May Contain Nuts: (The World of Norm)

May Contain Nuts:(The World of Norm);Jonathan Meres; Orchard Books, September 2011

Book summary (taken from Amazon UK): Why on earth did Norm’s family have to move, anyway? In their old house he’d never tried to pee in anything other than a toilet. And when Norm is in bed, he’s kept awake by his dad snoring like a constipated rhinoceros! Will life ever get less unfair for Norm?

Literature for Lads review:

When Harry Hill is quoted on the front of a book saying its ‘Hilarious Stuff!’ it’s fair to say most people will be expecting a laugh out loud, highly amusing romp of a novel.  Does ‘The World of Norm’ deliver the bellyaches and giggles you would expect? You bet it does!  From the opening chapter where we meet Norm about to pee in his Dad’s wardrobe this is indeed ‘Hilarious stuff!’

Norm is a 12 year old boy in the mould of Harry Enfield’s ‘Kevin the Teenager.’ He’s just recently moved house, has two extremely annoying younger brothers and is broke.  Life according to Norm is ‘just so unfair’.  As we follow Norm’s quest to ‘pimp up his bike’ we are entertained by the many comical scenes and situations he ends up in.

Jonathan Meres has captured the feelings and motivations of adolescent boys superbly.  Norm is completely believable and almost annoyingly life like.  At times you feel almost as frustrated as Norms Mum and Dad as he once again expresses an amazing brand of teenage selfishness or stupidity! However you can’t stay angry with Norm for long because before too long you know that once again there will be another genuine laugh out loud scene.

The cast of characters in the book all contribute to the comedy contained within the book.  Mums addiction to shopping channels, Dad’s pulsating angry vein, and Grandpa’s trips to the bookmakers all provide the reader with funny moments.  Mere’s also makes reference to modern technology and current celebrities meaning the book feels fresh and modern. The book is also enhanced enormously by Donough O’Malley’s illustrations.  The book is full of them, almost one a page and they very much add to the humour of the book.

Without a doubt this is an amusing and funny book but it does also touch on a more serious issue.  The impact a gambling addiction can have on a family, the whole reason Norm and his family have had to move house, is touched on briefly and puts across the impact something like this can have. (Although one could argue that Grandpa doesn’t really seem to have been affected by these recent events!)

‘The World of Norm’ is an entertaining, thoroughly amusing novel.  It’s full of jokes, comedy scenes, and rip-roaring laughs.  Teenage boys will love it and will easily identify with Norm – in fact they will probably think they are Norm!  However if Mum and Dad see this book lying around I suggest they read it as well.  It might just explain a few things!

Marks out of 10: 9

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Here is the trailer for the book…