I borrowed “Mister Creecher” from the library. I’d previously enjoyed Priestley’s Tales of Terror series of books, so decided to give this one a go. It incorporated a lot of classical literary references (mainly from Frankenstein and Oliver Twist) but you didn’t need to get these references to enjoy the book. Being aware of these references just added a layer to the story.
The book was essentially about the forming relationship between street urchin and a ‘monster’. The friendship begins in dubious circumstances but grows into a strong friendship that has to face a lot of tests along the way. Themes of power and control, as well as trust and loyalty underpin much of the story, as we see the extent that men and ‘monsters’ will go to obtain love and power.
One of my favourite aspects of the novel was the light and shade in the main two characters. Billy, the boy, was by not a fully good character, but was not fully evil either. He was a very human character, with very human flaws. It was interesting to compare this to Creecher (the ‘monster’) and draws the age old question of what actually makes a monster monstrous? Priestley’s novel suggests that it is impossible to say, as there is light and dark in everyone. Creecher makes this point at various parts of the story.
All in all, the novel was an interesting take on two classic literary characters, both before and after their original stories. You did not need to know these references though, as the story was strong, independent of its sources. It’s a novel exploring the lighter and darker sides of humanity and the backdrop of pre-Victorian London/England fits the story just right. A well-crafted interesting read, the characters feel very human and there is a decidedly unpleasant twist towards the end.
P.S. My music choice for this post is Lana Del Rey’s new song with The Weeknd – ‘Lust for Life’. It’s the title song of her upcoming album and I’m really excited for it! Enjoy 🙂