Read Mr Toppit by Charles Elton Online


When Arthur Hayman, an unsuccessful screenwriter turned children’s book author, is accidentally hit by a cement truck in London, his dying moments are spent with a passing American tourist, Laurie Clow, who is fated to bring posthumous fame to his obscure series, The Hayseed Chronicles, and the enigmatic and sinister Mr. Toppit who is at the center of the books. While ArthWhen Arthur Hayman, an unsuccessful screenwriter turned children’s book author, is accidentally hit by a cement truck in London, his dying moments are spent with a passing American tourist, Laurie Clow, who is fated to bring posthumous fame to his obscure series, The Hayseed Chronicles, and the enigmatic and sinister Mr. Toppit who is at the center of the books. While Arthur doesn’t live to reap the benefits of his books’ success, his legacy falls to his widow, Martha, and their children—the fragile Rachel, and Luke, reluctantly immortalized as the fictional Luke Hayseed, hero of his father’s books. But others want their share of the Hayseed phenomenon, particularly Laurie, who has a mysterious agenda of her own that changes all of their lives as Martha, Rachel, and Luke begin to crumble under the heavy burden of their inheritance.Spanning several decades, from the heyday of the postwar British film industry to today’s cutthroat world of show business in Los Angeles, Mr. Toppit is a riveting debut novel that captures an extraordinary family and their tragic brush with fame to wonderfully funny and painful effect....

Title : Mr Toppit
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780670917815
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Mr Toppit Reviews

  • Blair
    2019-04-21 06:56

    I wouldn't exactly say this book had me gripped, and yet somehow I was interested enough to get through the whole thing in a few days, so clearly, it had something. It's written in a witty, enjoyable tone, with lots of dry humour, memorable descriptions and fun cultural references. The plot provided constant surprises - the story turned out to be totally different from what I initially expected. However, I found the characterisation troubling and inconsistent; some of the characters are mere caricatures, others almost totally unbelievable. I particularly struggled with Laurie - at times she seems virtually insane, so I find it hard to accept that she would later become a successful TV chat show host without so much as a hitch. I was also frustrated that the nature of her obsession with Arthur and the Hayseed books was never really explained. Overall, an engaging but flawed debut.

  • Joel Brown
    2019-03-23 05:54

    The author was literary agent to AA Milne's estate, and he says he wrote this to ponder what would have happened to the real Christopher Robin if he'd grown up in the time of Harry Potter and tabloid fame. As a young boy, Luke is depicted in his troubled father's obscure series of English children's books, and finds unwanted fame when his father's accidental death and the scheming of an obsessed admirer from California catapult the books to Potteresque fame over a period of years.As someone who's written about the arts as a journalist my entire career, I've always been interested in the unintended consequences of fame - the odd, unpredictable intersection of public and private life. (There's a lot of that sort of dark comedy in my novel about a failing singer-songwriter, "Mirror Ball Man.") Luke is a sympathetic teen, and the novel's opening was particularly effective in establishing the magic of his father's books.There are a bunch of similarities here to another novel in the same vein, "The Funnies" by J. Robert Lennon. That's about Tim, the slacker son of a popular cartoonist who dies - the cartoon is a barely veiled version of "Family Circus," and the novel is mostly about Tim confronting the gap between reality and cartoon as he prepares to take over his father's franchise. In both novels there are also siblings left out of father's art - Luke's angry sister, Tim's mentally disturbed brother - and the father's inner darkness is the mystery hanging over the story. In each an obsessive fandom is a big factor in moving the story forward. I think Lennon's book was perhaps better, although overlong, because the work of art in question kept giving off meaning throughout the book.

