Ripping Book Review: Pirate City

WARNING: Ripping Book Reviews are solely the judgments of Professor VJ Duke on an unlucky book that has caused him much repulsion—in one way or another. Therefore, blame must be put on the author and nobody else. With that in mind, read on—if you are brave enough to take it.

PIRATE CITY by R. M. BALLANTYNE

First, a disturbing picture. It had the professor shivering. And this was before I knew he was 19-years-old:

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What a mustache!

One more picture of Mr. Prolific Mustache. Can you spot him? I should say, can you spot his mustache?

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Onward!

This little vexing book begins with a description of a little old lady.

How dull!

What a way to begin. First a disturbing picture, and then a description of a little old lady.

The professor was interested immediately.

Here’s the description:

This little old lady was so pleasant in all respects that an adequate description of her is an impossibility.

Well, then, don’t try. It would have saved the reader much unpleasantness.

Her mouth was a perfect study.

Incredible! But please, could we study it another time?

It was not troubled with anything in the shape of teeth.

Now that was a bit befuddling. What’s it supposed to mean, I wonder? Too scary to think on.

It lay between the delicate little down-turned nose and a soft little up-turned chin, which two seemed as if anxious to meet in order to protect it.

The imagery is disturbing here, and it’s also misleading. You see, the author said the old lady was pleasant.

The wrinkles that surrounded that mouth were innumerable, and each wrinkle was a distinct and separate smile; so that, whether pursing or expanding, it was at all times rippling with an expression of tender benignity.

It should be against the Book Law for authors to lie in such a brazen manner to the reader.

The next sentence sums up this little crime perfectly:

The little old lady plays no part in our tale…

How horribly vexing! After all the scary description, after all that anguish, after all that dadblamery, we find that it means nothing.

Moving on before the professor explodes.

Plot:

Basically, Mariano (the strange mustachioed fellow in the beginning) is our hero. He gets captured and imprisoned in the Pirate City, Algiers.

The book is about his escape.

But, in reality, this professor didn’t care if he ever escaped. You see, it was much better when he was stuck in the city. One with such facial hair should be kept in a cage, I think.

Now, this is how the professor was introduced to a new character, Ted Flaggan.

Before I quote this dull soul’s letter, you must understand this is stupidity at its finest. He doesn’t even know how to spell his name:

Sur i’m an irishman an a salier an recked on the cost of boogia wid six of me messmaits hoo are wel an arty tho too was drowndid on landing an wan wos spiflikated be the moors…

The professor won’t torture you with the rest, but it ends with this:

…yoor onors obedient humbil servint to command ted flagan.

The professor would give Mr. Mustache’s mustache to know what boogia and spiflikated was all about.

You see, the author enjoyed lying to the reader, and the above excerpt proves that he also enjoyed torturing the reader.

But, it gets even worse. The author lies to himself.

This is one particular scene:

Laying the man on the ground with his face downwards, the officers of justice sent away two of their number, who speedily returned with a blacksmith’s anvil and forehammer. On this they placed one of their victim’s ankles, and Flaggen now saw, with a sickening heart, that they were about to break it with the ponderous hammer. One blow sufficed to crush the bone in pieces, and drew from the man an appalling shriek of agony. Pushing his leg further on the anvil, the executioner broke it again at the shin, while the other officials held the yelling victim down. A third blow was then delivered on the knee, but the shriek that followed was suddenly cut short in consequence of the man having fainted. Still the callous executioner went on with his horrible task, and, breaking the leg once more at the thigh, proceeded to go through the same process with the other leg, and also with the arms.

And the author has this to say:

We would not describe such a scene as this were it not certainly true; and we relate it, reader, not for the purpose of harrowing your feelings…

I feel for Mr. Ballantyne. The man lies to himself. It was quite obvious that he enjoyed this scene immensely. And I believe he wanted to go on about it.

You see, Mr. Ballantyne delights in discussing awful topics (like the old lady) in the disguise that it is something sweet or improper.

