Books Based off of other Books, Books set in Europe, Children's, Family dynamics, Feel-Good, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Maguire-Gregory, Social Commentary

#522 Matchless by Gregory Maguire

Matchless by Gregory MaguireMatchless by Gregory Maguire

The story of the Little Match Girl has been a story that has touched us for over a hundred years. The original story was penned by Hans Christian Andersen, which we’re exploring this year on One-elevenbooks. Matchless is Gregory Maguire’s version of the story.

A little boy lives with his mother in very cold rooms. They don’t have a proper house. They only have one match left. The little boy makes a village out of spare bits of this and that in his loft bedroom. His mother is a tailor. She sews for the queen.

One day the little boy goes out to find a boat for his make-believe people to sail in. He finds a slipper instead. He thinks it will be the perfect boat for his people. Little does he know that the slipper belongs to a little girl who sells matches to help her family make ends meet. Her mother is dead. It’s just her father and her two younger siblings.

On one particularly cold evening she loses her slippers. She doesn’t want to go home without any money. She strikes a couple of the matches and sees beautiful things in their brief light. The small amount of warmth does her no good and she succumbs to the elements before dawn breaks across the sky.

In the slipper the little boy found an address. The address is the little girl’s address. He and his mother go the address only to find a state of mourning. The young girl is dead and her father is devastated, but he has two younger children to take care of. The little boy’s mother sees nothing to do but to help him and so she does. The small group eventually becomes a family out of tragedy.

What I liked

The story of the matchgirl is very sad. It really makes a person just want to sit down and cry. This poor little girl’s family is so poor that she has to wander the street in rags trying to sell matches. Do you know how much a match costs? Less than a penny. Even if she sold an entire box of matches, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of money in her pocket. It’s a sad little story, but I do love that this version of the story isn’t quite so sad. The little girl still dies, but some good does come out of the misfortune.

What I didn’t like

This poor girl still dies. In more first-world countries we have largely eliminated situations like this little girl and this little boy lived in. I say largely because we still have people living very much like this little girl and little boy lived. They fall through the cracks of our society and live in shadows. We don’t pay any attention to them, even though we probably should. In countries that are not first-world, people live like this more often than they do in our first-world countries.

Trying to sell little bits of this and that to buy a little rice or a little wheat or a little bread is a way of life for many people in the world. Even in the United States there are people who wander the side of the road picking up aluminum beer cans that drunk people throw out of their car windows in order to make a few cents to buy something to survive on. It’s really sad. You would think we could get rid of this. You would think we could solve this problem, but we haven’t. As smart as we have become and as much knowledge as we now possess, we still cannot remedy the problem of families and individuals that are so poor they make the poverty line look like a million dollars.

Overall

I think I like this better than the original, but I haven’t reviewed it yet on this site, so we’ll see.

Weigh In

Do you think that if the Match Girl lived during our time that she would have fared better?

Considering that lighters would soon replace matches for most people in most situations, what do you think would have happened to the match girl and her family?

Advertisements
Books Based off of other Books, Children's, Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Feel-Good, Fiction, Finding Your Self, humor, Maguire-Gregory, Mystery, Romantic Fiction, Social Commentary, what if, Young Adult

#420 Leaping Beauty by Gregory Maguire

Leaping Beauty by Gregory MaguireLeaping Beauty by Gregory Maguire

A person has to admit that the short nature of fairy tales could lend itself to the entire story being changed if only one or two simple things about the story were altered. Gregory proves this to be true in hits fairy tale collection.

Who doesn’t love a good fairy tale? Everybody loves fairy tales. Gregory has taken some of our most traditional fairy tales and turned them on their sides. Maybe there wasn’t a little girl bugging three bears, but maybe it was a fox instead. Maybe Cinderella was an elephant. Maybe Robin Hood was really a Robin, but he was also going to see his sick grandmother.