  • Jason Pettus
    2019-03-28 04:48

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)This is the debut novel of a British producer of TV costume dramas (among other projects of his was the recent fantastic ITV/Masterpiece adaptation of Northanger Abbey) who for many years was a Young Adult literary agent; and indeed, this feels exactly like the kind of story that someone in that position would sit around composing in their head for years in their spare daydreaming moments, which takes as its start the idea of a Roald-Dahl-type subversive British children's author who languished in obscurity for most of his career, until meeting an American television producer literally during the traffic accident that kills him, with her becoming obsessed with his five-book "Darkwood" series and eventually making them as big in the US as the real-life Dahl's books eventually became as well. Ah, but it turns out that this is not really what the book is about, but rather is a pitch-black dramedy about all the various ways that both this book series and resulting world-famous film adaptations play havoc with the remaining family members, the bossy neighbor who prodded the books' first illustrations, and even the overweight, overbearing, perhaps-lesbian American who "discovered" them in the first place. I'm doing the book a disservice with this small recap, of course -- it's in actuality a brilliantly expansive look at a whole series of interlocking character issues, mostly a sad drama about dysfunctional families but with some funny moments sprinkled in, including a central mystery regarding who exactly inspired the series' main character that serves as a nice spine in which to hang all the other elements of this beguiling, complex plot. A surprise gem that was much better than I was expecting it to be, it comes highly recommended to everyone from Jonathan Franzen fans to Harry Potter ones, and I suspect will be making CCLaP's best-of list at the end of the year as well.Out of 10: 9.6

  • Judy
    2019-04-03 08:58

    While Mr Toppit turned out to be a pretty good read, the novel suffers from an identity crisis, as do its various characters. Charles Eton has combined fantasy, coming-of-age, the publishing business, celebrity, and dysfunctional family in an uneasy stew that occasionally induces queasiness in the reader. His main theme is the psychic damage caused to a child who was used as a main character in his father's series of fantasy books. Collateral damage is inflicted on the boy's sister, who was NOT in the books. The result is that Luke spends his life hiding from relationships and trying to avoid the limelight, while his sister Rachel spends her life trying to be noticed. After the death of the father, through a series of random events, fame and fortune come to this unfortunate family. The fallout is at once hilarious and tragic. A whole collection of quirky characters, both real and imagined, representing the elements of our celebrity culture, keep the story moving. There are flashes of all the elements of good fiction--plot, character, social commentary, angst, etc. It just does not mesh until the last twenty pages or so. By the end I felt fairly satisfied but also relieved that it was over.

  • Robert
    2019-04-09 05:49

    Who is Mr. Toppit? When you find out you will care. Trying to remember why this was recommended to me...Luke is the sulking victim, Rachel is the gradually psychotic daughter, Martha is the drunken crazy mother, Arthur is the inaccessible father. Oh, and Laurie is Laurie? Crazy fat person? Then there's Lila the crazy German illustrator? I just wanted this book to be over. I liked the ending. It's a bit of a mystery. But I ceased trying to keep the additional characters straight during the interminable LA portion. I think a publisher told Elton to "flesh it out" some more. Some reviewers guess this is more British than we might fathom. I've read many 'british' writers and books and this is not one of them!I like Elton's note on the Amazon page explaining the Genesis of his book. It's almost more interesting than the book itself.I can't recommend this book. Excellent critical and jacket blurbs! Ignore them!

  • Pamela
    2019-03-31 04:41

    I received a free copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway.Quirky and original take on fame, and the psychological damage suffered by family members of those who are thrust into the limelight by the sudden onset of celebrity status.Arthur Hayseed is an unsuccessful writer - his screenplays are often savagely cut, and his series of children's books have almost sunk into obscurity. Then he is involved in a road accident, and tended in his final moments by a passing eccentric American tourist, Laurie Clow. This leads to a chain of events where Laurie resurrects Arthur's books through her radio show, they become immensely popular, and suddenly Arthur's children encounter an interest in them that they never expected. Son Luke, immortalised as Luke Hayseed in the books, finds the public cannot, and do not want to, separate fiction from reality. His sister Rachel has to deal with different issues, as she was never included in the books. The book starts really well, and I was quickly involved in Luke's story. He is a likeable and perceptive narrator, and his story clearly showed how uncomfortable life can be for an 'ordinary' teenager faced with sudden fame. There were some very funny but also revealing episodes - for example where fans surround the family home and take souvenirs of their visit. The novel also has a darker side - fame has an adverse effect on the vulnerable Rachel, and Elton adds some biting comment on the publishing and film industries.I enjoyed reading this book and was interested to see what happened to the characters. I did feel that it became a bit muddled in the middle sections, where the author seemed to be packing too many different themes and ideas in. Overall a promising and interesting debut novel that I'm glad to have read.

