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Book Review: Billy Bunter in Brazil by Frank Richards

William George Bunter, also Billy Bunter, is a fictional schoolboy character created by the writer Charles Hamilton under the pen name Frank Richards. On this character many stories were published from 1908 to 1940 in the magazine called The Magnet - boy's weekly story paper.

Unlike other famous school-boy or school-girl characters, Billy wasn’t a stereotype hero. Rather he was bad at studies and sports. He had an overweight appearance and of course gluttonous. His nick name is Fat Owl: he is all greedy, self-centered, racist, lazy, stupid and mean. All anti-hero traits one can ever found in a boy. However, all these traits are not recognized to him, in his mind he is an archetypal figure, and everyone around him is useless and beast. That is being solipsism and self-centered about him. He called his fellow mates ‘Beasts’.

But still his persistence in the face of inevitable failure gathers sympathy for him from the readers. What leads to humorous moments and sets him free from the terrific immovable situations? The answer is ventriloquism and cheery optimism.

Most of the stories have taken place at Greyfriars School. A boarding school in a fictional village called Friardale. Readers could connect that the school is somewhere in Kent, England. According to age, seven forms is of what the school is made up of, Bunter belongs to Remove, age 14 - 15 years.

Billy Bunter in Brazil is a pure fun read, in this story Billy seems obsessed about hols (holidays). He hops from one boy to another but of no use initially. His previous stories are centered on school and revolve around Billy Bunter stealing food and getting ragged by his classmates. There was not even a semblance of a story, but yes fun is ever present.

Well, Billy Bunter in Brazil is completely different. Billy travels to Brazil with his friends and they have an adventure like the Enid Blyton mystery or adventure stories. The journey to Brazil, the food (which seems to be an attraction only for Bunter) and all the other local attraction managed to attract readers as well. The mystery as such is predictable and crime lovers may find it no big deal. But the whole children's adventure feel is delightful. This book can give a real delightful 2-3 hours. Hoping the rest of the Bunter books live up to this one. If they manage to, with so many around, they promise hours and hours of sheer joy.

As a proper fiction though, it is lacking in many aspects. It does not delve deep into characters. It remains at surface level and readers only get to know the peculiarities of the character and the various things known to external world. The relationships are also interlayered. Everyone seems to get on well with everyone else except Bunter who is universally detested, but not in a cruel way. Everyone still does their bit for Bunter and things usually turn out well for him in the end. Overall, there is a feel good to it with Bunter happy in the end.  

This post first appeared on Kevein Books And Reviews, please read the originial post: here

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Book Review: Billy Bunter in Brazil by Frank Richards


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