Please be gentle with me on this book review - my brain is still definitely in recovery mode from this weekend.
Basically since starting this journal, I've been meaning to write about the books I'm reading and the movies I'm watching, but just haven't really got around to it because work has been off the rails. But now there's a friending meme on, and I've been wanting to get to know more folks online, so it seems like the perfect time to write about more than just what's going on in my life (though of course, I will keep doing that. Journaling is important.)
So ... here's a (very casual) review of "Neverwhere!"
I picked this up again because my book club was reading it, but I unfortunately didn't finish it when that meeting rolled around, but I kept reading it. This was somewhat difficult for me to get through, first off because when I read it I the first time I was in an abusive relationship, so I definitely kept being reminded of things that happened at that time. The other reason I had trouble getting into it was this: I forgot how funny it is! I generally don't go in much for humor, and this is a very specific kind of humor. Of course, it starts to get more serious in tone as the book goes on and the plot unfolds, but that is definitely not something I remembered from the first time I read it.
"Neverwhere" is one of Neil Gaiman's earlier works, so it is a bit clunky in some areas. It is good to note that this is also an adaptation from the miniseries, which I remember liking quite a bit more. Gaiman's writing is always very visual, but this one is particularly visual. I want to curl up in the world of Neverwhere and, very carefully, drink my tea and people-watch. It's so very tangible.
The universe beneath London, beneath the major cities of the world, fascinates me still. There's also this interesting social justice aspect of it - though there doesn't seem to be a political point. It's more a challenge - Gaiman makes very real the fact that people who have fallen through the cracks of society become invisible. The horror of the book is the suggestion that maybe there is something greater at work. Richard's pain at being invisible, being taken for insane, being forgotten by his loved ones - it's something that many people think about, but swallow their feelings and shake it off. London Below is a beautiful place that many people enjoy, and ( spoiler )
What I appreciated most about this was the way the world was constructed. It is at once so dangerous, but so beautiful, and downright fun. The alternative that "Neverwhere" puts forward is very attractive - and Gaiman writes it as if it is so much closer to human experience than our society of safety, security, and office jobs.
All in all, I'm very glad I reread this book. Even though humor is not typically my cup of tea, it's worth it for the worldbuilding.