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Literature / The Midnight Gang

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The Midnight Gang is a comedy novel designed to be read by both children and adults and written by David Walliams.

It focuses on a twelve-year-old boy named Thomas, or "Tom" for short, who injures his head getting hit with a ball in his strict boarding school and gets sent to a dilapidated hospital.

There, he makes friends with the children there: a chubby, Cockney boy with a Sweet Tooth named George, a snarky boy named Robin, a tough girl in a wheelchair named Amber, and a seriously ill girl named Sally.

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He discovers that the nameless, scary-faced porter helps entertain the children there in very elaborate ways, making their ambitions come true, at midnight (hence the name 'Midnight Gang').

The Midnight Gang provides examples of

  • Action Girl: Amber is a daredevil and wants to be an adventurer when she's older.
  • Amnesia Episode: When Tom first arrives in hospital, he can't remember his own name. He recovers quickly, though.
  • Big Eater:
    • George scarfs down a lot of candy.
    • When the matron gets her hands on candy, she eats an awful lot of it.
    • Raj orders a very big meal with a lot of poppadoms.
  • Big Fun: George is quite round and very happy-go-lucky.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • When asked if he has any pain when he "passes water", Tom replies, "Yes! It hurt when I walked past a fish tank!". The doctor buys it.
    • When Tom pretends that he is the doctor and the porter is the patient, the porter tells Tom to lie
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  • Bold Explorer: Not yet, but Amber wants to be an explorer and explore places like the North Pole when she grows up.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The porter may have a freaky-looking face but he's actually very friendly and wanting to give the kids what they want. Played for drama because he gets shunned for his freaky-looking face.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All the kids can be cheeky sometimes, but Robin has a very snarky, dry wit.
  • Death of a Child: The porter used to know someone who died as a little girl. In this book, no kids die, although Sally's future is left ambiguous.
  • The Ditz: All of the kids have occasional dumb ideas, but they seem smart in general. The doctor, on the other hand, thinks, "Yes, it hurt when I walked past a fish tank" is a legitimate reply to being asked if one is experiencing pain when one "passes water".
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  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: Sally's disease seems a lot like some sort of cancer, but it's never actually revealed.
  • Embarrassing Pyjamas: Tom is embarrassed by having to wear a pink nightie at the hospital.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Initially, nobody knew the porter's name, then it was revealed that he had no name, but then named himself Thomas Senior. Played straight for the matron, whose name we never find out.
  • Flight: George's wish is to be able to fly.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Tom apparently used to get forced to eat rabbit droppings at school.
  • Ill Girl: Sally is a sweet little girl with a serious disease.
  • Injured Limb Episode: Amber is in a wheelchair because she broke both arms and both legs.
  • In-Series Nickname: Tom has nicknamed all his former teachers, calling them things like "Mr Dead-Skunk-On-His-Head."
  • The Leader: Amber is the unofficial leader of the Midnight Gang.
  • Literal-Minded: When asked if he feels "pain when [he passes] water", Tom replies, "Yes, it hurt when I walked past a fish tank!".
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Zigzagged. While Sally's disease is mentioned as being possibly terminal, nobody says it definitely is.
  • The Medic: There are a few doctors and nurses in this story, but they're not very competent.
  • Naked People Are Funny: At one point, the senile old woman Nellie flies up into the air with a bunch of balloons and out of her clothes. People point out the ridiculousness of seeing a naked old woman flying with balloons.
  • Name Amnesia: When he first arrives, Tom can't remember his name.
  • The Nameless: The matron and Tom's former teachers don't have names that we know of. The porter used to actually have no name, but eventually he starts going by Thomas Senior.
  • No Name Given: We never find out the names of the matron or Tom's former teachers, although there's no reason to believe they don't have them.
  • Ominous Hair Loss: Sally has an ambiguous, serious illness that acts like cancer, including she's bald and it's said to be from the treatment.
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted. Initially, nobody shared a first name, then the porter adopts Tom's.
  • Out Sick: While Tom, Robin, and Amber go on adventures despite their injuries, Sally's illness is too scary for her to go with them.
  • Playing Sick: When Tom's head injury recovers, he wants to stay in the hospital with his friends, so replies "yes" to all the symptoms he's asked about.
  • Sick Episode: For Sally. It's unclear what she has, although it is serious.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Zigzagged for Sally's disease. While it acts like cancer (fluctuating, treatment makes her bald, etc) it is never actually revealed what the disease is. And while she might die from it, it's never revealed if she survives.
  • Sweet Tooth: Both George and the matron really like chocolate.
  • Toilet Humour: This book features jokes about bottoms, rabbit droppings and peeing occasionally.
  • The Tonsillitis Episode: Downplayed. George has recently had his tonsils out.
  • Womanchild: Justified for Nellie, who's delusional and believes she is a little girl.
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