Ages 4 to grown-up
I mentioned to my adult children that I was going to do a top 5 on ‘poo’ books, and Terence the Toilet was the first book they each thought of!
When you’re a ‘bog-standard’ toilet, chances are there are magazines left in the bathroom with you – magazines that show ‘exotic bathrooms in exotic places all over the world’.
And that can leave you feeling restless and unsatisfied.
That’s what happened to Terence – and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that most of us have felt that way too after leafing through the magazines left in the bathroom.
Terence decides it’s time to see the world and so off he goes – to Wall Street, Paris, the African Plains and even more places. Everywhere he goes he meets other toilets who are leading fascinating lives, but still he feels restless. So he goes in search of a guru toilet.
Eventually he finds the wise guru toilet – who turns out to be a hole in the ground, having shed all his worldly goods and cares. The guru’s advice to Terence: ‘The only journey you need to take is the journey within.’ That’s all it takes – Terence is transformed – into a second hole in the ground!
I don’t like giving away too much of a story – especially when it builds as carefully as this one does – but this is an out of print book so you’ll need to find a second hand copy or a library copy. That's why I wanted to make the whole story fairly clear. It’s such a good one, so funny and so important at the same time.
The ‘funny’ comes from the juxtaposition of a toilet into the troubled thoughts of modern western society and from the drawings that somehow manage to give Terence - and the other toilets he meets - distinct personalities.
And then there are the various situations Terence finds himself in. For example - he “lunched with the sophisticated bidets of Parisian hotels and learnt all about the history of butt rinsing etiquette…then he ventured even further afield to the parched African plains to see the roaming portaloo tribes he had heard so much about…’
Terence the Toilet is funny and memorable but it also has a lot to say – things like:
- there’s nothing wrong with a ‘bog-standard’ life…
... but if you want another life it’s available to anyone – even a toilet!
- perhaps contentment isn’t found in the high life after all
- vastly different lives have much in common
– the Wall Street toilets and the pygmy toilets of the Amazon are still both toilets
- it’s probably not a good idea to take some aspects of life too seriously
- it’s worth the struggle to keep searching to find the contentment you’re looking for
And it is really good for a laugh! Keep an eye out for it.
By Ann Louise Stubbs