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The Wee Free Men Terry Pratchett

Default Sharky Or: The reason Smiles spent a week talking in a very loud, very bad, Scottish accent.
Shocked Smiles It was NOT loud!
Sassy Sharky So you admit it was bad?
Default Smiles I just need practice! And now that we’ve reread the book, guess what I’m doing this week?
Quiet Sharky
Surprised Smiles Now. Imagine you’re playing by the river with your little brother nearby. It’s a nice, normal day, when out of nowhere you see an angry little Scotsman in the water, yelling at you. A minute later, a huge, clawed monster bursts out of the water and tries to snatch you, and then your brother. Well then. You get away, but in few days your brother disappears without a trace. You mount a rescue mission. With a frying pan. And a book about sheep diseases. And those angry little Scotsmen who are surprisingly helpful.
Surprised Sharky 2 This isn’t your normal fairy tale.
smiles-intensifies It isn’t. And it’s AMAZING.
Happy Sharky2 And for once Smiles isn’t letting his enthusiasm get the best of him. It really IS amazing. It’s a really funny, really clever book.
Default Smiles The main character, Little Miss Awesome-
Default Sharky That's not her name…
Default Smiles It might as well be! Anyway, Tiffany is a bright girl who thinks about things a little too much. And there’s surprisingly a lot she has to think about. She has to come to terms with the fact that her grandmother is dead, when everything reminds her of her. She has to deal with the fact that she resents her little brother because she’s not the youngest anymore. And as if that wasn't enough, she has to cope with the reality that any backup in this scary situation is too far away and he brother is STILL her brother, so she’s the only one right now who can go and help him. And there’s also a bit about not believing too much in stories because people are people, not characters, and ugly isn’t definitely evil any more than pretty is definitely good.
Happy Sharky2 A lot of heavy stuff. But it’s handled perfectly. It never gets too heavy, and it slips right into the fantasy and action without losing its reality. A lot of the heavier themes are mostly implied from Tiffany’s memories and dreams, or the big confrontation she has later on. She has to fight the Queen of fairyland, who  works with dreams, illusions, and preying on your insecurities and deepest fears.
It makes for a great, thoughtful base. And then on that base you splash on the comedy. That’s where the tiny Scotsmen come in. Those are the Wee Free Men from the title.
Sassy Sharky Almost every time they show up it’s pure hilarity and chaos, and generally either involves being loud and jumping into things without thinking, or being in trouble for not thinking. Hey, that sounds familiar.
Angry Smiles 2 Oy.
Sassy Sharky Heh.
Default Smiles AND, everything they say is written in an accent and it’s the best thing. They’re the ones who help Tiffany get her brother back. It’s brilliantly done because it stops the theme from getting too heavy.
Happy Sharky2 And the intense moments are properly intense without getting too ridiculous too, because funny as these guys are, the story knows better than to have them be around all the time. And once you’re used to them, everything is even scarier and quieter when they aren’t there.
Default Smiles It’s also got great, self-aware bits. Like the witch who says flying on a broom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be because you have to wear two pairs of woollen leggings and a thick pair of canvas trousers. Or the toad who discovers he used to be a lawyer and talks everyone out of trouble.
Happy Sharky Or the Wee Free Men being terrified of ‘the power of the written word’ specifically because anything written down could be used as evidence against their drunken, thieving, disorderly ways. That’s one of my favourite parts. … anything with them is automatically my favourite part. And so’s the bit near the end, when Tiffany opens her eyes the second time.
Happy Smiles Oh that’s SO good! I mean, we could just stay here all day talking about the best bits, which is most of the bits. It’s better you read it for yourself. You’ve GOT to read it for yourself. It’s so very creative.
Happy Sharky The visual descriptions of fairyland are suitably sinister and strange. But even before that, the descriptions of the real, normal world can be so beautiful and I love that emphasis that you don't need to have a fantasy setting for your surroundings to be gorgeous and stepped in story and superstition. The world's like that all over. But it's really the thought behind everything is so creative and really shakes you up when it gets intense. I know this is all just our subjective opinion, but it’s brilliant and deserves to be read.
Happy Smiles You just get swept up in this big wave of thoughtfulness and meaning and action and comedy and oh my God I followed Sharky around for DAYS reading things out.

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Default Sharky I didn’t even have to read it. He read out so much he ended up reading me the whole book. … not that I minded.
Happy Smiles So that means I can read the whole thing out again, now with an accent?
Default Sharky Can I punch you after every paragraph?
Shocked Smiles No!
Default Sharky Then no.

2 thoughts on “The Wee Free Men Terry Pratchett

  1. I remember discovering Discworld when I by chance heard “Small Gods” on BBC radio. The style, humour and amazing storytelling of Terry Pratchett made us all instant fans and we started collecting all his books that we could get our hands on. Also his radio shows. To read his books is to be transported into a flat world of wizards and witches, threatening saucepans, menacing letters, librarians with extremely long arms, deeply philosophical Death, mischievous little Scotsmen and too many strange things to mention here. All made amazingly believable by his magical storytelling.
    I hope this review will encourage you to read one of his books (start with The Wee Free Men). If you get hooked, leave a comment here.

    1. Terry Pratchett is an amazingly prolific writer, with many ‘series’ set in the same world. Some of them are much better than others, but the good ones are REALLY good. I’m glad you were lucky enough to find one of his more excellent ones to start with!

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