My opinion on Indian authors took a complete 360 after I read “Horrid High” by Payal Kapadia. The fictional and extremely humorous story revolved around an unwanted child (Ferg Gottin), sent away to a boarding school, and all the interesting characters he meets along the way. To say I enjoyed the book would be an understatement, although I felt sort of guilty to enjoy at the expense of Ferg and his companions.
One of my favorite features of the book would be the characters and their names. The characters and their backgrounds add a really fun element to the book by their off- the-top stories, names and roles. The names of the characters have puns hidden in them, like the protagonist: Ferg Gottin, or as I read at first ‘Forgotten’, just as the he is in the story by his parents. Even Faughty Winks, unlike his name he won’t take short naps but long and endless sleep breaks unpredictably. Each character has their own niche in the story which link exceptionally well in the end.
Chef Gretta Gross’ cooking had my close to puking and her hatred for good food had me laughing till I had tears in my eyes. Vera Verbosa’s horrible habit of raking her long, purple nails along the blackboard had me cringing violently and I quivered along with Ferg and the rest of the gang every time they faced Principal Perverse. The pen and ink illustrations were a plus along with Payal’s vivid description. But the vividness of the description wasn’t always a plus point. When it was related to the inhumane, condition of the school or the dank, green waters of the pool, vivid descriptions had me close to barfing.
The innocence of the children in the boarding school is captured really well in book by the small details like the, like the joy the children showed in the midnight chocolate escapades, or the fright experienced by Mesmer and Imana while crossing the dark hallway to their other friends’ dorm, even the fact that they named a mouse Peter and shared their chocolate with it in prospect of having a new friend.
“Horrid High” essentially has the ordinary school life, with the bullies and the nerve-wrecking process of making new friends but with un-expected twist to them… Like a bully with a very voluminous derrière (Volumina Butt, yet another pun) that sits on her victims and making friends over pick pocketing, lock-picking and hypnosis.
This book has taught me not to under-estimate Indian authors and all-in-all I very much enjoyed this book and am hoping for a “Horrid High 2” which I hear will be releasing later this year.
November 8, 2015