Guys. I’m ridiculously late on the Terry Pratchett train. I read Good Omens in high school when Mia foisted it upon me(I think? I’m pretty sure that, along with the Sir Apropos of Nothing books was one of the first things I read because Mia Said So), and then read everything else Neil Gaiman had ever written, but somehow never got around to Pratchett. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me that I missed the first few times the train came by, but I’m absolutely delighted to have caught it now. Braden picked up Going Postal after we watched Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather on Christmas Eve with his folks, told me I’d like it, and jumped in line ahead of the books Mia sent me by the sheer oddity of quotes he had been tossing at me.
Going Postal is a Discworld book, which I think is actually the thing that had scared me off Pratchett previously. Almost everything he writes is in the Discworld universe, and I had always thought it’d be a bit of a commitment to get into, but apparently, you can read the books in any which order you’d like. There might be some of the same characters, there might even be continuing plot, but the books are self-contained. I found Going Postal to be an absolutely delightful place to start.
Moist von Lipwig(yes, really) is essentially brilliant at fooling people, although at the beginning of the book, we find him about to be hanged for stealing quite a large sum of money from the bank. In fact, we see Moist hang within the first few pages. Before you yell spoilers, really, what happens after that is what makes the book. Rather than being properly dead, Moist is “saved”, as it were, by Patrician Vetinari, and given a choice. Either take the position of postmaster at the defunct post office, or walk out through a door that leads to a rather long fall. Moist, ever the clever one, takes the position, attempts to escape, is brought back to the city, and then takes the position.
The characters in this book are utterly delightful. My favorite is probably Mr.Pump, a golem who is Moist’s parole officer and assistant, to keep up the appearance of not being a criminal. Mr.Pump, being a golem, is rather matter of fact in his communication, and pronounces the capital letters at the beginning of each word.
This is one of those books that fails the Bechedel test in retrospect, but I didn’t mind it while reading. I sort of…expect it in fantasy books, to be honest, which is sad. Pratchett is delightful and funny, and altogether creates a rather fun cast, if not necessarily evenly weighted across genders. There are some other problematic sections too: there’s a bit towards the end describing one of the cronies of the competing message delivery service’s fat that’s done is a way that made me uncomfortable, but it was short and it was not too terrible to move on from.
Overall, this book was a very needed switch-up from The Handmaid’s Tale. The pervasive humor is so very British in a way that tickled me. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and would certainly recommend it to any one as a way to get to know Pratchett’s writing. Also, prior to writing this review, I didn’t know their was a two-part TV special of the book, so now I know what I’m doing next time Braden asks me what I want to watch with dinner! Mwahhaa!