Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Because I have to wait until a period of time where nothing can interrupt me as I read Terry’s books I have quite a few waiting to be savoured. I had just started Dodger when I heard the sad news that Terry had passed away so there was an added poignancy as I continued. Dodger is set in 19th century London during the reign of Queen Victoria. Along with Victorian vocabulary, Terry uses one of the characters from Charles Dickens’ Oliver to illustrate the clear delineation between poverty and wealth. We follow Jack Dodger as he tries to differentiate between what is good when you are trying to survive and what the wealthy, in their comfortable lives, consider wrong. Apparently husbands ‘owned’ their wives and child abuse was rampant, budding romances were chaperoned and the politicians and police could be easily deceived when revenge is sought. Apart from the historical relevance and the Dickensian references I learned that toilets were called ‘jakes’, toshers were scavengers of the sewers. I prefer a fast paced flow to a novel and I find Terry’s paragraphs long and twisting so I spend a lot of time trying to decipher the meaning which disrupts the flow of the story. Best of all, scattered between all the words of wisdom, were little gems like: “Are you certain you weren’t born Jewish?” “No,” said Dodger. “I’ve looked. I’m not, but thanks for the compliment.” You’ll find this book in the Youth Fiction collection of your library but I think everyone should give it a go and let us know what you thought.

Link to catalogue