|Parents, Zits, and Hairy Bits: the three worst nightmares of any new teenager. In this, his fourth book, Gez Walsh sets out to explore, through the eyes of Wilf, the strange landscape that confronts him at the tender age of thirteen, and capture those feelings in verse. There’s still a raw undertone of farting, gross smells, and pooh (it wouldn’t be a Gez Walsh book otherwise) but a few strange new notes are starting to creep in. Girls used to be for ignoring, or at best for playing football with, but now they’re beginning to hold a strange fascination. Parents, who used to occasionally come out with the odd bit of sense, now seem to be speaking completely in fluent Martian. Hormones raging, Wilf staggers through this bitter-sweet collection that captures every gut-wrenching embarrassment in the everyday life of a kid who has lived for just over a dozen crowded years.
So, here is a book which offers you two chances at enjoying it: if you’re too young to be an adolescent, revel in Never Kiss My Dog or Chitty Chitty Oh No, the car that can’t make it uphill, or the punk singer formerly known as Vomit who now manages a bank, or even Gez’s bizarre re-telling of the Goldilocks story, where Goldilocks gets duffed up by the bears for eating their porridge.
If, however, you’ve now got to that scary stage where your body is doing things it never did before, you’re sure to share Wilf’s feelings, as expressed in poems like Teenager and Spots. Finally, when all this teenage angst gets to be too much, don’t forget to turn back and read Timmy’s Ten Pound Turd or Crazy Maisie, and exercise your chuckle muscles in the time honoured manner.
Once more, Gez Walsh has produced a selection of verse for everybody: read, laugh, and enjoy, and who knows, school, teachers, spots, classmates, mums, dads, growing up and other painful problems might just seem a bit less of a pain than they were before you shared Wilf’s view of them.
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