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Vice Versa

F. Anstey

Book Overview: 

Set in Victorian times, the novel concerns business man Paul Bultitude and his son Dick. Dick is about to leave home for a boarding school which is ruled by the cane wielding headmaster Dr. Grimstone. Bultitude, seeing his son's fear of going to the school, foolishly says that schooldays are the best years of a boy's life, and how he wished that he was the one so doing.

At this point, thanks to a handy magic stone brought by an uncle from India which grants the possessor one wish, they are now on even terms. Dick, now holding the stone, is ordered by his father to turn him back into his own body, but Dick refuses, and decides instead to become his father, and so the fun begins. Mr. Bultitude has to begin the new academic term at his son's boarding school, while Dick gets a chance to run his father's business in the City. In the end, they are both restored to their own bodies, with a better understanding of each other. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .liarly sensitive on the subject and——" Here he broke off with a sharp yell, and began to rub his ankle. "One of these young savages has just given me a severe kick; it's that fellow over there, with the blue necktie. I have given him no provocation, and he attacks me in this brutal manner, sir; I appeal to you for protection!"

"So, Coker" (Coker wore a blue necktie), said the Doctor, "you emulate the wild ass in more qualities than those of stupidity and stubbornness, do you? You lash out with your hind legs at an inoffensive school-fellow, with all the viciousness of a kangaroo, eh? Write out all you find in Buffon's Natural History upon those two animals a dozen times, and bring it to me by to-morrow evening. If I am to stable wild asses, sir, they shall be broken in!"

[Pg 57]

Six pairs of sulky glowering eyes were fixed upon the unconscious Paul for the rest of the journey; indignant protests and dark vows of vengeance were muttered. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I had never heard of this book or the author before, until I came across an interesting tidbit in a biography of Anthony Trollope. Anthony, who has himself rapidly advanced into the top echelon of my favorite authors, supposedly was at a friends house at a public reading of Vice Versa and was laughi

Written by Thomas Anstey Guthrie in 1882. The book was the inspiration for Freaky Friday. Fun to read, deals with father taking the role of son and ending up in English boarding school.

While this was an entertaining enough book, with a fine sense of humor, I think it could have done better with the plot. I don't think I am giving much away to say that in the end, the father and son reconcile, but because there is so little contact between the father and son throughout the book, an

"Yes, this was no dream of distempered digestion, but sober reality. . . .And now he, Paul Bultitude, the widely-respected merchant of Mincing Lane, a man of means and position, was being ignominiously packed off to school as if he were actually the schoolboy some hideous juggle had made him appear!

This book written in 1882 is the first take on the Father/Son switch of bodies plot which was later taken up in the movies Vice Versa and Big.

The plot follows along the father as he is forced to attend the school is son had been previously begging for him not to send him to. So there are many of the

One of C.S.Lewis's favorite books. He is quoted to have said that this book gave the truest and realest representation of life in an English private school for boys.
The book is very well written. While it starts from an (unbelievable) instance of magic, and there is another at the end so that things

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