Book review: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

5/5 stars.

I won’t say much about this one partly because it’s all been said before, but also because I’m about 6 months behind on reviewing it and while the overall positive sentiment prevails, the details by now escape me. The curse and blessing of a poor memory is I can reread a book and be completely surprised by the contents just a few years later. Unless I’ve memorised it, like the Hitchhiker’s Guide.

It’s rare for me these days to find a book I genuinely laugh out loud at, which in itself makes this book a treasure. Maybe books are not as funny as they were in the 80s or 90s, or maybe I’m getting older and the sense of humour just doesn’t appeal to me any more. I’m currently listening to Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent on audiobook and honestly finding it really dull, while I remember reading Notes from a Small Island 15 years ago or so and finding it hilarious and charming – so the question is, did he just write the one funny book, or has my sense of humour changed? I’ll get back to that at some point – maybe.

I read this book while we were on holidays in Greece back in May, and I sat out on the veranda overlooking the Ionian Sea, reading this book and cackling to myself. That’s what my partner (lovingly!) calls it when I laugh like I’m really enjoying something. But enough about me…

This book is the humorous story of how the world failed to end. Starring the Antichrist and his loyal dog, the – slightly updated – 4 horsemen of the apocalypse and an unlikely friendship between a demon and an angel who are both rather fond of this planet we call home, and work together to thwart the apocalypse.

It is rife with sarcasm and social commentary that continues to be relevant almost 30 years after it was written. I especially like the bit about how there’s no torture hell can invent for humans that we have not already invented a worse version of ourselves.

It does drag a little here and there, but I see that more as coming up for air – you cannot reasonably have a punchline in every sentence.

Recommended for fans of sarcasm, social commentary, religious prophecies with a twist and of course fans of Gaiman and Pratchett. I could never get into the Discworld series, but I do enjoy Pratchett’s sense of humour, and while this book definitely qualifies as absurd, it’s still relatable, which for me is a big part of what makes something funny – you have to almost be able to see it happen.

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