Review: Lockie Leonard Human Torpedo

9780141307305Lockie Leonard Human Torpedo by Tim Winton

Penguin Books Australia, 1990

Yep, it’s summer and I’m on a middle grade/ YA surf reading spree. I actually loved this book. I really appreciated it but I don’t think teenage boys quite would:  it’s a bit… almost literary? A bit old-fashioned. I love the voice — snappy and masculine — but to me it sounds more like Tim Winton’s childhood than a modern day one.

Lockie Leonard, hot surf-rat, is in love. The human torpedo is barely settled into his new school, and already he’s got a girl on his mind. And not just any girl: it has to be Vicki Streeton, the smartest, prettiest, richest girl in the class. What chance have you got when your dad’s a cop, your mum’s a frighteningly understanding parent, your brother wets the bed and the teachers take an instant dislike to you and then you fall in love at twelve-and-three-quarter years old? It can only mean trouble, worry, mega-embarrassment and some wild, wild times.

Sentences I found funny

“The Leonards called Lockie the Human Torpedo because he took so long to get out of bed in the morning. Actually Lockie was slow at almost everything…”

“Lockie’s method of eating Weetbix was truly, awesomely foul. Let me just say that it involved a lot of milk, an overripe banana, and a spud masher.”

“Lockie’s mum was the serious sort. She liked to be involved; she was concerned, conscientious. She’d even been to Parent Effectiveness Training and for a few weeks after that she was just a flaming nuisance.”

“He went to school with a great daggy smile on his face like he’d come half-stoned from the dentist.”

[Trying to get his wetsuit off] “He pulled up from the front and got his arms pinned to his chest. No good. He pulled the vest down again and tried reaching back behind him and he ended up looking like a dumb 13-year-old pashing on with himself inside a bag.”

“I’m nuts,” he told himself. “I am a flamin’ fruitcake.”

Surf stuff:

“Genuine surf rat, grommet extraordinaire.”

“He picks off the second without any trouble. He took the drop loose-kneed and casual, taking out a wide, leaning bottom turn before hammering back up at the lip. As he swung round off the top again, he saw the hairy kid dropping in from the shoulder. You rotten mongrel, he thought.”

“It was a foul day, no argument. Southerly wind, no surf, and school tomorrow.”

“The air was colder than the water and his teeth were doing First Year Typing like they’d never heard of liquid paper.”

“The sun was almost down as he caught his last wave, leaning and cutting across its orange glistening surface as it rolled towards the beach like the twist in a great monster’s tail. His hand trailed in the smooth wall; he tossed his head back and hooted as the pitching funnel of its insides shot him down the line. He wasn’t thinking of anything. He didn’t need to.”


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