Dodger by Terry Pratchett
I’ll admit I was skeptical of Dodger from the point I downloaded it last year via SYNC. It was paired with Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I loathe Great Expectations. I’ve been forced to read it twice; once in high school and once in college. And like a fool, I attempted to listen to it after downloading it via the SYNC program last year thinking that perhaps in my older wiser adulthood I would finally understand why Great Expectations was a classic.
Dodger was a delightful listen. I will admit that I did struggle with Stephen Briggs’ narration as it was a bit too British for me at times and I had to re-listen to sections of the book to understand what was going on. I do believe that would not have occurred if a) I could listen to books while NOT doing something else and b) I was reading a physical copy of the book.
Dodger is full of twists and turns. And in the fashion of any good historical fiction novel, the reader encounters a variety of known historical characters. I had always imagined Dickens to be this curmudgeonly old man, but Prachett brings him to life as a curious reporter with keen observation skills and a sense of humor. Whether Dickens was truly like this in real life, I don’t know, but this caricature of him endeared him to me.
The story shines through the main character, Dodger, who has all the skills of a street rat and the ambition to match. There’s a curious mystery that is threaded through the story that develops into a shy romance. I enjoyed how Dodger made the use of the world he knew to solve the mystery, improve his conditions and make the best of what he had.
If Dickens’ stories of Victorian London are a bit heavy for you, I would definitely recommend giving Dodger a shot. As it takes the best aspects of Oliver and Great Expectations puts a bit of shine on them with a twist of humor and mystery and presents them in a new light.
The Quick Book Review
DodgerAuthor: Terry Pratchett
Narrator: Stephen Briggs
Published on: September 13, 2012
Length: 10 hours, 30 minutes
Series: Dodger #1
Genres: historical fiction, fantasy, young adult
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My Rating: Thumbs Up