Title: Going Postal
Author: Terry Pratchett
Series: Discworld #33
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
The Overview: Moist von Lipwig was a con artist and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork’s ailing postal service back on its feet. It was a tough decision. But he has to see that the mail gets through, come rain, hail, sleet, dogs, the Post Office Workers’ Friendly and Benevolent Society, the evil chairman of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company, and a midnight killer. Getting a date with Adora Bell Dearheart would be nice, too. Maybe it’ll take a criminal to succeed where honest men have failed, or maybe it’s a death sentence either way. Or perhaps there’s a shot at redemption in the mad world of the mail, waiting for a man who’s prepared to push the envelope… -Goodreads
Okay I’ll admit it… I read a Pratchett and liked it.
I’ve long lumped Pratchett in with Piers Anthony and Douglas Adams as the type of over-the-top humor writers or stories that are just too ridiculous for me to enjoy. I just assumed I wouldn’t like his works… I’m glad I was wrong.
I realize this is like the 30-something book in the Discworld Saga and I read it considerably out of order. I normally balk at even the idea of breaking continuity like that. But the subject-matter of a low-stakes fantasy where a convicted criminal is put in charge of a run-down postal office appealed to me considerably.
And you know what? I actually thought it was funny.
I tend to prefer dry humor, but in this case the humor worked for me because the jokes and situations were CLEVER. Very intelligently written and prevalent enough to keep me feeling a bubbling fondness for the book the entire way through. I feel like I had to work to get some of the jokes (in a good way) and that subtly somehow made them funnier. I had such a good time with this book that I plan to read more from Pratchett at some point.
The last 20% of Going Postal lost me a little, as it became more about (I imagine) bigger-picture series conflicts than just the post office drama, but that didn’t bother me too much. One thing I liked while reading was how many random “moments” occurred with what I can only guess as cameos from characters from other books in the series. I got the sense everything weaved together, and I truly love stuff like that in series. It makes me want to pick up more books to learn more about everyone.
Overall, I held out for such a long time, but I’m glad a weird impulse drove me to pick up Going Postal on a whim. It was truly delightful, and I am now a Pratchett believer.
Recommendations: if like me you’ve been hesitating to read Pratchett because Discworld seems too ridiculous, I can assure you that at least this one book never falls over the edge into “downright stupid.” It was very clever, loads of fun, and I’d recommend it if you need something to brighten your mood.
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by Niki Hawkes