I just finished Dodger by Terry Pratchett this morning. I liked it but I wouldn't recommend it for children, or teens. There is just too much opposition to my Catholic beliefs promoted in the book.
Dodger is a delightfully told tale of "historical fantasy." Dodger is somewhat like his namesake in Oliver Twist. Other characters in the book are also borrowed from history and literature, including Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, Sweeney Todd, Miss Angela Burdett-Coutts, Joseph Bazalgette, and Sir Robert Peel. The plot is well-crafted with many layers, twists, and turns. You grow to love the amicable young scamp, Dodger, as he saves a girl in distress, disarms thieves and brutes, feeds the hungry, steals from the cruel, and never commits any unnecessary violence.
Pratchett tells numerous times of how Dodger has never been to a church unless to get a free meal, doesn't believe in God as much as believe in the "Lady," Cloacia, goddess of the sewers, and generally doesn't practice any religion at all.
Pratchett also injects his view of homosexual relations. When Dodger and his guardian, Solomon, go to a Turkish bath, Solomon warns Dodger of the "Percys."
"God seems to have really taken against them." said Solomon as the hot water rose up their legs. "For myself, I can't see why, because it seems to me that, in a small way at least, they are doing this small planet something of a service by not helping to fill it with unnecessary people."Oozing throughout the novel, we hear time and again of a disrespect for the unborn and sexual mores. From the character who is a nurse and midwife, "and apparently had made a living by causing things to turn up or more often to disappear," to the church of St. Never, "a little-known saint who was in charge of things that didn't happen, which was why so many young ladies prayed there, to Dodger himself, who when compared to Virgil, retorts, "I ain't a virgin, just ask Ginny-Come-Lately," it's clear where the author stands on these behaviors.
Which is too bad, because I very much enjoy a good plot peppered with real figures from history and legend.
Dodger doesn't have any graphic sexual descriptions. However, it does contain quite a bit of scatological description. Dodger is a tosher, someone who pokes around in the sewer looking for fallen coins and other treasures. His workplace includes rats, richards, shite, and piss. If you decide to read this book, I would not do so while eating lunch. I'm speaking from experience here.
Good book, bad underlying messages. Oh well.
Oh, I almost forgot! I spent a fruitful weekend creating this button to share for the WWRW! I even paid for the graphic, so it's totally legit. Feel free to download it and use it on your own page when you link-up.