Gregory injects hilarity into these fairy tales with including some real-life problems and reactions to certain things. My favorite story out of this collection had to be So What and the Seven Giraffes. There was no Snow White, only a chimp named So What. His new bodybuilding gorilla step-mother didn’t like him, so she sent him off to be killed. The murderer didn’t want to kill him and let him go off into the woods alone, where he found a house that seven circus performing giraffes lived in. The giraffes taught him how to be a better person and have some responsibility.

What I liked

I knew Gregory was smart; I didn’t know he was hilarious. These stories are genuinely funny. They remind me of David Sedaris’ fairy tale book Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk. Gregory is very smart for playing on words and phrases in our traditional fairy tales to make them about something completely different yet about the traditional story at the same time. I may have to add Gregory to my list of hilarious authors to hang out with.

What I didn’t like

This book was definitely written for a younger audience in mind, but there are some more adult reactions and situations in this book that make me wonder. Of course a child probably wouldn’t notice these things, but I noticed them. None of these little mentionings are too terrible in and of themselves. You’re not going to throw this book across the room in disgust or anything, but as an adult you are going to notice these things. It’s more on par with how shows like Spongebob Squarepants sneak little bits of adulthood into their program. The kids don’t notice it, but the adults can get a little chuckle out of it.

Overall

It’s funny. Read it.

Weigh In

When it comes to fairy tales are you a traditionalist or do you like it when people retell the traditional stories in new and exciting ways?

Does anyone remember the book about the Stinky Cheese Man?

Books Based off of other Books, Books Set in the South, court, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Pearl-Matthew, Romantic Fiction, Social Commentary

#223 The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl

Summary:

Apparently the details surrounding Edgar Allan Poe’s death were a little strange. He died young and the accounts of his death are contradictory depending on the source. This book is about the events surrounding Poe’s death, but it is completely fictional. I mean the part about Poe is real, but the rest of it is made up.

Quintin Clark is an attorney residing in Baltimore. He really has a thing for Edgar Allan Poe. He has read all of Poe’s works and has even gone as far as to write Poe and suggest legal aid. One day Quintin spies something odd. He sees a small funeral procession and doesn’t think much of it. There are only four mourners at the funeral. Clark, I’m going to use Clark instead of Quintin, later learns that this pitiful funeral was for his adored Edgar Allan Poe.

Right away people start suggesting that Poe died as a drunk. I’ve heard that before too. Clark feels terrible about the defamation of character going on and decides to try to solve the mystery of Poe’s death. For a while Clark manages on his own, but soon he finds he needs more help in the matter. He assumes that Poe’s character C. Auguste Dupin is based on a real person from Paris. Clark takes off to Paris to find Dupin.

Meanwhile, Clark has let his legal business slacken. He has neglected his relationship with his fiance or something like his fiance. Clark becomes obsessed with finding more out about Poe. The American public has forgotten, but Clark drums up enough about Poe’s death in Paris that two men are soon searching for the truth about Poe’s death.

Those two men are Claude Dupin and Auguste Duponte. Claude is a lawyer. Auguste is a renowned detective in Paris. At one point both of these men are considered the real life inspiration for C. Auguste Dupin. Clark has a hard time figuring out which one exactly that it is supposed to be. Claude wants to solve the case for notoriety and Auguste has his own reasons.

Along the way, more and more people are drawn into the mess. A woman named Bonjour plays her part. There is also a freed slave who helps out in this whole situation.

Clark gets so wrapped up in the whole mystery that at one point he is suspected of murder.

What I liked: Although, this is a work of fiction, I do like that I learned more about Poe. The author did do a lot of research for his book. He actually has a very nice afterward explaining some of the research and facts associated with the whole event.

What I didn’t like: This whole book was very cloak and dagger. At one point I am pretty sure there was actually a cloak and a dagger. Sometimes I really like mysteries, but this one just seemed so slow. It took me so long to read this book. I have no idea why. The whole thing moved like molasses.

Matthew is a very educated man, I can tell. He uses large words with clarity. He knows what he is talking about, but I don’t think he knows how to animate what he is  talking about. The whole story was interesting, but seemed a little dry.

