A review by bluejayreads
The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett

adventurous emotional funny medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

My very first foray into the Discworld series was Wintersmith, the third book featuring Tiffany, but I remember almost nothing from it. The Wee Free Men introduces Tiffany, a nine-year-old living in the Chalk, a sheep-farming community based on hills of chalk covered by sod, who is more intelligent and observant than most people in her community are prepared to deal with and who desperately wants to be a witch. 

Then in very short order, she discovers that she is, in fact, a witch, and she needs to figure out how to use her powers in very short order because her world is colliding with another one, the Queen has kidnapped her little brother, and she's the only person around who can do anything about it. With the help of the local Nac Mac Feegle, a bunch of tiny blue Scottish men, Tiffany goes up against living nightmares, dream-controlling creatues, spoiled little boys, and the Queen of Fairyland herself, armed only with a frying pan, her witchy wits, and a bunch of tiny blue men. 

And, like every Discworld adventure I've read so far, it's absolutely delightful. It's full of Terry Pratchett's usual witicisms and clever turns of phrase, and many moments of humor and mirth, but it also covers a lot of deeper themes - Tiffany's own fears about being a selfish person, the grief of her grandmother dying that she hadn't processed yet, her motives for rescuing her brother even though she doesn't love him and her fear that that makes her a bad person. It's a great combination of deep and lighthearated that made me tear up a few times, both from mirth and feelings. 

I was a tiny bit weirded out by the fact that Tiffany was nine years old during these events. She seemed a lot older - or at least, not that young. It's emphasized that she's bookish and very intelligent for her age, but it just seemed like a huge disconnect between how Tiffany was acting in this book and how I remember my sister at nine years old. Although she did remind me of my own self-perception when I was around that age, so perhaps it's told more from a nine-year-old's sense of how she is as opposed to how an outside reader would perceive her. 

I very much enjoyed this book, and surprisingly it spoke to my own insecurities. It makes me want to be a Discworld witch, which is less about magic spells and more about observation and common sense. But above all, it makes me want to read more Discworld books, and especially more of the ones about Tiffany. 

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