Adams Central HS students read Monstrous Regiment - Terry Pratchett
At Adams Central High School we have an extra-curricular reading-for-fun group. We meet once a month during a period of the school day set aside for clubs or study time. Some of the kids are reading this book that is one of many set in an alternate universe called Discworld. In this world humans co-exist with all kinds of magical beings. The main character of MR is a young girl who impersonates a boy to join the military. First she has to practice walking like a boy to take up more space, farting and nose picking etc. and soon learns the trick of using socks in her pants to seem more masculine. Her regiment consists of many other "young men" and also a troll, a zombie, and at least one vampire. They are on their way to the front of a war that their country has been involved in so long that not everyone remembers what they are fighting about. Polly/Oliver soon learns that the war is being lost but those at home have no idea. Pratchett uses his funny discworld stories to discuss all kinds of subjects both political and social. We are having a lot of fun with this title and some of the kids have moved on to reading Wee Free Men by Pratchett. Discussion is in two weeks so I will give an update after that.
2/12 Discussion was today
A little disappointing that only two kids made it to discussion. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances such as bad weather this week causing us to miss school, and illness so I knew group might be small today. However, we had a great time. Both of my readers today were young women whom I will call "S" and "SB" they both enjoyed this book. S enjoyed the theme of females doing well in the military and SB pointed out that while reading she was reminded of Joan of Arc. Both girls enjoyed thinking about the references to problems in the real world today such as Corporal Strappi not wanting to let Igor enlist because he is a troll and Seargent Jackrum sternly telling him the rule is "Don't ask, don't tell...enlist him!" (pg. 27), and when thinking about their wars (pg. 224) Vimes says, "...they fought because they had always fought. They made war, in fact, because the sun came up" which they felt referrs to some people today. S particularly liked the way Pratchett explained the thought processes of the characters by the inclusion of footnotes - and especially that of the pigeons. We were all surprised by the end and I hope my students will enjoy other Pratchett books.