Near the end there is this explanation like all good mystery novels have. It’s the coming-to-Jesus-the-light-is-on-hallelujah-moment. All the things that were in the dark are made known. This is supposed to be the brilliant magnum opus of the entire story. It’s the cumulative event we were working towards. We’re supposed to enjoy it. We’re supposed to love it. We’re supposed to shout about it.

I didn’t do any shouting.

In fact, I just wanted it to be over. Don’t get me wrong the conclusion was brilliant, but the way in which it was delivered was both dry and very verbose.

This is kind of what I felt like this moment was:

There was a pickle it had bumps on it, this meant that the queen of Spain was having an affair with Prince William, they used a time machine. Because this happened, it rained baby frogs. The slime from the baby frogs caused a fire to start in the bunker. Because of the bunker fire, the beer froze and everybody quit washing their hair. There was popcorn for everybody. A mouse stole a hammer from a walrus. The Walrus put on a tutu and danced the tango with Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton then got a sex change. Monkeys were swinging in the rafters and Whitney Houston came back to life to play bingo. This is how the jar of pickles got opened.

Seriously, I felt a little confused. The logic was there it just felt jumbled. It was presented in this orderly manner, but it still had this over-whelming hoarder-ness to it. It felt like Matthew was trying to string together as many words and crazy ideas as possible.

I hate Clark. He sucks. He’s not terrible as a character, he’s terrible as a person. If this man were real, nobody could put up with him. Sane people don’t do the things Clark decided to do. Sane people remember their responsibilities. Sane people make sure they have a guaranteed income. Sane people make sure their fiance doesn’t get engaged to someone else because said person is being an idiot. It’s nice that you liked Edgar Allan Poe, but you never met him, weren’t related, and really held no responsibility to him whatsoever. Grow up Clark. Grow up.

Overall, this is a book for people who like both the historical novel and the mystery story. You really have to be more analytical than I am to enjoy this book.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Books Based off of other Books, Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Maguire-Gregory, Mystery, Romantic Fiction, Social Commentary

#219 Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Summary:

This is the third time I have read this book, I think. I’m not particularly a fan of Oz, but I do like Maguire’s take on the whole thing. I am not enthusiastic about it, but I do like that he can imagine this whole world with a gritty angle.

This book is about the wicked  witch of the wet. It’s not about Dorothy. It’s not about the lion. It’s not about the scare crow. It’s not about the tin man. It’s not about the wizard. It’s about the villain. In this case, the villain isn’t that much of a villain. She’s not wonderful, but she’s our protagonist. She is the one we want to succeed.

Elphaba’s story starts before her birth. We actually meet Elphaba while she is still in the womb. Her mother is a rather flighty thing depressed by the small life she has. Her father is a preacher with bigger ideas for the world than he could ever muster. Elphaba is to be the first child. Terrible things are afoot the night of Elphaba’s birth. A clock work device tells terrible secrets and incites locals to do terrible things. Elphaba’s family is on the hit list this night. When the drunken mob goes looking for the family it somehow comes to pass that Elphaba ends up being born in the clock.

The strangest thing about Elphaba, she’s green. Her skin is green. I know this is Oz, but apparently, even there, it’s unusual to have green skin. Her early life is not easy. She isn’t treated very well. Her family is somewhat ashamed of her. Before long a quadling comes along. This quadling is supposedly the father of Elphaba’s sister Nessaroe, you will know her as the wicked witch of the east. We speed ahead to a different part of Elphaba’s life.

Elphaba has gone to the university. Change is in the air. Laws and sanctions are being made against talking animals. The book makes a point to distinguish between animal and Animal, but I’m not going to do that here. Elphaba is a little incensed by this. The university is a stranger place than she imagined. She gets stuck with Galinda, who, yes, happens to be Glinda, the good witch of the north. The headmistress there, Madame Morrible, has some sinister plans for Nessaroe, Glinda and Elphaba. Strange things happen at the university including the murder of one of the professors.

