The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Where have you been all my life, Terry Pratchett? How could you have written so many books, and I am just now discovering you? The bad news is, I have missed out on so much good reading, here. The good news is, I still have it all ahead of me, and I’m excited to have all these stories waiting for my reading pleasure! I can’t wait to delve into each and every one of the 39 books (so far) in this series!
The Wee Free Men is actually the 30th book in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. It had the feel of a stand alone novel, and I suspect it might be the first of the Tiffany Aching books, so perhaps the entire series has various books about individual characters who live in, or on, the Discworld. I’ll have to get back to you on that one. But this introduction to the ten-year old Tiffany was priceless.
Tiffany has begun to realize that her beloved Granny Aching, who has gone on to the next world, was in fact, a witch. A witch whose job was to take care of those with “no voices o’ their own,” like the sheep and lambs she so tenderly administered to. But also, to keep an eye on the “edges,” or borders, between our world and the many, many others that exist. Tiffany’s journey of discovery about her own abilities and her place in her world is magical, touching, and so much fun.
The Wee Free Men of the title refers to a clan of kilt-wearing pictsies (NOT pixies, as they are quick to inform you), the Nac Mac Feegles, who are only six inches high, with so many tattoos they appear to have blue skin. These guys are hilarious, with wonderfully colorful Scottish accents and faces that look “like a hatful of knuckles.” With names like Rob Anybody, and No’-as-big-as-Medium-Sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-Wee-Jock-Jock, you are laughing even before they open their mouths. I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a group of characters as much.
Plus, with bad folk ranging from Jenny Green-Teeth to Dromes to an evil Fairy Queen, there are plenty of battles for the Wee Free Men to engage in, all the while shouting things like “They can tak’ our lives but they canna tak’ oour troousers!” Or “Ye’ll tak’ the high road, an’ I’ll tak’ yer wallet!”
All I can say is, you have to read the book to understand just how truly funny and heartwarming it is. In the BEST sense, and not the sappy, mushy, cutesie sense that would make any self-respecting Nac Mac Feegle sick to his little blue tummy. I highly recommend this one. If you want a real lift in your spirits, get it. Fast.
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