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The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher
"You must think it strange that I'm digging up my grandfather."
"Not at all. I'm sure many young men dig up their grandfathers."
Thomas Timewell is sixteen and a gentleman. When he meets a body-snatcher called Plenitude, his whole life changes. He is a pursued by cutthroats, a tattooed gypsy with a meat cleaver, and even the Grim Reaper. More disturbing still, Thomas has to spend an evening with the worst novelist in world.
A black comedy set in England in 1828, The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher shows what terrible events occur when you try to do the right thing. "Never a good idea", as Thomas' mother would say.
Doug MacLeod is amazing. This was as funny and fun as I expected it to be, as well as unexpectedly tragic too. The line was a pretty fine one to be crossing, but I swear he danced across it, juggling with his feet.
It was such a new kind of scene for me too - I've heard of body snatchers, but I hadn't read anything on it before. It was new, it was interesting. The only reason I take off one star is because of the end... I'm not sure how to interpret it, but if it's what I think it is, then... well, I donno, it's sort of like... what was the point?
But even so, I have no regrets reading it, I could probably read it again, it's lovely :) Well, okay, maybe lovely isn't the right word, but still...
I was looking for a good book to read in my school library, when came across this one. I was intrigued by the cover, wondering what so interesting, that those people were finding in the graves (or what they were hiding). When I read the peculiar blurb I thought this is the book for me; a strange book to fit a strange taste in books. It was then that I began the start of an unforgettable book...
Doug MacLeod takes us back to mid 19th century England, where women wearing corsets and men wearing waist coasts was what expected every day to be "respectable". Thomas has always thought this to be true, but he also believes that families should respect their loved ones wishes to donate their bodies to science when they die. This is what brings him to a grave-yard, standing on the grave of his recently deceased grandfather. What Thomas doesn't realise is his dull and boring life is going to change to adventurous and thrilling because of meeting a single man (Plenitude). This is where Thomas challenges these trivial expectations that his society holds as well as differentiating between who Thomas Timewell is and who Thomas Timewell should be. But will it all come crushing down? Was it better to know the devastating truth, or live a naive life constantly in denial?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although the blurb was downright confusing. It sounded like it was just a jumble of stuff put together for the sake of it. And really it is just a whole lot of things piled together, but reading the book made it flow from one piece of the mystery to the next. Just like a jigsaw puzzle one piece joined with another to make the picture clearer.
The main reason I enjoyed this book was because of the originality of it. I have never read anything with a similar storyline and I don't I ever will come across something like that again. The clear differences between now and then made it more enjoyable for me. Even though I couldn't say that I've been through what Thomas has, I still felt empathy for him and other characters, but it was the exhilirated feeling of letting my imagination go wild.
I don't exactly know how to classify the genre of this book. I wrote historical but really it is a comical mystery about stereotypes 200 years ago. But whatever genre it is, it is definitely a page turner. I literally could not stop reading it. Some of the surprises I already came to a similar conclusion, but some came out of nowhere. However this book is good for boys and girls aged 12+ who enjoyed the book 'World Shaker' by Richard Harland.
'The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher' was also one of the older readers short listed books for 2011 and really it deserves it; comedy, mystery and a bit of romance. What more can you ask for? So go to your nearest library to borrow a copy of 'The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher' today!