Thursday, December 20, 2007

Town Boy


In Lat’s Town Boy, we see Mat, from Kampung Boy, as he grows into adolescence and moves to town with his father. The bustling Malaysian town is a far cry from the small village he grew up in, and before long, Mat makes some friends and is discovering girls. While most of this book centers around Mat’s education, it’s still a lot of fun, and is as charming as fans of Kampung Boy will remember. I felt that there was a bit more to Kampung Boy, a lot about the villagers and Mat’s life in general that gave readers more of a feel of who Mat was, a feeling that seems somewhat absent here, or at least scaled back. It is also a brisk read in comparison to the first book, though Kampung Boy was a pretty short work itself. Perhaps what I miss about Kampung Boy is how Mat used to always get in trouble and cause an uproar. Here, with age, he’s much more subdued, less wild, more concerned with image. Though he gets into some mischief and has other interesting adventures and moments, I prefer the wild antics of his youth. It is interesting to see him grapple with art and music and romance, and it’s still great to visit this character and his world, especially through Lat’s drawings which I think have improved significantly with this sequel. And while I look forward to seeing where Mat ends up and what kind of a person he grows into, I will miss the wild tike who was less conscious of himself, and much funnier, in the Kampung setting.

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