Elphaba finds a different path in life. She soon finds herself something of a political activist. While she is out trying to save the world she runs into an old classmate. Fiyero is a prince of some wild tribe. He married very young and has a strange life. Elphaba soon finds in him more than just a casual friendship.

She moves yet into another section of her life. This time a little boy goes with her. Elphaba isn’t entirely sure of the parentage of this boy. Is he hers? She never really claims the boy. She is on a mission to ask forgiveness of Fiyero’s wife Sarima. Elphaba travels a long way to do so. Along the way she learns a bit and gathers familiars about her. A monkey, a dog, and some bees all join her on her journey. Elphaba has quite the strange retinue when she shows up at Kiamo Ko.

What about the water thing? Well, it’s still there. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the book for you.

What I liked: I like this book, but it isn’t an all time favorite. I like how Maguire turned this seemingly childlike thing into something more adult. I like the real-ness of the whole thing. As a child while watching cartoons, I was always the one wondering who was going to close the door when two characters had run through it without shutting it. I like the know the details behind everything. I want to know the specifics. I like having a story about how the wicked witch of the west came into being. I like having to people to call her parents. I like this little element of irony and the story that turns in on itself.

I also kind of like how Dorothy is not this wonderful scared little girl from Kansas, I mean, she is, but in this book, not so much. She’s not as innocent as the book series or the movie makes her out to be.

I know this book has been turned into a broadway play. I have never seen the play, but I’m sure it doesn’t hold the grit that the book does. This reminds me of another book. The book Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow also has life as a musical. The musical is wonderful. I’ve seen it. The songs are wonderful. The story is wonderful. It’s just great. It has all the emotion that you would want in a musical. The book  is something much darker. The musical is this cheery little thing while the book dares to address racism and other social problems.

I like that about this book. I like that it addresses real life issues under the guise of a fantasy. You’re reading something entertaining, but at the same time you’re learning about how real life issues play out. I don’t think anyone pegged the Wizard of Oz as a despot before. He was definitely a charlatan, but nobody pegged him for someone you should watch out for.

What I didn’t like: I like the grittiness, but at the same time, I don’t. Gregory puts some rather risqué scenes in this novel. I’m sure it’s nothing on par with something like Fifty Shades of Gray, but it’s almost a little disturbing. It’s disturbing because we’re basically being forced to look at childhood book characters as adults in every sense of the manner. Maguire takes the land of Oz and paints a bleakness on it. Warfare, poverty, fascism, sex, cuss words, and selfish people pervade this story. It’s refreshing in a way, but it’s also a bit strange. It’s almost like if you saw Big Bird out on the corner in fish net stockings, high heels and lipstick. We wouldn’t really believe it or at the very least we’d have a hard time believing it.

Maguire takes a long  time to get these books out. The final book of this series is finally out and I’m debating on whether it’s worth spending money on to read.

Overall, if you’re a true Oz fan you might like this, but you also might just hate it.


_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Books Based off of other Books, Ebershoff-David, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romantic Fiction, Social Commentary

#84 The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

Summary:

This book is a fictional account of several people connected to the practice of polygamy. Fictional is in italics, because I know there will be some people convinced that the things that happen in this book are actually true, which they aren’t, although they are based in reality.

If you didn’t know, or you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years, polygamy has become an issue again the United States. A few years ago a polygamist compound was raided in Texas and about 400 children were taken into custody. Plus we also have the shows Sister Wives and Big Love to bring polygamy into the mainstream media.

You might be asking, “What’s the big deal?” Well, the big deal is that in the United States people have religious freedom, but some of those religious practices can be illegal or at the very least unethical. That is what the big deal is. No doubt Ebershoff has chosen this time in history to write his book because of how much media attention United States polygamy is getting.

