Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Mouse That Roared by Leonard Wibberly

Grand Fenwick is a little known country near France, a small duchy that has flourished for centuries because of their popular wine company.  Recently, however, the wine business has failed to bring in enough money to live on.  There are those who wish to dilute the wine, and others who are against this notion.  Both parties continue to argue over the outcome until a grand scheme is devised:  small, itty bitty Grand Fenwick will declare war on the U.S. - attack, lose, and then receive all sorts of benefits for their trouble, as they had seen happen to every nation who lost a war to the U.S.

But of course, this isn't at all what happens.  In fact, Grand Fenwick, the smallest nation in the world, wins this war.  And becomes the most powerful nation in the world.


My thoughts -
I looked forward to reading this book for nearly 9 months before I finally got to read it for school.  It most definitely did not disappoint and I want to say right off the bat that everyone should give this a try! :)

For one, this book is hilarious.  Everything about it - the characters, story line, and dialogue - has some sort of humorous tinge to it.  I laughed and giggled through the whole thing.

Yet, at the same time, there is a strong sense of seriousness and peril, as well as great honor, throughout the entire story.  I couldn't help but follow along to discover what would happen, knowing I wouldn't be disappointed.

Character notes -
I loved all the characters in this book.  From the Duchess of Grand Fenwick to Tully Bascomb; from the President of the U.S. to the Russian Commissar.  Even if they weren't the most in-depth characters in literature (because this story wasn't exactly meant to focus on character), they were fascinating and realistic all the same.  I actually think the U.S. President is my favorite, with Gloriana (the Duchess) coming in at a close second.  I respected them both and loved the way they handled the sticky situations they were put in.

Story notes -
This story really focuses a lot on politics - with a mixture of action, silliness, romance, and character history on the side.  I was quite taken with the story line from the start of the book.  I cared about Grand Fenwick and their financial struggles and wanted them to find the solution.  Then, when they proposed war, the action started.  Then more politics...then suspense...and so on.  I loved the perfect trap the U.S. walked into, and the perfect set-up to win the war that the warriors of Grand Fenwick had.  And neither side knew it.  Quite a way to set up an unexpected ending to an already hilarious (and intriguing) story!

One word/phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) -
Uproarious!  I loved it all, even if it wasn't super deep or life-altering.  A bit of silliness, romance, and war mixed in with political disagreements of all different kinds makes for a lovely story and enjoyable read!


  1. This is one of my favorite books! I love the humorous Cold War political commentary. By the way, the movie (1960s vintage?) is even more hilarious than the novel. What class for school did you read this for?

  2. Ok I must read this one. I think I saw the movie when I was a teen, but I never read the book and since I love humor and satire, it sounds perfect.

  3. Susie - That's so funny to find someone else who knows about this book, it seems to be a rarity. ;) It was for literature.

    Jan - definitely give it a try! I think you'll love it! :)

  4. My dad was into satire and science fiction when he was a teenager in the late '60s, and I was introduced to Wibberley's books when his bookcase full of high school/college paperbacks ended up in my room.