Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Feb 3, 2013

In Victorian London, Dodger is a 17-year-old rogue who makes his living through thievery and toshing (i.e. scavenging the sewers for valuables). In his world, Dodger knows everyone and everyone knows Dodger. A moment of heroics alters the course of Dodger’s life, and sets him on the path of really seeing the world around him, helping a beautiful young woman escape from an international conspiracy, and hopefully finding a little love at the end. Along the way he will meet such characters as Sweeney Todd, Charlie Dickens, and even Queen Victoria herself! It will be a tricky situation, but if anyone can avoid the traps and dangers of life, it is the Dodger! First off, this is not your usual tale by Terry Pratchett. This is not Discworld, nor is there any magic.  This could be a story of mystery and adventure, but it is more a story of the growth of a young man as he begins to see that there is more to life than his small corner of London.  You will find humor here, but even that is toned down from previous Pratchett novels. In many ways, this story reminded me of a Charles Dickens tale (which is a good thing considering Mr. Dickens himself is in it): a lot of social critique, self-discovery, and colorful characters. And it does not lack in colorful characters. And of all the characters, it is Dodger himself that drew me in to this tale (as well he should, considering it’s his story). There is something delightful about this roguish scamp as he moves from one situation to another, pressing his luck and plying his charm to get out his scraps and messes.  But what I like best is his growth. In a matter of days his world expands, and he sees that there could be so much more to his life if he can just reach out and grab it. You can’t help but cheer for Dodger to seek his own path as he laughs along the way.  I really enjoyed this story. And I am not the only one. Dodger was also named a Michael J. Printz Honor Book for 2013.

Written by Jared H.

I spent two years living in Portugal.


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