Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mr. Toppit

by: Charles Elton
published by: Other Press
publish date: November 2010

When Arthur Hayman, an unsuccessful screenwriter turned children’s book author, is accidentally hit by a cement truck in London, his dying moments are spent with a passing American tourist, Laurie Clow, who is fated to bring posthumous fame to his obscure series, The Hayseed Chronicles, and the enigmatic and sinister Mr. Toppit who is at the center of the books. While Arthur doesn’t live to reap the benefits of his books’ success, his legacy falls to his widow, Martha, and their children—the fragile Rachel, and Luke, reluctantly immortalized as the fictional Luke Hayseed, hero of his father’s series. But others want their share of the Hayseed phenomenon, particularly Laurie, who has a mysterious agenda of her own that changes all of their lives as Martha, Rachel, and Luke begin to crumble under the heavy burden of their inheritance.

I've noticed that opinions of this book seem to fall distinctly one way or the other. I think it might be the British humor, maybe it doesn't appeal so much to American readers? However, I think if you've read the Harry Potter series as an adult and been exposed to all the crazy hype, you'd probably have a little bit more appreciation for this book.

I listened to the audiobook and I have to say the narrator, Simon Vance, did an amazing job. He really brought the whole story to another level that made it so colorful. There was one scene, when the family is meeting with the producer and the actor starring in the TV show for the first time, that he did so perfectly. I thought I was going to drive off the road laughing. The joke Luke plays on one of his school mates was hilarious too.

So I'd say read it with the understanding that it isn't an "American" book. It's more like watching a British "drama-dy" on PBS. If that's your cup of tea, than you're in for a treat!

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