Worrals Carries On by W. E. Johns

Worrals Carries On by W.E. Johns

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been thinking a lot about the idea of “outlandishness” in literature, that is to say the notion of people doing things that you would not normally do or believe or countenance and yet somehow you, as the reader, buy into them entirely and find yourself cheering them on. A typical example of this would be the moment that John McClane brings down a helicopter by launching a car at it in one of the Die Hards. (A Die Hard reference in a Worrals review! Today’s unexpected moment!). It is ridiculous and brilliant and stupid and also everything I have every wanted from cinema.

What I am trying to say, in a longwinded sort of manner, is that Worrals Carries On is precisely everything I have ever wanted from a book. It is ridiculous, it is outlandish, it is occasionally deeply stupid (the plot, for example, hinges on the discovery of a geranium leaf on a plane when it returns from a raid….and! it! is! not! a! British! geranium!). And yet it is also amazing. It is everything I have ever wanted.

Let me highlight the amazing. Worrals is built of adamantium and able to survive anything. Amazing. Frecks is her chum and there, as far as I can tell, just to give Worrals somebody to chat with. Amazing. Popping back and forth to France like you’re picking up the milk? Amazing. Foiling the Nazis with our eyes closed because that’s what we do jolly hockeysticks good show? Amazing. Running into spies and double agents every where we go? Amazing.

Can I give this a more literary review? Let’s try. There’s a lot of that determinedly Blytonian quality about Johns’ writing. You will keep going because the book doesn’t allow you to stop. There’s not one inch of this that doesn’t storm towards the inevitable conclusion. It’s a conclusion that wouldn’t know subtlety or nuance if it hit it on the head. I loved it entirely and desperately want to adapt these for television because there’s no way you don’t watch this and then put the next episode on.

Worrals Carries On. What a book. What an absolute car launched at a helicopter kind of book.

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3 thoughts on “Worrals Carries On by W. E. Johns

  1. As a lad I was never drawn to Biggles and his ilk, and have somehow retained a prejudice against all that he stood for. But you make this sound rather more fun than the jingoistic overtones I fancied must percolate through all the Biggles tales. (Sorry about the mixed metaphors!)

    1. I think mixed metaphors are perfectly welcome when I’m describing a book as being ‘like a car launched into a helicopter’ ! 🙂 And I totally understand re jingoism – let’s say it isn’t a particular alien concept to Worrals either but then she dropkicks a Nazi out of the lorry soooo … car. helicopter. that’s about it.

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