The professor can’t do anymore.

One last thought.

The book should have been called: The Escape of Mr. Mustache.

 

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73 Responses to “Ripping Book Review: Pirate City”


  1. 1 Jennifer October 16, 2013 at 08:51

    Completely rip worthy, I’m sending more devils!!!

    • 2 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 12:38

      :cool: The professor could always use more!

      • 3 Jennifer October 16, 2013 at 19:21

        What did you do with the last lot???

      • 4 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 21:26

        Conquered the state and overthrew the governor. Aren’t you really proud? :D

      • 5 Jennifer October 16, 2013 at 22:14

        So you’re the reason the govt closed down??? Oh yeah, so proud! Please treat the next lot a bit nicer.

      • 6 Professor VJ Duke October 17, 2013 at 01:25

        :D I was thinking about moving to DC next…

  2. 7 krugthethinker October 16, 2013 at 03:34

    Ahahahaha! I have never even heard of this book, but now I love it, if only because it is so rip-worthy! I agree, that kind of facial hair deserves to be caged.

    • 8 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 12:35

      Well, definitely read it–if you like ripio books. You may laugh a few times, besides, of course, that awful bone cracking scene.

  3. 9 Lesley October 16, 2013 at 02:04

    Haha you know what, my “Writing and Rhetoric” class teacher used to hate statements like “It goes without saying that…” He would say “don’t say it then!”

    This part reminded me:

    “This little old lady was so pleasant in all respects that an adequate description of her is an impossibility.

    Well, then, don’t try. It would have saved the reader much unpleasantness.”

    So it goes without saying that this book is not worth reading :)

    • 10 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 12:34

      :lol: Haha! An excellent point, Lesley! Excellent. Not sure why he put the old lady in it, just to vex the professor, I think!

      • 11 Lesley October 17, 2013 at 03:31

        :)

  4. 12 Jackie October 15, 2013 at 22:21

    Thank you, Professor! I just put this book on my MUST NOT read list. 8-)

    • 13 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 23:50

      Absolutely! It’s truly frightening. (Not worth the time.)

  5. 14 xoxosanaz90210 October 15, 2013 at 22:20

    Hilarious book review!! I was still going to read it until I reached Ted Flaggan. I can’t and won’t be able to get past it the first time. Torture! I wonder was there ever a description that meant something, even a little?

    • 15 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 23:50

      Thank you!!! I know! Isn’t he speak dreadfully? Torture indeed. I fear not. Even the descriptions of the characters were sad. What do you make of it?

      • 16 xoxosanaz90210 October 16, 2013 at 00:00

        A lot more dreadful than dreadful!! The descriptions? So far not too terrible. Except after a while repeating “caution, unimportant description” may get way over-used. I wouldn’t mind reading it (if I have nothing else to do) but Ted is a huge turn-off, personally.

      • 17 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 01:46

        Goodness! :lol: Yes, that’s exactly it! Ted would drive the professor nuts. (I don’t think anybody would write a letter like that anyway, do you?)

      • 18 xoxosanaz90210 October 16, 2013 at 04:39

        I hope not. It just may end up in a few accidental deaths.

      • 19 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 12:38

        :lol: Very, very possible.

  6. 20 The Dancing Rider October 15, 2013 at 20:29

    So not my type of book. This rip (and a good one at that) confirms I shall never read this thing. I’m sure the comment on “anything in the shape of teeth” meant there were none! Unpleasant, and even more so later in the rip. UGH! Didn’t know they had torture porn whenever this “book” was written….. Not to mention the mustache. :/

    • 21 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 23:46

      Thanks! Is that what it mean? Goodness. Now the professor has even a worse picture! Wasn’t that plumb awful? Goodness again. Highly rippable, DR, highly.

  7. 22 Susan P October 15, 2013 at 19:04

    This is a new one for me. And it will stay new as I shall not attempt to read it. It would only make me vexed.

