If the Powerpuff Girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice, then Malcolm Samuels is surely made out of profanity and Edifess and all things bitter. Who is Malcolm Samuels, you might ask? He is our sharp-witted, uncompromising 30-year-old mature student and British ex-soldier who has whisked us away on his first university adventure. His independent eyes give us a brutally honest perspective on university life. He needs no hand-holding and he goes in all guns blazing. Think of your finest cup of unfiltered coffee. That would be him.
Samuels takes us through the dark alleys of university and how it may not be as life-changing as it seems. He spends more time defending himself against narcissistic staff members than actually learning. It really makes you think about our schooling system.
One exceptionally striking point he makes is that many lecturers are not teachers, merely experts in their fields. That is definitely something to keep in mind during your next mind-numbing group session. They know the talk, just not how to talk the talk. Whether that makes you empathetic or apathetic is entirely up to you.
While profane and vulgar in language, his points are very thought-provoking, especially if you ever need to make a personal complaint. Personal emails leave a trace, but university ones can disappear as quick as the sun on a Scottish summer’s day, so don’t let your evidence disappear.
Samuels is most definitely “wrecking ball blunt,” as he says himself, and his critique of the mindless tutorial students and inept lecturers is highly entertaining.
His language is incredibly conversational and you can imagine him spilling the beans over a pint or two in Teviot or The Southsider. With that said, he crosses the line more times than you can count. His vulgarity spares no one on his war path – Colin Waring’s “pendulous breasts” are not to be forgotten anytime soon. Sometimes you want to commend him for his bravery and his cracking comments, other times you’ll want to shake it out of him.
School struggles are not all that Samuels must face and he admirably tackles his own stigma of depression in the chaotic, disintegrating status of his long-term relationship. Where so many turn to addictive substances, Samuels is truly amazing in throwing himself into books. He allows us to imagine far more productive means of coping. Given that he’s already experienced life freely to the age of 30, it is no wonder that a more controlled and personal education can act as solace.
Malcolm Samuels has crafted a brilliant knee-slapper of a novel. His tell-all is absolutely brutal in its execution. The colloquial, casual format of his book allows you to opt in and out at whichever anecdote you please. Given his vicious personality, you’ll want to take breaks now and again but his addictive, infectious wacky stories reel you right back in. He has lived a life already but has even more to say about these short years in university. You’ll definitely find yourself agreeing to many of his valid points but mentally scolding him for taking the low road is so many more. This is definitely a book you won’t want to miss in your own university expedition.
The Dark Side of University by Malcolm Samuels
Image: kreatikar via Pixabay.