Monday, October 25, 2010

Mr. Pratchett

I had a hankering for rereading some of my Terry Pratchett favorites lately, and last week I carried Lords and Ladies into my doctor's office. It turns out, my doctor is also a big fan of Mr. Pratchett's novels. He told me that a fourth book just came out in the Tiffany Aching YA series, titled I Shall Wear Midnight. You can imagine my excitement!

I Shall Wear Midnight was just as enjoyable as the first three Tiffany Aching stories. I appreciate that Mr. Pratchett's style is rather different in writing juvenile literature--the prose is less dense and a bit less witty, although the writing is still intelligent and the jokes, though more obvious, still funny. Mr. Pratchett is so adept at pleasing his audience, albeit pleasing us with deeper humor, ideas, and creativity than the average "formulaic" crowd-pleaser. Midnight contains everything I like in a good book: a smart and resourceful protagonist, secondary characters who grow more complex as we get to know them, a really REALLY scary bad guy ("The Cunning Man"--isn't that wicked sounding?), convincing love interests, a gang-getting-back-together moment, an exciting showdown, and a satisfying conclusion with a cheering crowd (including little blue men drunkenly shouting "CRIVENS!").

My doctor also informed me that Mr. Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years ago--it's very early onset, as he began showing signs in his late 50s. We mulled over what a tragic loss such a mind as his will be. It's doubly impressive that Midnight was published after his diagnosis. Mr. Pratchett has made the absolute most of his talent with his scads of books (an average of 2 books a year since 1983!!) that are beloved by so many, especially me.

Here is a partly funny, partly sad speech Mr. Pratchett gave about his Alzheimer's in 2008.