    • 23 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 23:45

      :lol: Absolutely! Vex you to no end. Unless you like vexing books…

      • 24 Susan P October 16, 2013 at 01:05

        It depends on the book. There are some, classics or not, that do not deserve that much of my time. :D

      • 25 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 01:45

        It’s a good point, Susan, definitely. Maybe you should start ripping books too…

  8. 26 L. Marie October 15, 2013 at 18:29

    I haven’t read this. I’m tempted even though the guy in the first illustration doesn’t look 19. But maybe he had a difficult life?

    • 27 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 23:44

      How old do you suppose him? You see, the professor thought him around 12 and then I saw the pic…

      I think he did, but he deserved it for sure.

  9. 28 Anja October 15, 2013 at 17:49

    Okay back to the old lady…..I need to know more about her. Her likes, dislikes, her feeling about gluten free food……
    I have actually never read this book. So you do recommend it right?

    • 29 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 23:44

      What makes you think this poor old professor knows anything about her? If you like books with a high rippibility.

      • 30 Anja October 16, 2013 at 00:41

        The old professor is mighty sassy today. :) Why can’t I ask if you know something about the old woman, old professor?

      • 31 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 01:42

        The professor is never sassy–that’s to ladyish. Well, she didn’t have anything to do with the story, you know. So the professor doesn’t know too much. I could guess, if you’d like.

      • 32 Anja October 16, 2013 at 01:43

        I would love to hear your thought about why she was written about :)

      • 33 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 01:47

        Well, because it would frustrate the reader. You see, the author was into vexing people.

      • 34 Anja October 16, 2013 at 01:48

        What makes you believe he wants to vex the people?

      • 35 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 01:55

        Well, he wrote that book, didn’t he?

      • 36 Anja October 16, 2013 at 09:05

        Maybe the old woman wrote it

      • 37 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 12:38

        Really? :shock: Never thought about that.

      • 38 Anja October 16, 2013 at 13:35

        Things that make you go hmmmmm

      • 39 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 18:23

        The professor does that every so often.

  10. 40 ladycheetah7 October 15, 2013 at 17:34

    Your rips are hilarious. I love how you magnify details that would probably be overlooked. The description about the older lady was a bit much….

    • 41 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 23:43

      Many thanks! :D Details are so important, I think. It was, wasn’t it? Very…well, very odd.

  11. 42 sknicholls October 15, 2013 at 17:14

    I have not read this one…guess I don’t need to. Ha!

    • 43 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 17:22

      Well, you could if you wanted vexed, you know.

  12. 44 Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister October 15, 2013 at 17:12

    “The professor was interested immediately.” I like all the early sarcasm you’ve used. Haha!

    I’d say you took pleasure in writing this review.

    I am sorry to say that I quite like a mustache and old ladies, too. It’s very possible I’d enjoy a book about an old lady with a mustache, as well. :D I hope this doesn’t leave the professor disappointed.

    I most definitely DID NOT like that description you shared. Terrifying!!

    I fear that I need a soft cuddle after reading your review. Scary!

    • 45 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 17:22

      :D The professor enjoys using it…

      Yes! The book tortured the professor so…it was revenge, you see.

      Not disappointed, definitely, but confounded! A mustached older lady? Fabulous thought! Intimidating too, I must admit.

      Wasn’t it dadblame awful? He deserved a ripio just for that.

      Precisely! Very, very scary.

      • 46 Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister October 16, 2013 at 01:49

        I like reading the professors thoughts. Makes for a very entertaining post. I laughed a lot. Top notch book review, Sir.

        Yes a mustached older lady…Fabulous! I can see her now and all her smiles…

        Word.

        I don’t like scary…

      • 47 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 01:55

        Thanks! That makes the professor feel very nice, for sure. Awesome! :D Thanky-thanks!

        And it’s scary, dadblameit!

        Scary’s definitely a twerdlit.

  13. 48 sonya solomonovich October 15, 2013 at 17:09

    Thanks for the laughs, professor. This was a well-deserved and perfectly executed ripio!

