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3.3 out of 5 stars
79
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 30 April 2013
A great read and a promising first novel. I couldn't put it down and the only critcism - and I don't know if it really IS a criticism - is that I wanted to know more. Not all storylines came to a conclusion and not all mysteries were solved. Or maybe my imagination was just thirsty for more.
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on 16 March 2014
One of the most extraordinary & beautifully written books I have read in a very long time. Very sad when it ended.
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on 15 November 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a very interesting novel. For those who don't know, Christopher Robin Milne (the Christopher Robin of Winnie the Pooh) ended up becoming a very strange and estranged (from his parents) man, who ran a bookstore in Dartsmouth. Charles Elton takes this story, chucks in some Harry Potter obsession and a smidgen of Shakespearean tragedy, and makes of it a 21st Century morality tale.

Luke Hayman, immortalised by his father as Luke Hayseed in the Hayseed Chronicles, is portrayed as a floppy-haired, sulky child in "ridiculous pantaloons".

His obsessive fans slave over the meaning of the final line: "And out of the Darkwood Mr Toppit comes, and he comes not for you, or for me, but for all of us".

We then get to learn the very colourful and often painfully hilarious details of how Luke became the man he is today. Stand out lines such as "Fill me with your hayseed" (when he loses his virginity) keep this from being an overindulgence in Freudian angst, and the more contemporary critique on celebrity culture, while not exactly original, is definitely relevant.

But the tone, perhaps because of the angst, is occasionally too dry and homourless, and even the more emotional sections of the book seem to lack veracity because of it. Perhaps sometimes the satire is a little too general, a little too predictable, and isn't infused with the nuance it should. This may be a symptom of trying to weave real life stories and events into the narrative, instead of using them as inspiration to go elsewhere.

Maybe I'm cynical, but Elton's experience as a literary agent may have rendered this novel too by-the-book and too safe. This is certainly an interesting read, I'm just not sure I'd read it again afterwards.
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VINE VOICEon 6 September 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Let's start with the positives. The premiss of this book is engaging, crafting its story round an imaginary series of children's books, and its never-encountered figure of doom, Mr Toppit. The characters are well-drawn, particularly Luke and Martha. Elton is often amusing, subtly poking fun at his own characters without shouting the jokes from the rooftops, burying ironic references into first-person narratives or neutral observation. And you do find yourself caring for Luke and empathising with him.

Where for me 'Mr Toppit' fell down was that I never knew quite what Elton was driving at; what the point of the book was. Is it supposed to be commentary, on the destructiveness of success? Surely not. Is it supposed to be an emotional gut-puncher? Again, this seems unlikely - the tragic ending is more eyebrow-raising than shocking, partially due to the non-linear narration. Is it just supposed to be a bit of fun? No, it's too dark for that. So I felt it was struggling to clarify its own identity. I enjoyed it along the way, but I somehow found it unbalanced - with very little of it told from the adult Luke's point of view, I didn't feel we got the sense of resolution and understanding that the plotting required.

Overall, then, this book is worth a read, but won't change your life. It had the potential to be very good, but instead is merely quite entertaining.
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on 20 May 2015
Read this as part of a book group and was disappointed that it left many questions unanswered.
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on 11 October 2012
I found this book at the back of a book case at a villa in Turkey and as nothing else took my fancy I thought to give Mr Toppit a go and am now overwhelmed by my selection. This book is a must read and absolutely amazing.............well done Mr Elton
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on 21 March 2010
A great Title & Cover (& I was sucked in)
What could be great characters were left to rot. What could be been a great story, was never more than a thought in the readers mind.
I just don't get it. What was it about?
I still want to know...This book is about a bunch of people who don't do much & not much happens to them. That said so are many book & you don't feel cheated, unlike reading Mr Toppit.
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VINE VOICEon 22 August 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If this is Mr Elton's first book, he is someone I shall be looking out for in the future.

It is well written and the story flows along easily - I read it in 2 evenings. I can understand why some people think it rambles along but that is part of its charm. Some parts of the story are dark and some parts are very funny indeed. The characters are all eccentric, interesting and charming in their own ways. The main character, Luke, is definitely the watcher of the group and I liked him. I wanted to find out about Arthur and Martha's early life together. There are some intriguing parts to the story that really left me wanting more.

This is a book I would definitely read again.
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on 2 February 2009
I have to say I really enjoyed this book. Very readable indeed. I particularly enjoyed finding the Big Blog of Hayseed which brought to life lots of interesting nuggets from the book. Very funny to look through these pictures and articles while reading the book...
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