by Terry Pratchett | Children's Books |
ISBN: 0552551007 Global Overview for this book
Registered by erinacea of Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on 4/26/2014
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by erinacea from Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Saturday, April 26, 2014
The first time I heard of this book it was in the form of a reference to a book Harry was reading in the fanfic story Stealing Harry Potter. With only the title to go by I figured it was about truck drivers (which it is, in a manner of speaking), something that didn't interest me in the least (for the same reason I'm giving Pixar's Cars franchise a wide berth).

Now, about two weeks ago, when following the (highly recommendable) Mark Reads project, currently covering the first couple of Discworld books (in which a man called Mark reads various books, completely unspoiled, and reviews them) I came across a youtube video recommended in the comments section, which features another guy also reading the Discworld series in chronological order.
In this video, he basically explains his reasons for choosing the chronological order as opposed to the more popular method of reading the books one character set at a time. As an aside, he raves on about the brilliance of Pratchett's children's books, and Truckers, in particular. Watching him enthuse about the book made me really want to read it ... immediately, a reaction I'd never had before to anyone describing a book to me.

Not having that book around, I made a mental note of buying it as soon as I got around to it (which I did, the following Tuesday) and, since DemonTomatoDave also sang praise to the joy of reading in general (that guy could become a television priest or door-to-door salesman, whichever he prefered, and be incredible successful in either profession), settled for the next-best solution of reading any other book in English I had lying around.

Over Easter, I found the time to read this book. And I love it!

About the book:
For generations, a tribe of (g)nomes has lived in a large department store. Since the store boasts to contain "All Things Under One Roof", over time, they have become convinced that there is no such thing as Outside. But everything changes as a small troop of Outsiders arrives in the store, and the native nomes must face the harsh reality that, this time, "Everything Must Go" includes the nomes themselves.

Not only is the story a delightful read in itself, but it also covers aspects not usually encountered in a children's book such as the importance of critical thinking. In fact, one of the main selling points in DemonTomatoDave's rant had been the intriguing concept of a pseudo-religion based around advertising slogans the nomes living at the store take for gospel. The book also deals with women's rights, scientific curiosity, and the difficulties of leadership, even though none of them are the focus of the tale. These topics actually brought to mind Pratchett's Nation. Rereading my review, Mau might have some things in common with Masklin.

I loved the communication pitfalls both among the two types of nomes with their different experiences and expectations and whenever Masklin (the main character) tries to talk to "the Thing". These difficulties bring Masklin to the realization, "Some things you can't think, unless you know the right words", which is an incredible, powerful idea and one of my favourite lines in the book.
From then on, the pursuit of knowledge becomes an important task for the nomes as the first step along the "Critical Path", another concept I would not have expected in a children's book.

Along the way, there's an abundance of laugh-out-loud funny situations typical of Pratchett, usually as a result of the nomes misunderstanding something the humans say or do, but the story and characters always remain at the forefront. I love how the nomes have built a society around the store and manage to repurpose human equipment for their own use, and especially the inventiveness required to overcome the size difficulties (nomes are much, much smaller than humans) when dealing with said equipment. Character-wise, I adore Masklin and Grimma, but I've also grown fond of the more quirky side characters such as Dorcas or Granny Morkie, and am looking forward to reading the sequels.

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