Mr. Toppit

Mr. ToppitMr. Toppit by Charles Elton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

On the back of this book is a quote from Marie Claire stating that this book is “painfully funny”. I think that Marie Claire must have read a different book to me. Don’t get me wrong, I really did enjoy this, but “painfully funny” it ain’t.

The main premise of the book is that Arthur Hayman has written a series of books called The Hayseed Chronicles, with the main character given the same name as his son, Luke. After Arthur’s death, the books become bestsellers thanks to Laurie, a stranger who finds herself at the scene when Arthur dies and entrenches herself within the mourning Hayman family. The book goes on to explore how the fame of the books affects the rest of the Hayman family, especially Luke, who shies away from the limelight and hates the constant comparisons with “book Luke”, and Rachel, his sister, who does not feature in the books at all.

I liked the fact that each character has his or her own back story, and that there were things about each character that we knew, as the reader, but that the character themselves didn’t know – like the truth about Laurie’s father, which is never revealed to her. Although, she writes a huge poem at the hospital to Arthur, about a Hiawatha story, which seemed… odd? Lots of her traits were odd though, so I might just be searching!!

Rachel was my favourite character, although much of her story is told from Luke’s perspective. I found some of the characters quite unbelievable, especially Laurie, who seems slightly mental. She goes from a woman “zinging” on the phone to her mother in order to block her out, writing Arthurs name over and over in her notebooks, and becoming massively obsessed with the books, to a hugely popular chat show host, with a house and staff in LA. It seemed such a leap for her character that I couldn’t quite understand it. Another character (whom many seem to state as a favourite, from the reviews) that I couldn’t quite grasp was Lila, the illustrator for the books.

I wish that the final line of the Hayseed Chronicles, when Mr Toppit is finally revealed, was in the book, but overall, I really enjoyed the book, and would read more of Elton’s writing, as I liked the style of it.

3/5 stars
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