Book Review: Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

Books like Unseen Academicals is the reason why rereading is eye-opening. The first time around I read the book, I wasn’t impressed. I thought Pratchett had lost some of his earlier magic. The truth was that he had changed and evolved, and I could not see it. Yes, it would be easy to get caught with football part of the story, which has depth and cheeky satire towards the passion people bestow to all things, but underneath that lurks a bigger idea: mental health and selfhood.

This book is all about who you are, how you value yourself, what others think of you and demand from you, and how it weighs heavily upon us. This narrative was visible with Nutt, Glenda, Jules, Trevor, Pepe, and even Ponder Stibbons and Archchancellor. All of us are trapped by our past, our bodies, the makeup of how we came to be, the social aspect of it, and the expectations of others and our self-image. All of those can help you succeed, but they can keep you back or pull you down and drown you, especially if you let them define your worth. Nutt is a perfect example of this. He is not a human. He is generally considered evil, and that evil is his genetic makeup, and not because of what can be found in his heart. He is continuously and passionately searching worth to such extent he has lost himself and is hurting his mind. Pratchett offers him an escape: to know thyself and accept it, and love something and others and what you do, and you are not what others say you are and where you came, you are who you want to be. Such a beautiful story.

It is too easy to expect and demand the writer to stay the same and deliver the same story again and again. Pratchett, with his later books, shook off some of the constraints and got deeper and darker. The cheeky lightness turned more into satire, and I’m glad it did. Unseen Academicals is an excellent book. The topic I chose is only part what the book has to offer. There are so many layers into this book you get to see with different characters. Jules and her fashion icon. Pepe and how he came to be. Ponder Stibbons and extra burden, plus his disinterest to gloat in other’s misery. Trevor Likely’s promise to his mum. Glenda Sugarbean’s control over other’s destinies. So on. Also, we get a glimpse of Lady Margalotta’s and Lord Vetinari’s relationship. What a cocktail!

I’m glad I saw the errors of my way. I love this book.

Thank you for reading and have an excellent day ❤

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