Review: ‘Fintan Fedora the World’s Worst Explorer’, by Clive Goddard

Bedbound for a significant portion of the week, I wanted something light to take my mind off things, so I escaped to the jungle with Fintan Fedora the World’s Worst Explorer.  We follow the inept fourteen-year-old Fintan and Gribley, his put-upon butler, as the former decides to go on a quest for the possibly mythical chocoplum in the deepest darkest jungles of Brazil. On his way he manages to pick up a trail of would-be kidnappers eager for a ransom, in addition to a few supposed business rivals…

The blurb promised me a ‘stupidly funny escapade’ and in this it does not fail to deliver, as the humour is almost all derived from the protagonist’s stupidity. Although some jokes miss the mark – and Fintan’s clumsiness does become rather overstated by the seventeenth accident he causes – the book did elicit a few chuckles as I made my way through several boxes of Lemsip. Like Billionaire Boy (David Walliams), much of the plot and many of the jokes in Fintan Fedora the World’s Worst Explorer are very Dahl-esque, revelling in the grotesque and absurd. The obstacles generated by Fintan’s clumsiness provide many of the laughs, such as the image of furious piranha-nibbled Gonzalez with his false ginger beard.

Perfectly paced, the plot is tight and fast moving, never allowing the reader to be bored or a moment’s reflection. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read, particularly as there was a nice mix of the predictable and the unanticipated, in humour as well as elements of the plot. I did wish, however, that at least Gribley had noticed their pursuers earlier, as the belated arrival of the moment of discovery stretched the plausibility of the plot somewhat. I could believe that oblivious Fintan would overlook the unlikely yet repeated appearances of the same man with varying colours of false beards in the middle of Brazil, but not the intelligent Gribley who turns out to speak fluent Spanish and have incredible foresight.

For a children’s book lover this romp through the Brazilian jungle was exactly what was promised on the cover and the perfect distraction to summer flu – especially as it doesn’t quite turn out the way you’d expect…

By Lauren

2 thoughts on “Review: ‘Fintan Fedora the World’s Worst Explorer’, by Clive Goddard

  1. Hi Lauren,
    I just stumbled upon your review of my book.
    Thank you! Very refreshing to read opinions from an adult perspective, and I’m glad it helped momentarily distract you from your Lemsip flavoured suffering. I agree about the incredulity stretching, by the way! I had to shovel in an extra layer of ignorance to make the plot work.

    All best, Clive
    (PS There’s a half finished sequel involving Russian & Chinese gangsters which is even more stupidly implausible!)

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