Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thursday Next

Book: Thursday Next
Author: Jasper Fforde
Like/Don't Like: How can you not like a book that turns Pride and Prejudice into a reality show?

I started cursing my memory about 2 pages into this book. This is the fifth in a terrific series of books but it's been a few years since I've read them. The only thing I've been able to pull from my memory about them is my deep love, because they're HILARIOUS. They're witty and well written and they take you on some pretty funny adventures. I recommend them to anyone who loves to read because the series is set in a parallel universe (England, from about 1980 to the present) that is obsessed with books. They have Milton conventions and Henry V plays like the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The heroine, Thursday Next, has the ability to travel into books so along with meeting all the characters in the real world you get to meet all sorts of characters from your favorite novels. And don't worry about not being well read. It mostly deals with the classics and even if you haven't read half of them you will still know enough about them to appreciate them. For instance, one of the funniest scenes in whole series (and the only one I can actually remember) is an anger management session with the characters from Wuthering Heights. And, true confession time, I've never read it. I've tried 7 times and have never made it passed page 50. I'm a failure, I know. But that did not stop me from laughing like a loon when all the people in the group went around the room to say why they hate Heathcliff.

But where was I? Right, my memory. We've established that it's bad. Along with being incredibly witty the book is also kind of a complex. Thursday jumps back and forth from the book world to the real world and there are dozens of characters and plot lines and bad guys trying to kill her. And if you let it the whole thing can seem like one big confusing mess. Which totally makes you want to read them, right? Well, have no fear. I'm telling you all this because IT DOESN'T EVEN MATTER. Even with my bad memory and simple mind I still fell right back in love with the story. And even after making the enormous mistake of putting it down for a month after I made it to page 50. I completely forgot everything I had read but didn't want to go back and re-read so I just went for it. And I was fine. From the very first chapter of the very first book I had to tell myself to not get bogged down with the details. There are loads of them and in the end they don't make much difference. They're just there to give you laugh. The real story always makes itself clear and I was amazed again at how everything came together in the end.


Maija-Liisa said...

I absolutely abhor 'Wuthering Heights'. I read it as a teenager and didn't like it. Being like you I completely forgot why I hated it and thought I might appreciate it as an adult. No such luck. It was like pulling teeth. How anyone can like any of those despicable chararcters is beyond me. On a happier note,
I've totally added Thursday next to my "to read" section on It sounds fabulous. Thanks!

Rach said...

I just finished reviewing the first 3 books in the series (see my blog,, and you'll see that Rachel recommended all of these books to me. I'm about 50 pages from the end of the 4th book, and have Thursday Next sitting on my nightstand, waiting. I'm looking forward to P&P references. Those I get. And I agree that the anger therapy session in Wuthering Heights is hilarious. And I read that book when I was 19 as an attempt to make up for my lack of good reading throughout high school, and figured I was missing something, and that's why it was so miserable. Then I started it again a year ago and couldn't get through it. So, amen to Rachel and Maija-Liisa. Thanks again for the recommend, Rachel. They're fab books.

Valerie said...

I couldn't read this, because I'm not that far into the series, and I didn't want to spoil anything. But, I'm sure I agree, I loooooooove Thursday Next. I wanted to be her for Halloween, but James convinced me it might be too inside.