    I wonder, was there a romantic interest in this story or were all females scared away by the giant moustache?

    • 49 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 17:20

      No problem! :) Thank you. It was definitely a vexing little book. Dadblamery at it’s height, I fear.

      No, sadly, Mr. Mustache had a love interest that he tried to protect. Very pathetic, ma’am, very pathetic. They could have definitely used a Swashbuckler like yourself, I think.

      • 50 sonya solomonovich October 15, 2013 at 18:50

        Perhaps I could have done something swashbuckly to fix this dadblamery. Though from what you report, things were very far gone indeed…

      • 51 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 23:45

        I really think you could have. They needed you badly. Yes, very far gone.

  14. 52 Hazy October 15, 2013 at 15:41

    “It was not troubled with anything in the shape of teeth.” – Hmm… befuddling indeed. Does that mean, no teeth? all gums?!

    “and each wrinkle was a distinct and separate smile” – I shudder to imagine.

    “The little old lady plays no part in our tale…” – Lol. Just made us picture awful things. Chickit.

    Mariano seems to be a fitting name for a mustachioed bloke.

    “and we relate it, reader, not for the purpose of harrowing your feelings…” – But… but my feelings have already been harrowed. Too late.

    • 53 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 17:18

      It’s hard to say what it means exactly. Very disheartening.

      The professor is shuddering too–still!

      I know! Why do you think? He must enjoy it.

      It definitely does. I think bloke is a good descriptive word, too.

      Exactly! Far too late. What a ghastly scene. The author should have been beaten for it, I fear.

      • 54 Hazy October 18, 2013 at 13:32

        Indeed, he seems to enjoy causing us to think awful thoughts. He has a streak of wickedness upon him, no?

      • 55 Professor VJ Duke October 18, 2013 at 20:02

        He must, but he tries to hide it–which is interesting.

  15. 56 FictionFan October 15, 2013 at 14:46

    Oh, how I enjoy your ripios when directed at a book that deserves them! ;)

    Perhaps though Mr Moustache was just trying to impersonate Mr Twain? (I note the odd fact that in that word the Americans keep the ‘u’ but drop the ‘o’ – what very strange people you are…)

    Spiflikated is a wondrous word – almost Punchy-ish!

    I’m so glad the Professor didn’t explode…

    • 57 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 17:14

      Thanks, FEF! I’m glad that even you think some books should be ripped. :)

      No, I think he was aiming for Doyle, definitely. (No need to have an unwanted letter, you know. It could become quite vexing. At least when we say “Holmes” it doesn’t sound like “Olmes”. ;) )

      But what the devil does it mean?

      Yes, coupled with the huge lump he has on his forehead, it wouldn’t have been too nice…

      • 58 FictionFan October 15, 2013 at 21:08

        Yes, but I also think some books shouldn’t… ;)

        Does the Professor think FF is a cockney? I hassure you hus Scots don’t drop hour haitches…

        Now that’s interesting because I do know what it means. Therefore…it’s either a British word that didn’t make it across the Atlantic, OR…gulp…it’s too old-fashioned for the Professor…

        Poor C-W-W! May we enquire into the huge lump?

      • 59 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 23:48

        FEF’s favorite books, that is…

        Ah, one and the same over there! ;)

        Well, I think it either didn’t make it across, or it did so cloaked in ambiguity. Old Ted was Irish so, I suppose, he speaks your speak.

        You mean, where did it come from? You told me to do it in order to clear up matters.

      • 60 FictionFan October 16, 2013 at 00:58

        Correct!

        You’re right – just like Americans and Canadians are the same, eh?

        Can I possibly speak the same way as Cockneys and Irish people? What a very strange accent I must have… ;)

        :lol: I wondered if that was what you were referring to, but didn’t like to laugh just in case you’d had some horrendous falling-over-the-cat related accident or similar…

      • 61 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 01:43

        Which is :cool:

        More like Americans and Mexicans, I think.

