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Book Review: Here Comes Mr. Oliver by Ruskin Bond

Here Comes Mr. Oliver by Ruskin Bond is a short story. The narrator is a schoolboy called Bond (probably Ruskin himself). Mr. Oliver is a scoutmaster and maths teacher of Bond’s class. Bond is quite bad at maths. Mr. Oliver always gives grace marks to Bond to get his exams passed. Mr. Oliver is a man of wisdom but he always wears a scornful look. There is something that haunts him and probably that his past life’s failure such as on the day of wedding when he was waiting at the church his woman run away with a sailor. He is forty and a little bit stoop. He looks alone and keeps his professional life unmixed from the personal life. Students thank him for grace marks but he shows no difference to them. Internally, he does well to people, but he does not receive their acknowledgement.

To his company, Mr. Oliver has a pup. That pup that revolves around him is not friendly to anyone except Mr. Oliver. The dog bites at students and sniffs at their ankles. For this reason, boys call the dog Hitler. So much so that boys even drafted a poem on the relationship between the dog and his owner Oliver. Well, during school days such tales are commonly found and the story will definitely offer a reminiscent to many people who still long for their golden days of their life: schooldays.

However, one evening while out on a stroll, the dog is being taken away by a panther. Mr. Oliver after, this incident, literally turns quite gloomy in life. The loss of a good companion hurts him most, how will he come out of it? Bond and other boys sense his loss and change of mood, thus they arrange a pup from someone, and for many days they try to place it on the doors of Mr. Oliver. Well, Oliver being a man of dignity, does not accept that dog. Boys try to place different pups at his doorstep, one by one. And one fine day, Mr. Oliver comes to the school with a pub being placed by the boys previous night. He is happy again in the company of a dog. He knows that boys have arranged for that puppy. Well in the exams Bond and his friend Bimal find themselves passed in the maths and being promoted to a senior class.

Boys take that grace marks as their reward for filling Mr. Oliver’s life with a dog. The story is an interesting one, it particularly talks about loss, gratitude, and bonding between students and teachers.


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