LESSON 4: GOOD OMENS or YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE, EVEN IF YOU’RE THE ANTICHRIST
My uncle made some bad choices. He also made some really good ones, like marrying my awesome aunt and keeping miniature York Peppermint Patties in the freezer. Most of the time, he chose to be himself and didn’t particularly care if anyone else approved. He was often heard chuckling at, or quietly making, irreverent jokes, especially if margaritas were involved. He was just as quick to make life-long friends with his server, rescue an abandoned kitten, or pay his niece’s cellphone bill all through college so she could call for help if she ever needed any. (He even gave me a flip-phone that looked like a communicator from the original “Star Trek” series.)
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnus Nutter, Witch is all about choices – and the plant-scaring demon, book-collecting angel, inept witch hunters, everyday humans, and the “Dennis the Menace-y” spawn of Satan who make them. In short, it’s an utterly delightful tale of Armageddon, full of the wordy-wordsmithing only Pratchett and Gaiman can deliver with such equal parts charm and wit. I adored it. I could hear my uncle chuckling with every turn of the page.
In the end, eleven-year-old Adam Young, AKA the antichrist, chooses to use his imagination in a way the forces of good and evil could never imagine themselves. Or could they? Nobody’s really sure. The phrase “ineffable plan” is bandied about quite a lot. And everyone has a nice cup of tea, because, British.
To my uncle, and this story, it didn’t matter where someone came from, it mattered what they did. Especially if it involves a kitten, a good joke, or driving your flame-engulfed 1920’s Bentley across England in hopes of forestalling the apocalypse and saving everyone from an eternity of bland, er, heavenly music. Everyone, even the antichrist, has a choice. Choose wisely. (And read Good Omens.)
[Check out this interview on the Penguin Books UK podcast with Neil Gaiman, about the book and Terry Pratchett]
Up Next: Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman
Sarah Parker-Lee has written copy for non-profits fighting injustice all over the interwebs, currently writes & edits at SCBWI’s CA Tri-Regional blog “Kite Tales,” writes at the Dwarf+Giant blog, and is finishing her own YA alternate history novel. Her new humor blog – “Dogs and Zombies: A Dog’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” – should be shambling towards your tasty brains in Spring 2016. Find her twitterings here: @SarahSoNovel and here: @abolitionhwd.