Book Review: Jasper Fforde’s One of Our Thursdays is Missing

Posted May 17, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Jasper Fforde’s One of Our Thursdays is Missing

One of Our Thursdays is Missing


Jasper Fforde

fantasy in Hardcover edition that was published by Viking Adult on March 8, 2011 and has 362 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Well of Lost Plots, The Big Over Easy, The Fourth Bear, Something Rotten

Sixth in the Thursday Next fantasy series set in BookWorld (and RealWorld) and revolves around Agent Thursday Next.

My Take

It took about halfway through the book before I got into it. It was soooo confusing!! It’s worth it though…Fforde has the most incredible command of books, their characters, the settings, and props that I practically need instant Internet access to check on the ones I don’t know. As for the ones I do catch…snicker…snicker..snicker……guffaw…

Instead of our usual interaction with Thursday Next, most of this story revolves around the written Thursday Next. And, just what is the difference you may ask…well, you are entering a whole new world. The BookWorld (BW) to be exact. Little did you know how this whole reading, authors, books thing works!

I remember when I was a kid and I thought that the music played on the radio was being played live. Like the old movies about the early days of radio when they had live shows. I was always so impressed by how quickly the bands changed so there was always music playing.

Somehow, I think Fforde had the same idea about reading. In the BookWorld, every book ever written has a cast, which must be ready to leap into action whenever a reader somewhere in the world cracks it open. This cast of characters acts out the book taking their cues from the reader as to whether they need to simplify or expand upon the text to make it easier for the reader to comprehend…I think…

Now, in Thursday Next’s case, she’s become much too busy to hang around the set of her series of books so they came up with written Thursday to handle the actual book reading chores. Of course, she has her own set of characters to act the book while the real Thursday’s comrades are all out in the RealWorld (RW).

I did mark some passages that seemed to exemplify what it is I so enjoy about Fforde’s imagination — I just gotta share the fun!

“About ten degrees upslope of Fiction, I could see our nearest neighbor: Artistic Criticism. It was an exceptionally beautiful island, yet deeply troubled, confused and suffused with a blanketing layer of almost impenetrable bullshit.”

How reader feedback/interpretation works in BookWorld:

“…wasn’t just confined to the classics. Harry Potter was seriously pissed off that he’d have to spend the rest of his life looking like Daniel Radcliffe.”

How’s this for a substitute for “Have a nice day!”? “…have an eloquent day”.

Then there’s the part about the process of creating books…

“where the words and letters were crocheted, knitted, sewed, glued, riveted or nailed together into sentences…the completed sentences were either rough-sorted into bundles and sold direct to the Well of Lost Plots [where all books are built]…nouns, verbs and adjectives left loose so the end users could make their own choices.”

And, I just love this observation…

“Although Outlander authors kill, maim, disfigure and eviscerate bookpeople on a regular basis, no author has ever been held to account, although lawyers are working on a test case to deal with serial offenders.”

This is definitely a read for intelligent people. No, I’m not trying to be rude. If you adore reading and love words, then this is the series you must devour; it will give you a whole new perspective on the mechanics of creating and reading books. You’ll never be the same again…

You can read this story without having read the earlier ones but I suspect you’ll get incredibly lost. Even though I haven’t read the earlier books in a while, I remember enough that much of the story’s references to the past make sense to me. And, I suspect I get a lot more out of it because of it. Start with The Eyre Affair. I know I want to re-read them ’cause Fforde just cracks me up with his innuendo, satire, and silly imagination!

The Story

In this episode, the real Thursday seems to be missing and written Thursday gets pulled into a nothing JAID investigation as the powers-that-be believe that she’ll just sign off on it without really doing anything. Unfortunately for them, written Thursday gets an attack of conscience and does what any real Thursday would do…she goes all out to investigate with the help of Commander Bradshaw and Thursday’s family in the RealWorld and Sprockett in BookWorld.

In the meantime, everyone is looking for the real Thursday. The RW President needs the secret plans to finish the Anti-Smite Strategic Defense Shield while the council in the BookWorld desperately needs her at the Racy Novel peace talks. Without her influence, the long-running dispute between Racy Novel, Women’s Fiction, and Dogma may well erupt into a genre war! Well, you know what happened in the last genre war between Science Fiction and Horror…! They’re still trying to repair the damage from that fiasco!

The Characters

One’s importance in BookWorld is reflected by the size of one’s readership.

Thursday Next (the real one) is an agent for JAID in BookWorld and formerly with SpecOps in the RealWorld with the confidence of the President. She has one husband, Landen, and two children, Tuesday and Friday. Her pet dodo, Pickwick, is cute and doesn’t talk.

Thursday Next (the written one) sometimes helps with JAID — she failed the finals so she isn’t a real agent. Whitby Jett, an E-Z Read regional salesman, is a Designated Love Interest interested in dating her. Mrs. Malaprop (yes, that one!) is her housekeeper and one of her roommates is the written-Pickwick (Pain.In.The.Ass)

Jurisfiction Accident Investigation Department (JAID) is…
…a policing agency for the council. Commander Bradshaw is a friend of the real Thursday and looks like a big-game hunter. He is a very important man as head of Jurisfiction and is third in the roster even though no one reads his books anymore. He is the author of the constantly updated BookWorld Companion, the definitive book on the BookWorld. Senior Senator Giles Jobsworth is the head of Fiction, on the Council, and an emissary to the Great Panjandrum. A typical politico. Commander “Red” Herring is second-in-command after Jobsworth and is in charge of the Men in Plaid and the Book Transit Authority. Other agents include Emperor Zhark, Mrs. Tiggy-winkle, the Red Queen, etc.

Sprockett is an automaton, a Duplex-5 model to be precise, saved from an angry mob by Thursday…the written one. Unfortunately, Sprockett is “from a pilot book about the adventures befalling Edwardian-era mechanical men but no one has read them in 17 years, and the books that are left are gathering mold and damp in a cardboard box in the writer’s garage in Cirencester” so he’ll soon disappear unless he can find gainful employment in another book.

The Goliath Corporation is…
…a huge mega-mega corporation based in RealWorld but has an inkling about BookWorld through past interactions with Thursday. They generally want to take over the world, any world, all worlds, and Thursday just loves to thwart them.

The Cover and Title

It appears to be a Thursday falling off the end of a shelf with a row of books about to collapse on top of her…full of foreboding…!

The title says it all, for One of Our Thursdays is Missing!