  • Lynne Perednia
    2019-04-08 07:52

    Imagine sharing your name with the main character in a series of children's books written by your father. Now imagine being his sister, who isn't in the books. These dilemmas are the crux of Charles Elton's darkly comic, heartachingly marvelous Mr. Toppit.Mr. Toppit is the character in the Hayseed Chronicles who is never seen, but who often compels young Luke Hayseed to undertake all sorts of adventures and tests of courage. At the end of the last book, Mr. Toppit emerges from the woods behind Luke's home. But that is all anyone knows of him, for Luke's father, Arthur Haymon, doesn't write any more books. They were never big sellers.But then Arthur dies, struck in the road after visiting his publisher. As he lays dying, American tourist Laurie Clow tries to comfort him. Frustrated child of a mother with Alzheimer's and performing a dead-end hospital radio job, Laurie latches onto Arthur as if he was her lifesaver. Whch is just what he becomes.Laurie, after worming her way into the Haymon family home as easily as she hopped onto Arthur's ambulance, goes back to Modesto, reads the Hayseed Chronicles over the hospital radio airwaves, and a star is born. She ends up with an Oprah-like TV program while Arthur's books take off in popularity akin to, well, you know who. The real Luke is not the publicity hound many want him to be when the books take off in popularity. There is much of the "no thanks, I'm English" about him, and while he is not driven in any particular direction, neither does he want to be driven by others. His experience has been that the things he does try to do end up being twisted. Things that happened to him were rearranged by his father in the books, and no one believes the truth. They would rather believe he is Luke Hayseed. His sister, Rachel, Luke realizes, is worse off. She has the Hayseed legacy as well, but she does not exist in the books.The stories of these three characters are the focus of Elton's strong debut novel. It's easy at times to despise Laurie, while at others sympathy is earned. She's part monster, part hapless wannabe important person. Like the other main characters, she is never completely in control of her life. Luke remains a cipher, perhaps on purpose, as other characters try to imprint their version of the fictional Luke onto him. Rachel veers between trying to make something of the Hayseed legacy and trying to shed its power over her. She is fragile yet fiercely alive.Elton often uses dark humor to show how ridiculous it can be to have such a legacy over one's head. Arthur's funeral and the reception following, for example, are brilliant in sharply skewering society. The contrast between Luke's England and Laurie's America also offers dark humor opportunities that are used well and not overdone. Many of the secondary characters are surely descendants of those created by Dickens and Austen.Much of the power in Elton's novel comes from his ability to show the abundant contrasts in life. Luke Haymon isn't Luke Hayseed. Laurie Clow is not a member of the family but successfully makes herself important to them in a way that an older would-be helper does not. Arthur is not successful while alive but makes pots of money as a dead author. Luke and Rachel's mother gave up working on her PhD to work for the man who worked with Arthur, but she never shows any wisdom. In the books, the woods are the dark place while the Hayseed house is in the light. In real life, the house is shunned by the children while they seek the woods as a place of play and solace. All the contrasts, characters and happenings work together in examining who do books belong to after they are written, particularly if they are beloved books. And what choice to some people have when their legacy threatens to overshadow anything they may accomplish on their own? Elton allows readers to draw their own conclusions.

  • Felice
    2019-04-16 09:52

    Wow! I have such a crush on this book. I heart Mr. Toppit and I want everyone else to as well. Picture if you will my friend the lives of A.A. Milne and J.K. Rowling and the immense success of their immortal creations all mixed together with just a touch of Hamlet. You get a funny and dark casserole of cleverness, Mr. Toppit by Charles Elton. I remember reading that after having his childhood mined by his Father, the grown up Christopher Robin Milne said that, "My Father got where he was by climbing on my infant shoulders." That quote popped into my head more than once while reading this novel. It is humorous, distressing and sums up the heart of the Hayman family story. Mr Toppit is the mysterious, menacing creation of Arthur Hayman. Hayman is the author of a series of children's books, The Hayseed Chronicles. The Chronicles were fated to stay tucked away in obscurity and jumble sales until Arthur is killed in a traffic accident. After meeting a cement truck his final few minutes are spent with passing American tourist Laurie Chow. Chow is the embodiment of American access. She is obese, constantly "on" and overly connected. Laurie is the catalyst with her own agenda that brings the beyond-your-wildest-expectations monetary prosperity to the Hayman family via her pushing the books. The Hayseed Chronicles become a global, money spewing, obsessive fan creating juggernaut. Meanwhile Arthur's widow and children struggle with the fame and rewards: Mrs Hayman's alcoholism, son Luke's loathing of his thinly disguised self as the book's hero and daughter Rebecca's anguish at her exclusion from the books. Then there are also the agents, the movie moguls, the media specialists, the product tie marketers, the fans, the fans and the fans. ~~sigh~~ I'm getting all misty eyed remembering how much I flipped over this novel. I ate it up. In Mr. Toppit Charles Elton has completely captured the frenzy that can accompany unbridled success. There is a wealth of story in Mr. Toppit to satisfy and enthrall. This novel is a comic heartbreaker. Read it and relish it.

