I think I bought this book in 2007 or 2006 when I went through my pseudo-goth phase. I remember buying lots of Tim Burton movies and his poetry book, some Edgar Allan Poe, Catcher in the Rye and a French book called “The Suicide Shop”. Looking back, I was absolutely ridiculous.
I’d actually began reading this book back then, but never finished it, and I just thought I had gotten lazy and stopped reading it out of laziness. My 14-year-old self actually knew better.
Everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past 3 years has probably heard of the story: Barber murders rich people, corpses are baked into pies and sold in London.
This god damned book, however, is very, very badly-written. I understand that it may have been considered gruesome and shocking at the time, but it’s just lukewarm now. There’s a thin veil of a plot somewhere, although it’s not very noticeable. There were about 2 chapters telling the story of a mad woman stuck in a loony-bin, that does nothing to advance the plot, and I forgot some of the characters sometime. There were about 7 of them. Not a good sign. It also moves at a terribly slow pace, except when it speeds up in the last 50 pages and becomes a jumbled mess.
Whereas in the movie there’s a decent explanation as to why Mr. Todd started murdering people, and how he and Mrs. Lovett got around to selling people-pies, none of it is explained in the book. Why? I don’t know either. Poor people who read this back in the 19th Century were probably as puzzled as I was.
Mr. Anonymous, I understand why you should wish to remain so. There’s a lot of social criticism in your book, but not the subtle, cunning and funny Jane Austen we’ve grown accustomed to. It’s so in your face you can practically feel its breath, and it makes me feel like punching you.
Honestly, if you’re tempted to buy this book, rent the movie instead. There’s singing, Johnny Depp, blood, and awesome wardrobe. This book was not, at all, entertaining, and I think I only got through most of it due to my slightly OCD-ish behaviour when it comes to finishing books and a long, impromptu 2-hour car ride to Alentejo.
Read from June 5th to June 10th 2010.