I want to stress here the difference in something. You may be aware that there are many sects to many religions, for example: German Baptists, Primitive Baptists, Southern Baptists, etc., but many people are not so aware that there are several sects of Mormonism. The largest part is of course The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which does not practice polygamy, but there are other smaller sects of Mormonism that do. The sects don’t meet up for conventions or anything they are completely different religions, which happened to branch off of one religion.

This book is about a sect that broke off, the history of how it all started, and where the religions are today but through a fictional story. There are some characters in the book who were real-life people, but they did not actually do or say all of the things in this book.

The reader starts out with a murder. A husband sits at his computer playing poker and chatting with random women when his wife comes into the room, his 19th wife. This is the last thing he knows because number nineteen murders him with his own gun.

Jordan is a young man living in California. One day while in the library, Jordan sees something disturbing on the internet, it’s his mother’s picture. She was arrested for the murder of her husband. Jordan is confused because he knows his mother wouldn’t do something like that. He needs to see her, so he hops in the van where he lives with his dog and drives out to Utah.

He finds his mother in the local jail. What she says confuses him. Nothing adds up.

The story is interspersed with fictional stories of early pioneers that led to the break off of this particular sect of polygamous Mormonism. I’m not sure if the stories are entirely fictional or are based on scanty facts, but some of the characters are interesting.

There are also documents of requests and denials stuck in the book here and there. These are not real, the author even admits in his afterwords that they aren’t real.

Jordan does some sleuthing out in Utah. He visits his old home, which to him is a nightmare. Things happened there that he would like to forget. When he was only fourteen years old he was kicked out for holding hands with his stepsister. Extreme? Yes, but this has been known to happen. Although, Jordan’s story isn’t true, there have been plenty of boys who are kicked out of the sects, who are then called Lost Boys. Their lives are not easy.

Jordan soon finds many more twists and ravels in the story than he ever thought existed.

What I liked: The story was a good story. Jordan is a likable character and so are the people he meets along the way. He has genuine concerns and character traits. Jordan has a lot to deal with being a Lost Boy and one more thing is added on his plate.

I like the history interspersed within the book. The historical accounts within the book are made up by the author, but based on real events and real documents, which is a nice look. The inner thought processes of these people can never be known, but it is interesting to have a suggestion as to what they could have been thinking.

I liked how the book was not derogatory of either church mentioned in the book. The author never came out and condemned either one or saying that their practices were evil. This wasn’t a slander. It was just a creative license.

The book was well-written in my opinion. When the reader is flashed back to the 1800s, Ebershoff does an excellent job at trying to recreate that time period and way of life.

What I didn’t like: I don’t like how fiction is represented as truth in this book. There are several documents created in the book that appear as they would if they were real, but they’re not, and they cast a negative light on current people.

There actually is another book called The Nineteenth Wife, it was written by Eliza Ann Young. She was labeled Brigham Young’s 19th wife. She also divorced him and the trial was very public. Her tale contains a lot which may or may not be true and many people lean towards it not being true. I’m sure some of it’s true. I don’t think she would have risked her reputation to publish a bunch of lies, but who knows maybe she did.

I do know that polygamy is not a pleasant thing for women to live and although I think Eliza Ann may have embellished parts of her story I do feel sorry for her. Who would want to share their husband? Nobody that I know. I am not a fan of the practice of polygamy. For some people it works out really great, but the stories that get out are the ones about how it doesn’t work out so well. I’ve read several memoirs of escapees belonging to the Warren Jeffs sect, and let me tell you, those people went through some terrible stuff. Their lives were absolutely awful.

The text of The Nineteenth Wife, contained within this book is not really the actual text. It’s the author’s own spin on it, so don’t think you’re reading two books, when you’re only really reading one. The journal of Brigham Young included in the book is also not the real thing, sorry to disappoint. Honestly, I just don’t like how this guy places forth his material like it’s the actual thing. It made for an interesting book, but it kinds of rubs me the wrong way.

