After having finished the behemoth that was Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (see review here), and accidentally on purpose binging some kinda spooky Netflix (nothing really terrible, just the TV show, Whitechapel, which I enjoyed but was disappointed in the ending of it – could have been better wrapped, but I understand it was not renewed, so, gotta live with that sort of thing), I desperately needed something that was light, safe, familiar and funny. I had a little look at my bookshelf, and selected a suitable pick-me-up: Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men. This is actually a book intended for younger readers, but as with much of Pratchett, it’s readable by all ages.
This book tells the story of young witch-in-waiting/training, Tiffany Aching. She was born into a shepherding family “on the chalk”, a rural community on the Discworld. Her granny, Granny Aching, is something like a witch, but of practical magic, like never losing a sheep to the wolves. When Tiffany’s little brother is stolen by the queen of fairyland, she must team up with a crew of tiny, wode-painted pictsies (fond of fighting, stealing and swearing) to get him back. There’s plenty of hijinks and fairytale reference, comical namings (looking at you “Smaller-than-medium-sized-jock-but-not-as-small-as-wee-jock-Jock” and “Rob Anybody”). A good introduction to the Discworld witches from an alternative avenue.
Yes. Definitely. Like, I wanna get a bookshelf and slowly but surely collect all of the Pratchett that exists in the world. One day I’ll have a delightful library, and will have a whole section dedicated to these books written for adults of all ages.
It’s the kind of book that you have to laugh out loud at points while reading, and one day, I’ll definitely be reading Tiffany Aching to my children. She’s a wonderful, clever bad-ass, with pluck and plenty of common sense.