Where’s my Brother and Other Confessions
2016, Kite Group.
One of Victor Calleja’s first revelations, or should we say, confessions, in his book was that he had been “ as a child severely admonished by a much older sister and told that I was , alas, a mistake”.
This moment seems to have defined Calleja’s future relationship with his family, his friends and dare I say even with the rest of humanity.
Being defined a mistake led him in turn to declare the rest of the world and of the humanity contained in it, a mistake in very much the Roald Dahl meaning of the term.
And his book is nothing but the latest and potentially the most lethal weapon in his world war with the adult world. All this, of course , to the face of the Karta Anzjan he hides.
Therefore , please gentle readers, do not classify Calleja’s book within the species of idle autobiography. No, the category should more firmly fall within the dark, comic and grotesque genre of a child’s understanding of what adults are in reality all about.
A book full of fun for whoever wishes to get to know the life vision of a truly fun loving person who is not scared to bare his soul, warts and all
These are described being largely fat or thin, gremlin-like or generous benefactor’s of sweets, not to mention neighbours who partake more of the nature of the Twits
And children , including their co-conspirator Calleja, instinctively know that the one secret weapon to make adults lose their unbearable composure is mischief .
On this count there cannot be any hesitation in certifying that Calleja has up to this very day honed his talents at mischief to a tee as page by page of mischief unveil before us covering all sorts of situations which to any other adult would have been uneventful of even outright boring.
This reincarnation of Dahl himself, titles chapters in the style of “Munich capers, ghosts and witches” when relating his holiday with friends during the Yuletide season.
Or “Pants Down” depicting his urinary misadventures with his family’s house help, whilst living in Mosta in an “old two-storey house”. Even Dahl’s predeliction of all that tastes sweet finds its way in the chapter “When Cakes take Flight”.
The vengeful child in Calleja , above all, excels in depicting adults through his grotesque lens. His dearly loved father is accused of making the author live “next door” to a “similar shoebox to ours”.
A true treasure nugget is his indiscretion on his childhood neighbours.
After premising that “all families are somewhat odd and have what should remain secret”, Calleja cautions: “aybe these confessions should not be aired as they uncover my, and my dear ones’ secrets”. Yet, still he cannot contain himself and “ the oddities of the family next door were truly maddening” .
So, reveal he must whatever oddities need to be revealed whatever the cost. This is true dedication to the child-within-us holy mission against adulthood!
As in any child’s world, sex is more often than not baffling and so it is in Calleja’s Dahlian universe. Two chapters are titled “Sex in the Family” and “More sex in the Family”. Well ! How shall I put it ? You have to read it to believe it. All I can anticipate to you is that reference to “thousands of boobies and derrieres” is made reference to therein.
This therefore is a book full of fun for whoever wishes to get to know the life vision of a truly fun loving person who is not scared to bear his soul , warts and all, before the reader and in so doing making us all privileged witnesses and accomplices in his child’s mission against humanity and in which laughter, sentiment, emotion, fun and tears, mix with deep values of a man dedicated to this family and still very much in love with his wife who despite and against all odds has managed to survive this gremlin of a husband for quite a few decades.
This is a humane story full of humour and joie-de-vivre. Not to be missed.
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