I didn’t like how the story of Jordan was broken up with the stories of several other people. It’s all interesting. Each person on their own, could more than enough, compensate for a great fictional work. In my opinion there wasn’t enough of Jordan’s story in the book. He didn’t do a lot. Sure there was a beginning, a middle and an end, but there could have been more middle. I think Ebershoff is talented enough that he could have written the entire book about Jordan and it would have been just fine.

I’m kind of at war with myself whether as to whether I really like the insertions of the other characters or not. At some points I enjoyed the history of this story, it’s not true history, but more of a pseudo history.

I don’t like Jordan’s attitudes toward his religion and other religions. He has to have troubles and internal struggles, but it seems like he has a few too many to deal with.

I don’t like how many times the F-word is in this book. I am not a fan of the F-word. I think used as an interjection here and there, it’s fine in literature, but if the word appears anymore than two or three times per chapter, it’s just overkill and crude. I do know there are people who actually talk like that, but come on,  let’s have some civility people.

The author seemed to be going on a lot of historical conjecture when writing this book. There were many events and portrayals that were very accurate, but then there were instances in which the author’s story would support the historical conjecture rather than the facts, but that is a dilemma within itself. A person can never know exactly what went on in the past unless he or she were actually there. Sure you could have records, pictures, or even cave paintings, but recorded history is often much different from actual history. If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘history is written by the winners’ then you might understand what I’m talking about. History is something that can be distorted through different eyes. No one account may be the true account.

I also expected a lot more explanation of current polygamy to be in the book. There really wasn’t. It just wasn’t there. I don’t know if the author was trying to be sensitive or what, but the awful things the author mentions in his book about current-day polygamy are skin-deep compared to some of the actual things that have happened and went on within the past few years. I guess it was a way for him to stay fairly neutral, but if you really want to know about conditions of current polygamist groups there are better books to read and you can also just watch TLC now and see Kody Brown and his family.

Overall, the book is long, be prepared for several days of reading, I wouldn’t pay above ten dollars for it though. If you are LDS you might be offended by some of the things in the book and if somehow you happen to be a polygamist reading this book, you’re really not going to like it. This book is really for the masses and not for the people involved in the actual struggle. If you don’t belong to any of the religions mentioned in the book, the book is a good way, but not completely accurate way, to learn about the struggles that are still going on today between sects.

Books Based off of other Books, Fiction, Kater-Paul, what if

#71 Hilda the Wicked Witch by Paul Kater

Summary:

In this short e-book, Hilda the Wicked Witch finds herself in an unfamiliar world where broomsticks are all sorts of colors and people drink something called coffee. She’s not quite sure how she got there, but she knows this just isn’t home. Here she was in the middle of making a poison apple and then all of a sudden she finds herself in a grimy alley way amidst a crowd of tough leather-clad bikers.

Hilda goes on a quest to find her way home and make some sense of this world that is unfamiliar to her. She confronts a biker gang, but no sweat, she’s got her magic wand and her necklace of power. When she loses her necklace that is when she feels that things might turn our horribly for her. She also tries coffee for the first time and she really likes it.

Hilda is a funny character. I find it interesting and intriguing that Kater has chosen to plop a fairy tale character down in the middle of the real-world, or something like the real-world anyways. The items and customs Kater chooses to make odd to Hilda are comical. She is in turn comical to the people of the real-world.

What I liked: I liked the concept. I always find these “what-if-you-put-a-fairy-tale-person-in-the-real-world” stories very interesting. I especially like the movie Enchanted. The Shrek movie series is like that to an extent as well. Fairy-tale characters are placed in real-life scenarios, well close to real-life anyways. Shrek has an outhouse, he farts in the mud, he gets married, raises kids and changes their diapers. That is real-world stuff for you, although, I don’t know how common farting in the mud is. When does a person ever have a chance to do that? I guess if you go to one of those spas where you can have a mud bath then that would be your chance. So if farting in the mud is ever something you want to do, remember that the next time you get a mud bath at the spa. Anyways, back to the story, I guess.

