Google+ If You Like Books: Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

If you like: scallywags * Queen Victoria’s England * covert actions 

Dodger is the story of a young man who survives by toshing -- the practice of scouring the sewers for coins and other lost valuables. He earned his namesake by constantly dodging trouble and attention from the wrong people. One night, he happens upon men beating a young woman and intervenes. Saving Simplicity leads him to a series of life changing events that take all of his skills, and a bit of luck to succeed. Along the way he meets Charles Dickens, Henry Mayhew and many other notable figures.

Dodger’s exploits lead him to encounter an unlikely series of events and people. Pratchett allows Dodger’s stumbling through London to add a lighthearted air to a time that was full of suffering and despair. Not only does Charles Dickens himself witness Dodger’s heroics, he acts as a mentor, but not without taking a few inspirational notes along the way. Dodger also stops in to see a rather famous barber, and unwittingly intervenes just in time to save his own neck. Through Dickens’ many connections he rapidly climbs the social ladder through the city, and is constantly reinventing himself to fit in. In spite of this, his true nature always shines through. Though Dodger has been long sustained by items that just happen to fall into his hands, certainly not thievery, he is imbued with a unique moral code, and never stops taking care of those around him or speaking his mind. Dodger is a singular character who leaves a lasting impact on both those in the story and the reader.

The intrigue and mystery around Simplicity and how she and Dodger come to meet is fantastic tale of narrow escape, clandestine meetings, secret identities, and international politics. Simplicity is a woman who believed in love, and all too quickly discovered that it is not always the way it is portrayed in storybooks. Rather than accepting her fate, she fights for her life. Simplicity displays cunning by carefully revealing only what she must, and trusting very few. Though she should never trust someone like Dodger, she senses his true gallantry, and rightly places her fate in his hands. Though the two seem bound by fate, their strong friendship is what is most notable. Theirs is not just a relationship of attraction, but a mutual admiration of wit, cunning, and guile. Simplicity is not just a damsel in distress, and Dodger is no knight. One imagines the two living a life full of fun, excitement, and danger, as they blend in like chameleons wherever they go.

If you can’t help but pick a pocket or two, read Dodger.

Pratchett, Terry. Dodger. HarperCollins, 2012. Kindle Edition.

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