He was there. All the way. And that makes a difference.
So thank you Rob Wilkins, for writing the biography of Terry Pratchett, and for writing it so well, making it almost as humorous as if Terry himself had had a go at it. But most of all, thank you for being there with Terry, especially towards the end, when it can’t have been much fun.*
It’s been a while since I enjoyed a book quite as much as this one. Even when tears threatened to overwhelm me towards the end of the book, it was still [sort of] funny.
The doubts were there from the beginning. Can Rob really write a book, and can he write this particular book? Well, yes, he can and he did. He had help, from Terry himself, who had begun to gather facts about his life, especially the early years. Convenient, since Rob wasn’t around then. Other people helped, like his UK editor Philippa Dickinson.** (When Philippa once talked to me about editing Terry’s books, it wasn’t at all obvious how much she did. Now I know.)
Setting aside the fame and the money and the ability to write all those lovely books, I discovered I had a lot in common with Terry. He was clearly more right than I was when he suggested this.***
And, I know this is not about me at all. But I could only read A Life With Footnotes by keeping in mind where and when our paths crossed. I was at some of the events mentioned. In other cases I was there before or right after. And it seems I was less wrong than I thought in ‘holding on to’ Terry on that September day in 2010. Also, much of the off the record information I’ve been keeping quiet about has now been revealed.
I’ve said this before; I am so glad I have as many books left to read as I do. Now that Rob has shared what went on backstage, I feel the urge to go and check stuff again.****
If you love Terry Pratchett, this is the book for you.
*That taxi ride in New York, for instance.
** Who is ‘not a cantankerous bat after all.’
***At our second interview in 2010.
****I will need to make lists.