Now that my little rant is over, I really liked Hilda, she was comical and she was likable. She wasn’t this deep brooding character, because there just weren’t enough words to develop her. She wasn’t complicated, but she was still likable. I also like the homage to books and fairy tales in general in the e-book. I am a fan of both, so I like that the story is centered around that.

What I didn’t like: I did not like the language in this book. Kater chose to smatter this tale with explicatives. There were f-words everywhere. So don’t mistakenly download this on your kindle to read to your kids unless you want to increase their cursing vocabulary.

I would have liked it if Hilda had been more developed. I really think there could have been potential to develop this story more. Hilda could have had a much harder time trying to get home. She could have stayed for more than a day. She could have had something that was bugging her about the world she is from that is conflicting to her. She could have had some enemies. She could have developed a love interest. She could have unwittingly appeared on a game show. There are so many things that could have been added to this book to make Hilda’s real-world adventure something spectacular. The story as it is, is not bad, but I really could see Hilda having a more in-depth journey.

Books Based off of other Books, Books set in Europe, Fantasy, Fforde-Jasper, Fiction, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if

#63 Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

Summary:

In a world where cheese is a controlled substance Thursday Next has anything but an ordinary life.

Thursday Next, at first, seems like the average fifty-two year old wife and mother. She has three children, a husband, a house, and a job. She works for Acme carpet.

Acme carpet isn’t exactly a carpet emporium, they sell wood flooring, they sell tile, and they perform special and covert operations ensuring the world remains basically the same.

Thursday is actually a special agent. It’s her job to help keep England free from werewolves, vampires and chimeras. It’s also her job to keep the book world the book world.

Oh and cheese is heavily taxed and closely watched.

Thursday also deals in cheese on the side to make some extra cash for Acme carpets.

This is the first of the Thursday Next series I have read. Yes, it’s a series.

The way Fforde writes reminds me so much of the way Douglas Adams writes. There is satire about the way things work, but there is also comedy concerning the way things works with a quirky twist.

Thursday is such an interesting character. Her family doesn’t just fade into the background either. Her husband, Landen, her son, Friday, her daughter, Tuesday, and other extended family members are all major players in the story.

Thursday has a series of books based on her. The first four books are full of sex and murder, but the last one is full of hippie-style ideas.

Thursday actually has two jobs. She frequents the book world. In the world of Thursday, scientists have found a way to jump into the world of books in person. Thursday finds herself in Jane Austen books, poetry books, and science fiction books.

I don’t want to give the tale away. It’s a little confusing, but it’s great.

What I liked: I love the impossible events of this tale. Fforde imagines up some of the most bizarre and awesome things. I love cheese being a controlled substance. It’s hilarious. I think Fforde might be half-way poking fun at what some governments consider controlled substances. Just maybe, anyways.

Thursday is a very strong character. She is a mother, she’s a wife, but she does all this awesome stuff. The literature world needs more women like Thursday. She gets the job done in addition to having her own family. That isn’t to say Thursday isn’t somewhat frazzled from time to time. She is a very life-like character and I think she is amazing.

I love the rest of Thursday’s family. Her son Friday is an annoying brat, or so you think. He is quirky and fits nicely in the story.

Thursday’s math ace daughter is great too. She’s like this little know-it-all, but cute at the same time.

Thursday’s husband Landen, who pretends at being an author, creates the most absurd book names and I just love it.

Overall this book is humorous and witty. I love it.

I also loved the footnotes. Great comedy there.

I love how great works of literature are snuck into the text here and there. On one page there will be a reference to one great work and the next page will hold a reference to an entirely different work.

I also love how Fforde pokes fun at reality tv, which I hate. Yes, I loath reality TV. I hate it because it’s mundane and expected.

What I didn’t like: There were periods in which the book was hard to follow. I got along ok, but there were times I was a wee bit lost.

I am not sure if I liked the little paragraph stuck in front of each chapter. They were informative, but I think I might have been able to do without them.

I would love to read the other books in the series.

I highly recommend this book if you’re in to witty and thought-provoking books.