  • Lydia Presley
    2019-04-14 03:46

    Much like Christopher Robert Milne experienced, the fictional Luke Hayward has his life put down on paper by his father, Arthur Hayward. The result? The story told in this book.To be honest, I flip-flopped back and forth between liking this book and wanting to just give up on it. It wasn't an easy read and there were some rather crude parts that had me feeling uncomfortable (and the end result will be me not recommending this book lightly). They were completely unnecessary and I am rather sad that I even had to experience them. But then, there's the story of this family, this broken family all revolving around a father that it seemed none of them had paid attention to during his lifetime.Every character had his or her flaws, but the most lifelike character was, to me, Lila, the German friend. Charles Elton did such a magnificent job detailing her behavior, her style of dress and her manner of speech so well that I couldn't help but picture her and know exactly what type of person she was. Every time she burst into the scene I couldn't help but laugh and enjoy myself immensely.I think this story is fairly realistic, I sympathized with Luke's feelings of resentment toward the book, his motives for feeling that resentment and I sympathized with Laurie's decisions regarding the story, even if I didn't completely agree with them.Overall, while not a gripping story, it was an interesting one and I wanted to see it through.

  • Denise
    2019-04-05 08:31

    Dark and confusing, Mr. Toppit felt like a carnival fun house ride gone awry. Its the story of the Luke Hayman and the Hayseed Chronicles. Luke's father, Arthur, writes the Hayseed Chronicles which are published and languish in obscurity for many years. When Arthur dies a young American woman becomes mysteriously involved with the family, eventually rocketing the Hayseed Chronicles into widespread fame. None of the family, Luke, his sister Rachel, or his mother handles the new found fame well and as the book comes to a close disaster seems inevitable.The plot of Mr. Toppit is an interesting and unique idea. It largely deals with the feelings of Luke who has to live with his childhood being highly fictionalized and then read by millions. Unfortunately the execution left me cold. I never understood the motivation or actions of any of the characters and was often confused about even simple plot details. The overall tone is of doom and impending disaster which just didn't appeal to me.I listened to the audio version of Mr. Toppit, read by Simon Vance. While I generally like Simon Vance's readings, it is hard to enjoy the narrator if the content is lacking.

  • Allie Riley
    2019-03-31 04:38

    On the whole I enjoyed this novel. Stylistically it was well written and the central conceit was a good one. However I found the plot a little disjointed, not least because of the (I felt) wholly unnecessary character of Laurie. Quite why we needed so much of her backstory is beyond me - her subplot threatened to swamp the entire thing. I think it would have been a much tighter novel if she had been omitted - if someone else had been with Arthur at the accident (perhaps the colleague who claimed to recognize him from the other side of the road) and things had focused on the famliies downward spiral. However, it is Mr Elton's debut novel, so I am being kind and giving three stars - hoping for better in his subsequent work.

  • Gina
    2019-03-31 06:00

    This book was totally messed up and I think the only reason I managed to get through it was because of the fairly decent writing and the format it was presented in with chapters per character. I did sympathise with main character Luke and felt quite sorry that he was embedded in a family of secrets and lies when he simply wanted to grow up as a normal boy. I am not a massive fan of modern fiction, probably because I like to escape when I read a book and when there are modern issues which I hear enough about on the news, I cannot make that escape.

  • Laurie Notaro
    2019-04-19 08:38

    in a silly metaphor, the structure for this house was solid, but most of the rooms were empty.

