Saturday, March 14, 2015

R.I.P. Terry Pratchett

It was my son, blogger at Battered, Tattered, Yellowed & Creased, who introduced me to Terry Pratchett. We have been reading books together all his life. I gave him The Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird. He gave me Blackhawk Down, Neil Gaiman--and Terry Pratchett who died this week of early onset Alzheimer's disease.

My favorite Pratchett book is Dodger. It is set in Victorian London, a place I know well from my concentration on 19th c English literature. Dodger is a seventeen year old street urchin, accomplished in all the arts necessary to survive, who has innate intelligence and a heart of gold.
"I'm Dodger--that's what they call me, on account I'm never there, if you see what I mean? Everybody in the boroughs knows Dodger." 
Dodger was trying to help a lady in distress when two 'coves' take over. The men turn out to be Charles Dickens and Mathew Mayhew who wrote London Labor and the London Poor and to whom Pratchett's book is dedicated.
"Charlie--he looked the type who would look at a body and see right inside you. Charlie, Dodger considered, might well be a dangerous cove, a gentleman who knew the ins and outs of the world and could see through flannel and soft words to what you were thinking, which was dangerous indeed."
The trio take care of the girl and endeavor to solve the mystery of her identity. We come to know the toshers who draw valuables from the sewers of London. Sir Robert Peel leads his policemen in a hunt of the London sewers.
cleaning the sewers of London

Dodger has a dangerous run-in with Sweeney Todd. But all comes out right in the end, and Dodger's great expectations are fulfilled.
"Money makes people rich; it is a fallacy to think it makes them better, or even that it makes them worse. People are what they do, and what they leave behind."
What Pratchett has left behind is his fantasy DiscWorld series, Good Omens co-written with Neil Gaiman, a lot of good reading, and many sad fans.

Read my son's post In Memoriam--Terry Pratchett at

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