Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mister Creecher (YA)

Mister Creecher. Chris Priestly. 2011. Bloomsbury. 390 pages.

Billy pulled his clammy coat collar tightly to his throat. It was damp with the fog and felt like the tongue of a dead animal lolling against his neck. His thin body shivered and trembled. He was fifteen but looked eight. A fever sweat glistened on his forehead. His breaths were short; they puffed from his mouth in feeble wisps.

When the novel opens, our hero, Billy, is getting ready to rob a corpse. The corpse in question turns out not to be a corpse at all, but a "Mr. Creecher." A dead-looking man of large proportion. He "saves" Billy just moments later when a mean gang of thieves (Billy's also a thief of course) shows up threatening him. But his "savior" wants Billy to do a little work for him. He wants Billy to follow two men about town. A Mr. Frankenstein and a Mr. Clerval. Billy easily agrees to this. And so it odd friendship of sorts...partly based on convenience and circumstance.

At first Billy barely knows a thing about Creecher. And he doesn't mind not knowing. What little he has heard, what little mumblings (or grumblings) he's heard, he's been able to ignore. And even when the truth--the Creecher's truth--is revealed, Billy has a hard time REALLY believing that such a thing is so, that something like that is even possible. But as the story progresses, Billy hears more and more of the Creecher's tale. At times Billy thinks he talks WAY TOO MUCH. He accuses him of talking like a girl, a woman. Of being too in-touch with his feelings, of loving novels and reading too much. I didn't agree with every little thing Billy said. (I was later very glad I didn't!!!) But. It provided an interesting perspective of viewing Mary Shelley's creation or creature.
'Shut up!' Billy snapped. 'Why do you have to be such a...'
He snarled and kicked a moss-covered branch and sent it tumbling into the darkness. Without the coachlights, the moon provided the only illumination to the scene.
'You see how it is for me,' said Creecher. 'I try to help and--'
'It's always about you, isn't it?' said Billy. 'Oh, poor me--I'm ugly and no one likes me. Boo hoo, boo hoo. Well, life ain't a bowl of cherries for the rest of us neither!'
'But you can live among them...'
Billy fumed for a few moments, unable to express his feelings. The truth was he had never felt part of 'them.' He had never belonged.
'Oh yeah. I can get treated like filth,' he replied. 'I can starve or steal. I can hang. If you want someone to feel sorry for you, you've come to the wrong place.' (191)
The novel is set in the middle of Frankenstein. The creature has requested Frankenstein create a mate for him, and Victor has agreed. The novel ends with them on their way to Scotland.

I liked this one. I really, really liked it. I'm not sure that I absolutely loved it. I'm not sure it will make my favorites list. But I am SO GLAD I read it. I found it a great read. Very quick, very enjoyable. The tone of this one was just right. It was just a great, great read. It definitely made me think!

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kailana said...

I am glad it was a great read!

Ms. Yingling said...

Ooh. It looks really nice and creepy. I'll have to take a look.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

This sounds really strange and creepy but like a totally fun time.

Unknown said...

I loved this one as well, especially the reveal at the end. ;)