There are two types of people in the world: those who enjoy reading Terry Pratchett novels, and those who don't. Last week I finished Pratchett's Dodger.
There's a lot to like about this book.
Yes, it's historical fiction set smack-down in the middle of Victorian England. There's fictional characters in the story, Dodger, for one. And there's also non-fictional characters, Charles Dickens and Benjamin Disraeli being the most prominent. It was the two real-life people that elevated the story for me.
What I love about historical fiction novels is, if the author does a good job, we get a feel for how it was to live during that time. Dodger is as colorful a literary character as you'll find. He is also the story's narrator.
But deep down, Dodger is a scoundrel who finds himself involved in pickle. He saves a young woman from an attack and that starts a chain of events involving Dickens and Disraeli and others. Dodger is introduced into a new world, a world of the upper crust, and because of his actions, quick thinking and fortuitous circumstances, Dodger thrives in this new world.
In the end, Dodger outsmarts the baddies and wins in the end. It's a story that could be told in the London of today instead of the London of the mid-nineteenth century. I'm sure a modern telling would prove just as fascinating.
Since this wasn't part of Pratchett's Disckworld series, I wondered as I read through the story when it was that he wrote this. The book was released in September, 2012. I knew that the author had passed away almost a year ago and I had never heard of Dodger.
I liked many aspects of this book, but I think I liked the author's epilogue the best. He explained how, in his research, he was reminded of just how terrible life was for the poor in London during that time. It was a way of telling me just how blessed I am, and when a book can make you realize that, that's a powerful work of art.
Yes, there are two types of people in this world, pro Pratchett vs. the alternative. I need to read more of his works, but I'd say I'm definitely in the former.
* Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/13516846-dodger