Book – Mr Toppit
Author – Charles Elton
Year – 2009
Genre – Fiction
Pages – 343
I grabbed this one in a charity shop in Dartford because it had a pretty intriguing cover. The dark tree-like swirls and the cut out front make it look like a good fantasy crossover. Reading the blurb enhances this idea – the story is about the death of Arthur Hayman, writer of the children’s books The Hayseed Chronicles, and how his family deals with the legacy left behind when his books become a Harry Potter-esque phenomenon, and the secrets hidden within them.
Unfortunately, the books are just a plot device, and not used in the way that I had hoped – to become part of the ‘real world’ of the story – and when that became clear to me, I was a little disappointed. However, I thought I would read on, as the books had already hooked me in with a good concept behind them of the lead character, Luke, who is written about in the stories, and now must live his life as ‘the boy from the book’.
What started out as a good read though, went quickly downhill. Moments of the book are massively unbelievable, virtually none of the characters are likable, some plot lines peter out into unsatisfactory resolutions, and nothing really feels like it has happened. It is by no means an absolutely awful book – the tensions between the family are done wonderfully, and there are occasional moments of dialogue that are lovely – but after the first hundred or so pages, I started to feel that I would have been better off reading something else with my time, as I don’t really think that this is the kind of book that is going to be something I am thinking about for long now.