The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

A Monday Book Review

“Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master!” This is part of the refrain of the Wee Free Men, the little pictsies who help Tiffany Aching along on her quest to find her kidnapped brat-of-a-brother Wentworth. It’s also what I imagine the stinking* irises are shouting at me as I scold them into submission before ripping them from the ground.

Iris Foetidissima

Stinking Irises

But, oh yes, Pratchett’s book. It was quite funny! I love a book that makes me laugh, and there’s something inherently funny about picsties (six-inch blue men with red hair) who love fighting, stealing, and drinking. Plus what’s not to love about a girl who will use her little brother as bait so she can bash a monster over the head with a frying pan?

*possible spoilers in here*

But when Tiffany finds out the fairy queen kidnapped Wentworth, she follows them to a fairy kingdom to retrieve him, the Wee Free Men tagging along to help her out. And that’s where I stopped having as much fun with the book.

Let me be clear: Terry Pratchett really is a genius, and I could not write his books better. The following is a matter of personal taste, not an attack on his skill as an author.

Basically, I don’t have much patience for fairy kingdoms or alternate worlds (exception to this rule: Graceling by Kristin Cashore). Not my thing. Someday I might have a great idea and go with it for a book of my own, but I sort of doubt it. When the rules change, and when dreams are involved and the rules change rapidly, my ability to suspend disbelief is…suspended. Not only that, but when the dreams are controlled by a character, and then that control is wrested away by another character, and so on? Nope. I’m not buying it.

Plus I’m trying to read fast because Z is running around tackling me and trying to swipe my book away, and then there’s like this never-ending ending, the climax of the story going on forever.

The book was good. I’m glad I read it. And when I need some funny little blue people to bring some laughter into my day, I’ll pick up another of Pratchett’s books. Or I can paint Z blue, dye her hair red, and dress her in a kilt. Teach her to talk with a Scottish accent.

*Note: “Stinking” here is not an adjective, but part of a compound noun. That’s really the name of the irises, iris foetidissima. While getting rid of the tempting red poisonous berry seeds is one reason I’m pulling them up, the other reason is I resent their very stubborn presence. Husband says it’s because they are as stubborn as I am. I was a little resentful of his presence too, when he said that.


  1. Dana · March 15, 2010

    I like how you qualify you’re not bashing Pratchett so that your husby and I do not come after you with pitchforks and torches.

    • bethhull · March 15, 2010

      Yeah, can’t insult him; he has too many fans. And some, like you, might be aggressive. 🙂

  2. Randi · March 15, 2010

    I can hear the Scottish accent already in my imagination coming from granddaughter’s mouth…but not the blue paint…please!

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