This one, like The Eyre Affair, has been on my shelf for quite some time. I picked it up in July of last year, but I have no recollection of where, but that’s neither here, nor there. What really matters is that the series has DEFINITELY picked up and the only reason it took me a week to read it is because I flew 1,200+ miles (MA to NC to MA) and drove 900+ (All over NC).
I’m not sure if this will be my last read for 2015, but if it is I’m okay with that. I’m already planning to dive right into The Well of Lost Plots, but I’m not sure if I’ll want to go right into Something Rotten or if I should go ahead and read an advance copy of a book I have for January. I also really want to read a set of books I got for Christmas. I guess it’s a good thing I have too many choices right?
Where Fforde got me this time was with the minor characters (and minor character syndrome, HA!). Sure I love Thursday and even the Hades family, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Jack Schitt, Brik Shit-Hawse, Grandma Next and Cordelia Flakk (her persistence that Thursday do a workout video had me giggling at the end of the novel). The names are one thing, but then when you add in their antics you can’t help but appreciate Fforde’s wit and humor! So many of the names of people, places and things are word play and I know I’m missing some, but I’m getting enough to make me smile so I can’t really complain. And don’t even get me started on Miss Havisham! Fforde has taken something of Dickens and made me like it. That’s no feat let me tell you.
I’m also starting to get used to the technology and the terminology so things are a lot less confusing than in book one. The entroposcope, which tells if entropy is fading and there are too many coincidences and thus some sort of problem, and the footnoter phone where characters and Jurisfiction members can talk to each other was hilarious once I figured out what it was and what was going on. And don’t get me started on how jealous I am Thursday gets to jump in and out of books as a job:
“And then, in a revelatory moment, the clouds slid back from my mind and a crystal-clear understanding of the very nature of books shone upon me. They weren’t just collections of words arranged neatly on a page to give the impression of reality—each of these volumes was reality. The similarity of these books to the copies I had read back home was no more than the similarity a photograph has to its subject. These books were alive!” (175)
I also had a bit of an extra soft spot for this book as it takes place in part of Sense and Sensibility and I really enjoyed the way Mrs. John Dashwood attempted to wheedle her way out of her bad reputation
“She glanced furtively to left and right and lowered her voice. ‘Does everyone out there think my husband and I are so very cruel, cutting the girls and their mother out of Henry Dashwood’s bequest?’ She looked at me so very seriously that I wanted to smile. ‘Well,’ I began— ‘Oh I knew it!’ gasped Mrs. Dashwood. She pressed the back of her hand to her forehead in a dramatic gesture. ‘I told John that we should reconsider—I expect out there we are burnt in effigy, reviled for our actions, damned for all time?’ ‘Not at all,’ I said, attempting to console her. ‘Narratively speaking, without your actions there wouldn’t be much of a story.’ Mrs. Dashwood took a handkerchief from her cuff and dried her eyes, which, as far as I could see, had not even the smallest tear in them.” (286-287)
There was definitely a tear-jerker moment in this novel, but Fforde’s style kept it from being too harsh and he sort of put the kibosh on that at the end of the novel too. You never know what to expect except the unexpected.
Recommendation: So far, so good. The series definitely improved in this book and I can’t wait to find out how Thursday tackles her multiple enemies and deals with her other two dilemmas she has to sort out.
Opening Line: “I didn’t ask to be a celebrity.”
Closing Line: “As my father said, it’s funny the way things turn out.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)
Additional Quotes from Lost In A Good Book
“Marriage, like spinach and opera, was something I had never thought I would like. I changed my mind about opera when I was nine years old. My father took me to the first night of Madama Butterfly at Brescia in 1904. After the performance Dad cooked while Puccini regaled me with hilarious stories and signed my autograph book—from that day on I was a devoted fan. In the same way, it took being in love with Landen to make me change my mind about marriage. I found it exciting and exhilarating; two people, together, as one. It was where I was meant to be. I was happy; I was contented; I was fulfilled. And spinach? Well, I’m still waiting.” (93)
“Poor, dear, sweet Jane [Eyre]! I would so hate to be a first-person character! Always on your guard, always having people reading your thoughts! Here we do what we are told but think what we wish. It is a much happier circumstance, believe me!” (Marianne Dashwood, 280)
“Not just unpublished. The Well of Lost Plots is where vague ideas ferment into sketchy plans. This is the Notion Nursery. The Word Womb. Go down there and you’ll see plot outlines coalescing on the shelves like so many primordial life forms. The spirits of roughly sketched characters flit about the corridors in search of plot and dialogue before they are woven into the story. If they get lucky, the book finds a publisher and rises into the Great Library above.” (300)
“I was on HPD— Heathcliff Protection Duty—in Wuthering Heights for two years, and believe me, the ProCaths tried everything. I personally saved him from assassination eight times.” (305)
“Don’t cry, Thursday. It’s how it happens. It’s how it has always happened, always will happened. Take my chronograph; I’m not going to need it anymore.” (384)