Writing Lines by Tony Stuart
|Writing Lines by Tony Stuart|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: A hugely funny book consisting of tales from the the life of George Gordon Wentworth, a teacher in an independent school in Kent. Filled with highly amusing anecdotes about school life, Writing Lines will be a fun read for anyone who has taught or been taught, and it's short chapters make it an ideal book to pick up and read from time to time.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: June 2016|
|External links: Author's website|
George Gordon Wentworth (1946-2011) lived a humdrum life. He was a barely adequate teacher in a fairly world renowned independent school in Kent and kept a copious diary of his quotidian existence. Most of what he recorded was dross. However, amongst all the utterly uninteresting tailings of his life there were some nuggets and grains to catch the attention. Author Tony Stuart has created these amusing anecdotes, panning them out over twenty six episodes which give us the best of Wentworth – comedy gold. From losing all the pupils in his charge on a school trip to being arrested on suspicion of terrorism; from waking up in bed between the married couple the morning after their wedding, to destroying a ski run; from appearing full-frontal naked in a sheep-farmers' gazette to triggering an air-sea rescue; Wentworth was, blinkered and befuddled, the subject – of these and so many more unlikely but highly amusing events.
My Grandfather was a teacher – retiring at an early age in order to help care for a rather unexpectedly arrived grandchild (me), he nevertheless is still greeted on an almost daily basis by former pupils – and whilst I'm aware that he was a highly capable teacher, it was hard not to imagine him when I was reading of the adventures of G.G Wentworth, given that the two are not dissimilar in age.
G.G Wentworth is far more a figure of fun though – one whose bumbling antics and rather fantastic voice become clear to the reader at a very early stage, making him a character one is rather delighted to spend time with, albeit prepared to be injured, offended or otherwise damaged by whatever disastrous situation Wentworth is likely to find himself in.
The changing dates of the entries allow the reader to take a glimpse at Wentworth's adventures in various different decades – unweathered by the changes and always very, very funny. It's a strong writer who can attempt to use both witty word play and slapstick humour in tandem and hope to be equally successful at both, but author Tony Stuart has definitely managed it. In fact, and rather appropriately, several situations and moments had me giggling like a schoolboy. Despite the various pratfalls that befall him though, Wentworth is never treated cruelly or unpleasantly by the author – in fact, he comes across as a rather sympathetic and sad character at times. If you enjoyed Stoner by John Williams, and fancy a book that at times seems like a spoof of that, Writing Lines is absolutely worth a read. And if you haven't, give it a go anyway! If it has you chuckling anywhere near as much as it did me, then it's absolutely worth it.
For further reading I'd recommend The Rev Diaries by Reverend Adam Smallbone – based on the TV series Rev, it's a hilarious account of life as a Reverend, that nevertheless finds space for some tenderness.
You can read more about Tony Stuart here.
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