Book – The Bumper Book of Fads and Crazes
Author – Richard Lewis
Year – 2005
Genre – Toilet Book
As a general rule of thumb, I would suggest that any book title beginning with The Bumper Book of… is hardly the kind of thing that you will be writing about in a GCSE English class. However, that is not to say that there can’t be merit to the book itself.
Through this book, Richard Lewis brings us a list of hundreds of different crazes that at some point or another have swept Britain. Ones that stood out particularly from my youth are those of Tamagotchis, Yo Yos and in particular Pogs. The idea behind each of these things is that they capture the imagination of the nation for a particular period of time, and then pretty much disappear from the radar into a more cult demographic. I remember this happening so well with Pogs – 1995 they were everywhere, and everyone in school spent all lunchtime playing with them. Then by the end of the year, you couldn’t buy them in a shop even if you had wanted to.
The Bumper Book of Fads and Crazes does not just deal with children’s toys however, and includes entries such as The Executive Toy, Team Building Weekends and it’s favourite failed fad, the Sinclair C5. All in all, it is an incredibly entertaining trip down memory lane, and in the cases where the fads are too old for you to remember – apparently the Hula Hoop dominated the world for all of 1954 before becoming the cheap plastic throwaway toy I remember – then it is nice to learn a little more information. All presented nicely with the occasional personal story thrown in and some silly lists, as well as plenty of factual and historical information about the history of the toy industry, this is a more than worthwhile book.