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Dodger by Terry Pratchett
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Dodger (edition 2012)

by Terry Pratchett

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1,137617,196 (3.95)111
Member:ThePatrician
Title:Dodger
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:HarperCollins (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:YA Books Read
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Dodger by Terry Pratchett (Author)

Recently added byklpm, Rooftrouser, simplissimus, Steve.Gourley, Onionspark, private library, JillMerritt
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I found this a struggle at first but started to enjoy it about a third of the way in. I always have mixed reactions to Terry Pratchett. When he is good, he is very, very good but when he's not bad exactly but just average, he is just average. And this for me was an average. ( )
  infjsarah | Jun 22, 2014 |
Set in Victorian London, Dodger is a wonderful historical novel centered around a Dickensonian character named Dodger. Making his living as a "tosher", he rummages in the sewers for loose change or pieces of jewelry that have fallen through the grates. While on a search one night he hears a woman's scream and emerges from below in time to save her by beating off two attackers. Also attracted to the scene are Charles (Charlie) Dickens and Henry Mayhew. They assist Dodger in moving the girl to a safer locale and thus begins a wonderful story.

Pratchett incorporates many historical figures in this story and the afterword explains who they are so the reader can distinguish them from the fictional characters. As well as the two already mentioned, Benjamin Disraeli and even Queen Victoria make appearances.

Written in the style of Dickens, Pratchett serves up humor and word play appropriate to the time period. The reader is completely submerged in the world and underworld of the time. Fans of Dickens' works will appreciate the sly inserts of references, like Bleak House and Oliver Twist. Pratchett has tried to remain true to the slang and other references of the time.

The audio version of the book is ably read by Stephen Briggs who naturally has the educated London accent and can turn on the Cockney accent as needed. His clipped speech took a little getting used to but eventually seemed as natural as anyone. ( )
  mamzel | Mar 24, 2014 |


On a purely emotional level, I loved this book. It took me right back to breathlessly reading children's editions of books by Twain and Dickens as a young whippersnapper. And sometimes that is all that counts. ( )
  StigE | Feb 22, 2014 |
I might have enjoyed it more if I'd read more Dickens and saw Sweeney Todd first, but it was great even without that
  arcadia123 | Feb 19, 2014 |
I am such a big Pratchett fan, and obviously there's so much scruteny around the later Pratchett's, that I feel really bad for not liking this. But I don't like it. It reminds me of the problem with Snuff - we keep being _told_ that the hero is really clever, but what we actually _see_ is him solving a lot of problems by hitting people.

There's a very strong message that 'two men were beating up a pretty girl, this is Bad, and so Dodger should beat them up'. I mean, I don't believe that beating pregnant women is good, of course not, and if two strong people are physically attacking one vulnerable person then stopping them is probably the right answer, if you can. But later in the book we have a woman who is an assassin, and she's beaten up by the heros - so at the point Dodger wanders into the plot he doesn't _really_ know that Simplicity is good.

Also, it's a really nice idea to turn the Fagan/Dodger trope on its head, and have a kind and sympathetic Jewish character helping Dodger. But I couldn't help feeling that despite Soloman being _nice_ there was still a feeling of lazy stereotypes, and also that he didn't really make sense - he hung out in the London slums helping Dodger and ignoring the world, and then suddenly turned out to be an uber-powerful Freemason. I mean, maybe, but a bit mcguffiny.

And the book likes to name drop cool Victorian people, which is not _bad_, but I don't like it.

Also, I misread Dodger's age early in the book - I knew it was kiddie-Pratchett, and I knew it was based on Oliver, so I made the lazy assumption he was about 12. This made his burgeoning romance with Simplicity and his other affairs of the pants with the girls from the slums really incongruous to me. I mean, the age problems aside, I never really 'got' the Simplicity//Dodger thing. I guess you can fall head over heals in love with someone just because they save you, but it never really came across why from the screentime they had... ( )
  atreic | Feb 17, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pratchett, TerryAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To Henry Mayhew for writing his book,
and to Lyn for absolutely
everything else.
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The rain poured down on London so hard that it seemed it was dancing spray, every raindrop contending with its fellow for supremacy in the air and waiting to splash down.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"In an alternative version of Victorian London, a seventeen-year-old Dodger, a cunning and cheeky street urchin, unexpectedly rises in life when he saves a mysterious girl, meets Charles Dickens, and unintentionally puts a stop to the murders of Sweeny Todd"--… (more)

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