It’s been a really long time since I’ve written a post. I blame Jayme and Kelsey for making me read the Pretty Little Liars series. OK, they didn’t exactly “make” me read it, but because they both recommended it I really wanted to and I have to say it’s amazing! The books are unbelievably addicting. In fact, right now I’m biding my time while waiting for Kelsey to finish the next book. Apparently to her schoolwork takes precedence over free reading; what is she thinking? Anyway, I thought while I was waiting I should try something a little more educational, so I went with Terry Pratchett’s Dodger. The novel takes place in Victorian London and the title character is a 17-year-old tosher, which was someone who searched the sewer for any coins or valuables that may have found their way down there. Dodger got his name because of his ability to “dodge” the law and stay under the radar. That all changes one night after he rescues a young woman from her captors and becomes friends with a newspaperman named Charlie Dickens. The book is about Dodger and Charlie teaming up to find out who Simplicity’s (the young woman) captors were and what they wanted while trying to keep Simplicity from harm. Dodger is hailed as a hero for saving Simplicity and then he is again called a hero after he foils Sweeney Todd, who is the nefarious main character in a play about the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Dodger has to deal with his newfound fame and high profile as well as his feelings for Simplicity. The fact that the fame translates into a substantial monetary reward makes it easier for Dodger to take, though.
I really enjoyed the references to people I’ve heard of before, both real and fictional. I had heard that Charles Dickens’ novels were based on his concerns about the poor social conditions he witnessed as a journalist, so it made sense to me that he would be so interested in Dodger’s lifestyle. I have never seen the musical Sweeney Todd, but I knew that it was about a barber who uses his razor for awful misdeeds. After reading the book I looked up Sweeney Todd and learned that the character premiered in a type of book called a penny dreadful in 1847 and may have been partially based on characters in Dickens’ novels. It was cool to see how everything related. I also liked reading Pratchett’s afterword where he talked about other characters that were based on real people.
Dodger was a really witty book, complete with Pratchett’s footnotes about Victorian-era slang. However, I can’t say that I really enjoyed reading about the rats and the sewers and the stench of the city of the time. The next book I read, though, I really liked: Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler. This is a nice romance about Cal, whose mother drags her across the country as she performs in one Renaissance Faire after another, and Eliot, whose father has become a millionaire after opening a religious weight-loss camp. I love reading summer romances, especially when I’m anxiously waiting for the weather to warm up. I loved the North Carolina setting and especially a peaceful scene in a rowboat on the lake under a full moon. The book is poignant and funny and has amazing supporting characters. It’s narrated by Cal & Eliot in alternating chapters. I don’t know if the authors alternated writing the chapters or if they wrote the whole book together, but I love the style of the book. It’s basically written in present tense, but then one of the narrators will talk about something that happened an hour ago or a day ago and that will be in past tense. The way I’m describing it makes it sound confusing, but actually the novel sounds like a conversation. which I loved. I would totally recommend this novel for a beach read or anytime you want to feel summery.