I am late to discover Terry Pratchett, you might even say that I am nearly of age with the old crones starring in this novel. Having discovered him, I have fallen in love with Pratchett's sense of humor, and am awed by his sly commentary on life. If you have read my post about Tiffany Aching, the young witch, you will already know this.
I take stories seriously: so seriously that I spent part
of one summer at the University of Minneapolis studying Fairy Tales and Critical Literacy.
Therefore, I loved the introduction that dealt with the role of stories.
"... on the Discworld people take things seriously.
Because stories are important.
People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it's the other way around.
Stories exist independent of their players. If you know that, the knowledge is power.
great flapping ribbons of shaped space-time, have been blowing and
uncoiling around the universe since the beginning of time. And they have
evolved. The weakest have died and the strongest have survived and they
have grown fat on the retelling ... stories, twisting and blowing
through the darkness.
And their very existence overlays a faint but
insistent pattern on the chaos that is history. Stories etch grooves
deep enough for people to follow in the same way that water follows
certain paths down a mountainside. And every time fresh actors tread the
path of the story, the groove runs deeper.
This is called the theory
of narrative causality and it means that a story once started, takes a
shape. It picks up all the other workings of that story that have ever
This is why history keeps on repeating all the time.
thousand heroes have stolen fire from the gods. A thousand wolves have
eaten grandmother, a thousand princesses have been kissed. A million
unknowing actors have moved, unknowing, through the pathways of story.
don't care who takes part in them. All that matters is that the story
gets told, that the story repeats. Or, if you prefer to think of it like
this: stories are a parasitical life form, warping lives in the service
only of the story itself.
It takes a special kind of person to fight back, and become the bicarbonate of history."
is of course the admirable witches from the Discworld: Nanny Ogg,
Magrat Garlick, and Granny Weatherwax, who take on this role. I love the
interaction between them. I love their bickering, their bawdiness, and
their interpretations of foreign places and foreigners. But mostly I
love their humanity and their integrity.
Perhaps this wasn't quite as scintillating as I would have liked, but I still enjoyed reading it. A Lot.
Alas it is probably a book for adults rather than kids in my elementary school. I doubt children, and even teens, have the sophistication to understand and appreciate the many nuances that make this book a keeper.
I am a John Green fan. I should get that out of the way right off the top so you will know that I am slightly biased when I talk about his work.
I read Looking For Alaska while on a five hour road trip. My poor partner looked at me askance more than once as I sobbed uncontrollably next to him in the front seat of our car.
While I have enjoyed many of Green’s other novels since, nothing until The Fault in Our Stars, has had the same impact on me.
It is the story of two teenage cancer patients who fall in love.
It is about trying to find out what happens after the story ends.
I can’t tell you much more without spoiling the book for you.
I loved the characters. I am sure that half the people who read this book will fall in love with Augustus Waters and the other half will fall in love with Hazel Grace.
It felt authentic to me. These people were real. Their experience was believable.
I loved the profound discussion about living and dying. You can’t read this book and walk away not having thought more deeply about your own existence and reason for being.
There are so many beautiful quotes to pull from it.
“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”
“Sometimes people don't understand the promises they're making when they make them..... But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is”
“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”
“The real heroes anyway aren't the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention.”
“...while the world wasn't built for humans, we were built for the world.”
It took John Green 10 years to write this book.
It was worth the wait.
I will get it for our grade seven shelf.