        The professor begs your pardon. I’m a bit professorish in the head where all that’s concerned, to tell the truth.

        It would be extra funny if it really happened though. :lol:

      • 62 FictionFan October 16, 2013 at 15:06

        But are the Scots the Americans or the Mexicans? Hmm…

        Just assume that FF sounds a bit like a female Billy Connolly… ;)

        :lol: No it wouldn’t! (Well, OK, it would…)

      • 63 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 18:28

        Maybe they’re just Scots, but I’m not sure about it at all. I’ll leave it up to you, FEF.

        :lol: Just looked him up. Interesting! That must mean you think the professor has an accent of sorts! :lol:

        Even with the professor wobbly knees, he’s quite spry.

      • 64 FictionFan October 16, 2013 at 20:07

        I’d just like to clarify that I don’t share his hairstyle or beard, though…

        I find the Professor’s accent exceptionally difficult to pin down – too fast to be Southern, I feel, but not New Yorky. And not dramatically American – in fact occasionally I feel as if there are European or South African tones in there…hmm! East Coast? Boston-ish?

        Oh good – you’ll be able to master the cotillion quite easily then!

      • 65 Professor VJ Duke October 16, 2013 at 21:35

        Yes, I was rather sure about that. He looks like Ian Anderson a bit.

        :lol: Very, very interesting! FEF is just like Sherlock Holmes. Very intuitive, I fear. However, even though the professor is a NE Patriot fan, he does not live in Boston.

        Have you even danced the cotillion?

      • 66 FictionFan October 16, 2013 at 23:31

        I’m glad!

        Very unfair! Naughty, naughty Professor!! Now I don’t know if I was close or a million miles out! What is an NE Patriot? Something to do with one of these ballgames that have World Series even though no-one but Americans play them, I guess?

        Of course not, C-W-W! I’ve been waiting to dance it with you… ;)

      • 67 Professor VJ Duke October 17, 2013 at 01:33

        What?! You don’t know who the Patriots are? They must’ve not made it across the Atlantic, or…

        The New England Patriots are, in fact, a Football team. (They play in Boston.) Baseball is such a cool sport (the professor is changing since his home team did fairly well), and I must make you a fan one day. I shall. You’ll see.

        The South African part was really funny. :lol:

        I fear we’d be laughed at–and Darby would scorn us.

      • 68 FictionFan October 17, 2013 at 14:18

        Well, I think you’ll have your work cut out making me a fan of baseball, but it’ll be fun watching you try…

        I would ask why so funny, but I know you won’t tell me, so I won’t. Glad it amused you though… ;)

      • 69 Professor VJ Duke October 17, 2013 at 19:40

        Oh no, the professor can do it. Ever watched any?

        It’s funny because you hear European…overtones. Very perceptive.

      • 70 FictionFan October 17, 2013 at 20:57

        Not a whole game, but I’ve seen snippets. And I’ve read Grisham’s Calico Joe (though I was asleep most of the time) – so I do know what a drag bunt is – are you impressed? Doesn’t a game last for about a hundred years though?

        Really? Intriguing…

      • 71 Professor VJ Duke October 17, 2013 at 23:36

        Yes, very impressed and proud of you, FEF. Not at all. There are nine innings. It can go real fast sometimes!

        It is… The professor can’t tell you more, sadly, or he’d be breaking the professorish code.

  16. 72 Angeline M October 15, 2013 at 14:22

    The first clue to the vexing nature of this book is not the mustache guy, but those heads on a spike. The little old lady description is rather ok with me since I’m a little old lady…I did think it rather sweet with the thought of all those wrinkles smiling at once. The descriptions that follow were not pleasing to this little old lady. Good rip, Professor!

    • 73 Professor VJ Duke October 15, 2013 at 17:10

      Haha! I did notice that a bit late, I fear. Really? The professor found that part a bit strange, forsooth. Yes, I think they go progressively worse, and then to find it meant nothing! Ahhh! Thank you.


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