Backward Toad reviews “In Complete Circles”


I received an anonymous e-mail from someone calling himself (or herself – but I assume he’s male) “The Backward Toad” who’s written a review of my book and asked me to put it on the blog. He said that if I didn’t publish it on the blog he would unleash a deadly virus that would wipe out all of humanity. So in the interest s of saving the human race from certain extinction here goes…

Nostalgia, Nostalgia, Nostalgia!
Once I started, it wasn’t too long before I was finished, but it is the sort of memoir that I could easily pick up and read again when the mood takes me. The author’s schooldays appear to have been quite similar to my own. If you like a bit of nostalgia, then you’re in for a real treat with “In Complete Circles.”

I think that Ward’s greatest achievement with the memoirs, is to make the familiar and commonplace seem slightly off-beam and new. All of us who attended an all boys’ school surely have memories of the “fight after school” to which two blazered gladiators had challenged each other to, and which we spent most of the day waiting on with anticipation? More than nine times out of ten these turned out to be spectacularly anti-climatic affairs, with the “fight” either being pre-empted by a teacher or other adult (much to our consternation!), or else the two warriors proved to be much less warlike when they faced the deed, and ended up either walking away or even making friends again! This proves the point that it is much more difficult to fight/hate people that you actually know! Not that this prevented some budding authors with brilliant imaginations spreading tales of a bloodbath the next day at school – again he brilliantly encapsulates these common memories in a very droll way. Similarly, we all recall teachers from school who were real characters (the teaching profession sometimes appears to attract them), and Ward again has captured our memories of one such character, and turned him into a live and animated figure.

Sometimes memoirs can carry a melancholy strain or an edge of bitterness about certain incidents and issues: there is none of this spleen here, and neither does he seek to settle any old scores with anyone. These would simply seem out of place in the scheme of this book. Overall, you get the impression from reading the work that this is a individual with a dry, wry sense of humour, with a magnificent memory for detail, who strives to be happy and see the funny side of life.

Whatever the result of the book’s publication in terms of sales, I strongly suspect that we have not heard the last of CW as an author, and “In Complete Circles” will prove to be merely the first gold coins in a large and rich treasure trove which has yet to be unearthed. Keep watching, folks!!

The Backward Toad