Book Review: Making Money by Terry Pratchett

Making Money, what you have done to me? I struggled to read you through, and not a year ago, I gulped you down. This was my fourth time reading Making Money, and clearly, some of the shine of Moist von Lipwig’s suit has worn out. This time I understood why, and some of you will snarl at me what I am about to write. Making Money is thin, it runs around one gimmick and one issue (a real and significant one, yes), but it is not enough to carry out the whole book when you expect Terry Pratchett-like critique against the economic issues. The one’s he set in motion in Going Postal, which has a lot more in-depth satire.

Yes, money is about, as Moist points out, belief. And the idea that we used to have a gold standard (no more, see the 70s and what happened to the dollar) is ludicrous, but unlike in the past, Pratchett doesn’t give us a clue what might be a better idea with his book. The end solution of the Making Money is no better in any sense, just a switcheroo and a huge letdown. I agree people are money as Pratchett points that out. But he never cracks up a joke about how we can even consider it as a basis for our economic systems. Okay, maybe I am expecting too much from him and this book, but I still argue Pratchett doesn’t take that one step deeper, which he usually does. Yes, he cleverly references with Lavishes to one of the most notorious banking family with actual history in piracy and robbing gold. Pratchett has done his due diligence, but what I’m missing is the extra layer of tongue cheek poking at our stupid believes. Something he has done so well in his other books. Here his famous anger falls short as if he is heart isn’t fully in it. Maybe it is an issue with Moist. Maybe he took over the book, dictating the actions. He is such a forceful personality. Who knows? The best part of Pratchett’s satire in Making Money is when he writes with big, bold letters that a person good with words can talk you into believing anything just because of hope and their downright ruthless boldness. He points out it happens in seemingly rational affairs like banking and economics. He is right. And here Moist’s personality shines. Maybe the little weasel (with all the love and respect) indeed took over.

So here we are, me frowning at myself over what I have just written. I love Making Money, the setting, the absurd conflict between Cosmo and Vetinari. Moist is always the rascal we love. Yet, I have one more issue, and that is the coherence of the story and characters. We are back to the messy side of story logic from the beginning of Discworld series, especially with the golems and Adora Belle Dearheart. Her plotline and she herself is a tool for Moist’s issues to work, and this is the first time I have seen Pratchett abuse one of his characters this way. (Okay, there have been a couple of times before, but not this on the nose.) Towards the end Adora deteriorates from a strong woman to a one-liner whose wants, needs, and mind are gone. She let’s Moist walk all over her convictions about how and when golems should be used. Throughout the series that has always been the whole essence of her being, and to see her fall short towards the end to get the plot working and to connect the dots breaks my heart. She deserves better. I’m angry.

The frown hasn’t gone away. Now I’m kicking myself. None of this mattered when I read the book first or second time around. I had fun reading how Moist tried to survive the sticky situation, becoming the guardian of the head of the bank and having Lavishes wanting his head on a spike. I loved the Igor hidden in the basement with Huber Turvy and his Glooper. All of those still held the fourth read through, but maybe I was after more or saw more. Whatever the reason was, Making Money is still close to my heart and always will be. Logic and my wishes have nothing to do with it. But some of the shine of that gold suit is gone and I don’t think I ever get it back.

Thank you for reading, have a splendid day ❤

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