  • Scuzzymonster
    2019-03-23 11:54

    Mister Toppit is gripping, compelling and for the most part well-written. It is also dark, grim, harrowing, creepy and all-round depressing. There is nary a character to like or admire. Elton took AA Milne's son Christopher Robin Milne's resentment at having himself immortalised as a characterised child as the idea for his book. The main character, Luke Hayman, is similarly cast as Luke Hayseed in his father's books The Hayseed Chronicles, which become a Potter-esque global phenonmenon after an implausible series of events is set in motion, beginning with the untimely death of his father. It's really about the very public collapse of family already haunted by a sordid and pathetic past. We see everyone through Luke's eyes, but Luke himself is largely character-free - resentful of the spotlight and continually at the mercy of a string of overbearing women, but otherwise merely "a watchful observer". Luke's father, Arthur Hayman, escapes as the only blameless character of the book, but only by being largely absent. Luke's mother Martha is reserved to the point of being removed, demanding, philandering and haunted. I actually quite liked his sister, Rachal, whose insecurities are the opposite from Luke's - she is completely absent from the Hayseed books. This leads her into a spiral of drugs and insanity, but while undoubtedly foolish and naive, she is at least sweet, harmless, blameless, and charming in her own way. The real hatred in this book is reserved for the sundry hangers-on in the Hayseed story - Lila, the book's illustrator, a pushy, demanding, revolting woman who is nothing but a burden to everyone she encounters, and Laurie, a stranger who happens to be there at Arthur's death, and who is a grotesque characature who lurches through the novel, simpering her way from pity-enducing nobody, to hardly believable Holywood star, with her own sordid family past. If not likable, the characters are vivid and evoke strong reactions, and there is certainly nothing boring about this book.

  • Ape
    2019-04-01 05:35

    I've been reading this book over the last week or so. It wasn't at all what I was expecting somehow. And it was a reasonable read, leaves you with some things to think about, but I don't think this is one I would want to read again.Mr Toppit is a character in a series of childrens books, The Hayseed Chronicles, within this book. He never really shows his face in this book, or the children's books. The books' author, Arthur Hayman, is killed in a traffic accident before his books become anywhere popular. Afterwards the world goes mad for the books, and this story follows his family left behind - Martha the wife, the daughter Rachel who never featured in the books, and his son Luke, who appears to have been the inspiration for the books. Then there's this irritating, interfering German woman, Lila, who did the original illustrations; and this annoying American woman Laurie who was with Arthur when he died, who really becomes unpleasant when she becomes really successful. And though we find out the truth about her supposedly idealised father, she never seemingly does, and continues to treat her mother like crap.The story was a bit slow at times. What I really found interesting were the parts about how the book became popular, how it changed with various publishing houses, film crews, legal battles, and then the readers and fans. And somehow the soul of the book is virtually lost and forgotten in this. In becoming so world-wide famous, packed out with merchandise etc, it looses something. And it makes you wonder about things such as Harry Potter (which I've never read), LOTR and Narnia, to name but a few.This was written by a literary agent, and I read somewhere that some of the inspiration for this came from the Winnie the Pooh books, and how the son, the original Christopher Robin, ended up hating the whole thing. I'd be interested to know how many episodes in this book relate back to what happened with the whole Winnie the Pooh thing.

  • Connie Mayo
    2019-04-07 10:43

    I really enjoyed reading this book - it actually reminded me of the Jonathan Tropper books This Is Where I Leave You and The Book Of Joe, in that there is a family-and-friends cast of dysfunctional and funny characters that are laced through the story, and told in the first person by the son in the family.In a nutshell, the father (Arthur) of the protagonist (Luke) wrote a series of Harry-Potter-like books years ago which were minimally popular and were not published outside of England. But when the father is hit by a truck in London, his chance encounter with an American tourist ultimately results in the books attaining worldwide Potteresque popularity. The story is the wild ride this popularity takes the family on, especially Luke who is a reluctant participant but can't escape because he is the namesake of the main character in the books.My only negative thing to say is that the chapter that introduces the American character was, for me, very depressing - an obese single woman whose life revolves around her insignificant job and her abusive mother in a nursing home - and I considered putting it down at that point just because it was bumming me out. But I'm very glad I stuck with it, and in a way it was important to establish her in this given the tremendous changes in her life that come later in the story. I felt like this book was at very good place on the spectrum that reaches from dense-weighty-but-admirably-literary to fluffy-silly-not-well-written - it was well done, well constructed and entertaining.

