The cover of The Great Australian Book of Limericks shows a bishop standing next to a sign to Nantucket – giving a good indication of what to expect between the pages. This is unashamed entertainment for adults who are in touch with their inner (sometimes very politically incorrect) schoolboy, and it is definitely just for adults. While the first section is Clean, the Dirty and Really Filthy sections that follow more than live up to their name. I’m a bit puzzled as to why this wasn’t produced as two volumes (one G rated and one M+ to R) given that it definitely has been timed for the Christmas gift market.
So with that warning out of the way I can tell you that this is a lightweight amusing book with no pretensions to be anything other than that. It starts with a “Brief, Inaccurate History of the Limerick” and follows with the aforementioned Clean, Dirty and Really Filthy sections. Clean includes “Silly Limericks”, “Fun with Words” and “Linguistics and Logic”, as well as five others among its subsections. By the time we get to Really Filthy the subsections have been reduced to two – “Various Sexual Practices” and “Shocking and Shameless”. Interestingly the Dirty section is the longest (twelve subsections) – reflecting the way most of us probably think of limericks. This is a book for dipping into, not for cover to cover reading and there are lots of little informative titbits throughout. I can definitely see why the author assumes that this is a book that you are likely to find in the toilet as reading matter…
Before becoming a professional entertainer in 1988, Jim Haynes taught in schools and universities from outback New South Wales to the UK and back again. He has two masters degrees in literature from the University of New England and the University of Wales. He has won the Bush Laureate Book of the Year award three times. Jim has also made many recordings of Australian humour, verse and songs, and appears regularly on television and radio.