomes synonymous with Someone wrote to the Daily Mail letters page saying... There are plenty of occasions where the humour from awkward political correctness fuels understandable frustrations, but equally there are times when it jolts you out of the story. There are fascinating and nuanced arguments to be made on all sides and about all aspects of political correctness, racism, sexism, homophobia, but Crump's thinking always seems to be a step or two back from the most thought-provoking and telling humour.

For those who find political correctness to be the bane of their life, there's a lot to enjoy in Crump. It preaches to the choir, but they'll enjoy all the potshots. The wider audience will still find a sprightly-written and amusing read, offering plenty of promise. It'll be interesting to see what PJ Vanston produces in the future. Crump is worth considering.

My thanks to the author for sending it to Bookbag.

Nice Work and Thinks... by David Lodge are the perfect starting places for further reading. Driven to Distraction by Jeremy Clarkson is... well, Jeremy Clarkson! You know what you're getting! Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blachman is worth a look too, for its irreverence and scant regard being paid to political correctness.

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