  • Gail Cooke
    2019-03-29 08:51

    What a treat - an estimable debut novel read by multi-award winning narrator SimonVance! His voice is, as always, resonant, compelling, and he clearly distinguishes each character much to the delight of listeners. Vance must have enjoyed reading MR. TOPPIT as we certainly enjoyed his narration of this funny, touching and totally original story. Arthur Hayman is an obscure screen writer who meets an untimely end when he’s run over by a concrete truck. In addition to his screen work which has received scant notice, he has penned a series of children’s books. Now sadly unbeknownst to him that series has enjoyed enormous success, while at the same time becoming a burden to his offspring. Son Luke has been depicted as Luke Hayseed in his father’s books and is portrayed by a child actor in a top-of-the-charts television series. Thus, Luke is made the butt of many jokes, and is miserable about all of this. Sister Rachel is also unhappy - not because of any notoriety her father’s work has brought to her but just the opposite - she was never mentioned in his books. Now, add to the Hayman family’s distress the greed of the publishing and film worlds, embodied by one Laurie Clow who has made a global success of “The Hayseed Chronicles.” That’s grist for some excellent satire plus a reminder that all that glitters isn’t gold. Enjoy - Gail Cooke

  • Rauf
    2019-04-19 05:01

    Have you ever watched Frankenstein? I've only seen the Brannagh/De Niro version but that's not the point. Anyway. In an important scene of the film, Dr. Victor Frankenstein robbed a few graves and used the limbs and organs from corpses to piece together his Creature. One stormy night, he hoisted his Creation, let lightning zapped at it a few times, then of course, it was alive. It's ALIVE. The monster moved, talked, growled, killed. Grrr. Arrgh.Elton, in a way, was our mad scientist. Like Frankenstein, he pieced together his Creature (this novel, Mr. Toppit) from rotting limbs and organs. But for some unknown reason, he never made it alive. He didn't let lightning struck at it. Elton just left the putrefied body parts on the slab and went off doing God knows what.Mr. Toppit was good for about 15 pages. Then it began to reek till the last page. Elton started with a good idea but I don't know why he chose to expand it by writing crap no one cared about, crap that don't have anything to do with the way the story turns out.Add the fact that Elton didn't create a single character worth talking about because they were either really annoying (Lola, Graham, Rachel) or lackluster (everyone else).I gave other books 1 star this year but I think this is the worst of them all.

  • Greg
    2019-04-16 03:48

    This debut's promising beginning (unsung British author of a series of children's books is hit by a cement truck in London, and the American woman who happens to be at the scene will forever change the lives of the author's family after he dies) turns into a mess in the second half, when the story moves from England to L.A. The city is an unsurprising backdrop to showcase the plundered legacy of Arthur Hayman's Hayseed books, but there are too many threads and half-sketched characters to keep Mr. Toppit focused in the end. And sometimes even Luke, Arthur's son, the supposed inspiration for Luke Hayseed, and a frequent narrator of the novel can seem hardly bothered to tell the family's story. I was originally sold by Zoe Heller's blurb: "This is a brilliant novel--very funny, very sad, and wickedly clever. I wish I had written it." Brilliant is probably overstepping it. Funny, occasionally. Sad, often. Clever, at times. All of these things occur in pockets at best. Did she really wish she'd written this, though?

  • Nicky Foster
    2019-04-05 10:59

    I feel really mean only giving this 2 stars because I sort of enjoyed it. The writing is engaging and I love odd characters - Martha should have featured more, she was a strange but funny part of the story. Luke was the one who featured in the Hayseed Chronicles but other than his reluctance to step into the limelight it seems to me that he was not overly bothered by anything, he was very apathetic and blasé about everything. I don't understand why the 2nd part of the book veered off in such an odd direction. I wasn't convinced by Laurie and her meteoric rise to fame just because she read the books on a hospital radio! I did chuckle at some of the wry observations from Luke but all the way through I was waiting for some plot to reveals itself or some twist to make it all worthwhile. Sadly this never came so when I closed the book I was left with mixed feelings - I enjoyed it but it all seemed a bit pointless.

  • Belle Wood
    2019-04-12 10:01

    A book about a book. Or,more precisely when a book your father has written comes back to haunt you. Mr Toppit himself never makes and appearance; he is a character in the Hayseed Chronicles, a book written decades ago that languished unloved, until by a curious twist of fate and the death of its author, it suddenly explodes into the public consciousness. But it wasn't just about Mr Toppit--the chronicles' main character was Luke Hayseed, who was modeled on the author's son. Much like the gothic narrative of the Hayseed books, the real-life Luke finds his life turning dark and unseemly by the new-found fame, and he finds himself haunted by a fictional character whom he cannot escape.Not a traditional ghost story by any means, there are still touches of the dark and creepy that surround this tale.

