Ferdydurke is a very strange book, no question. The title, I'm told, comes from an extraordinarily minor character in the Sinclair Lewis novel Babbitt.It took me a while to get into it, and I'm still very hazy about a lot of what it was trying to say. It does have some delicious critique of social conformity, however.
The novel is about a thirty-year-old author who is kidnapped and forced to attend junior high. There, various authorities struggle to infantilize him, as I understand it, so that he will fit in with society at large.
I'd like to relate a couple of my favorite scenes, but it is not possible. Among other things, this is a highly experiential novel--I feel that, as I read it, I was in tune with what the author was saying. To explain it to someone who has not read it, however, is quite beyond me.
I found this novel via Dating Without Kundera, which said:
Any book that is reviled by Polish nationalists, banned by the Nazis, and then banned again the Communists is probably worth reading; it's not easy getting those groups to agree even on a pizza topping.