  • Ariel
    2019-04-07 04:41

    This could have been so much better. The premise is great, but the pacing and character development was very uneven. [mild spoiler]The hostility and contempt for the overweight American character Laurie Clow made me uncomfortable, and when she metasticizes into a kind of monstrous B-list Oprah and the book shifts to LA, away from England, the book totally loses its appeal. The pell-mell rush of the narrative made it weirdly gripping, but without real reward, it's a sour, sad, repellant story in the end.

  • Antony James
    2019-03-24 03:57

    I enjoyed this immensely. The plot is great - a writer creates a series of charismatic children's novels which have a small, loyal following in his lifetime, but enjoy global success, spawning huge quantities of merchandising and spin-offs, after his death; the book is about his family's attempts to control his legacy and maintain dignity in the face of overwhelming pressure from various unpleasant people. very well done.

  • Nancy Martira
    2019-03-30 09:45

    If J.R.R. Tolkien had been hit by a truck in 1949; if Daniel Radcliffe had a cocaine addiction; if Padma Lakshmi were intelligent enough to be eccentric; if Oprah allowed herself to be bullied by lesbians ... if all of these things were true in our world, then our world would be this much closer to Mr. Toppit's world.

  • Krisnow18
    2019-04-04 05:52

    I totally enjoyed this book. This is a book about a book. I REALLY want to read the series of books about Mr. Toppit and Luke Hayseed and the Darkwood. Of course there isn't such a series but there should be. It is beautifully written. The main story is about families - tragedy, life, loves, frustration - everything that happens to us all.

  • Ann
    2019-04-06 11:43

    Je moet erg tussen de lijnen lezen in dit schijnbaar simpele verhaal over een kinderboekenreeks die na de dood van de auteur immens populair wordt. Het duurt wel even voor het verhaal op gang komt en de introductie van de personages is in het begin nogal warrig. Maar eenmaal Laurie op het toneel verschijnt springt het verhaal niet meer zoveel heen en weer in de tijd en wordt het duidelijker.

  • Hester
    2019-04-15 06:48

    I decided to quit reading this a third of the way through the book. The characters, other than Luke and Arthur, are so god-awful that I could not force myself to finish it.

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-09 12:01

    Picked it up at the railway station. The beginning was decent, and from there it got worse and worse.

  • Debbie
    2019-03-26 09:46

    Following the death of children's author Arthur Hayman, his books about the mysterious Mr Toppit are catapulted into the limelight, taking his unsuspecting family with them. For Luke, the son who shares a name with the main character in the books, this means instant recognition by hoards of his father's fans, despite his keenness to distance himself. For Rachel, the daughter whose presence in the books is notably absent, the more popularity the series gains, the more her life falls apart. For Laurie, the American tourist who witnessed Arthur's accident, an increasing obsession with the books leads to her own sense of reality becoming ever more fragile and ever more damaging to those around her.As the books grow in popularity the plot gets darker, leaving you to wonder whether any of them will escape unscathed.Mr Toppit is cleverly written and well paced, exploring the far reaches of human nature, with well crafted characters and a plot that is unpredictable and yet somehow inevitable. It is a great read, which left me wanting more.

  • Angela Kelly
    2019-04-16 03:53

    This book reminds me of my attempts at cooking: It has quality ingredients, but ultimately the result is quite bland and disappointing.The characterisation was good, although I did find the Hayman family to be quite self-centered and whiny. It's a shame (view spoiler)[Arthur died so early in the book (hide spoiler)] as he was by far the most interesting person in the novel. Laurie, who comes to Arthur's aid (view spoiler)[as he's dying, (hide spoiler)] is an intriguing character but she becomes a lot more two dimensional in part two.This isn't a terrible book: It's well-written and a little bit quirky, but there was nothing drawing me back to read it other than the wish to finish it and move on to something else. I think my main issue with Mr Toppit is that there is no real plot and, while I can live with this if there are strong characters to compensate, it ultimately fell flat for me.Thanks to Goodreads for the free copy.