Review of The Royal Perfects by Jeremy Neeley
Overview from www.barnesandnoble.com: Plagued by a rare disease and the vengeful curse of a former school headmaster, Timmy Wicketts finds himself a directionless vagabond on the streets of the 19th century English town of Upper Southrump. Out of desperation he turns to street performing, and that choice leads him on a journey grander than any he could have imagined. His is a true tale of love, friendship, and perseverance.
Timothy Wickets hails from the strange sounding Southrump in Victorian England, where he has been expelled from a prestigious school just a few months shy of graduation. Unfortunately his former head master had put the word out around town about him and no one will hire the young man.
This forces him to look for a work at the bottom of a pig trough, literally. The only man who will hire him, Samuel Mudd, is an entrepreneur with a revolutionary idea. He wants to start his own pig drawn cart to transport customers around the city. Wickets readily agrees and before long he has made quite an impression as well as some money.
However as things start to go downhill, Timmy quickly finds himself living on the street until one day he runs into a fellow school chum who offers to buy him some food in exchange for an encore performance of some of his skills as an impressionists. Wickets agrees which leads him into a whole new life as an actor, eventually founding a troop of his own called The Royal Perfects.
The book tells the story of his adventures in this endeavor as well as his other jobs but mainly focuses on the story of The Royal Perfects in general which was something of a disappointment to me. We started with Timmy as our main character and I really thought it was going to stay that way but once the other characters got introduced the author did some head hopping, more than I would have liked.
The other thing I didn’t care for much was the style of writing in some passages. For example at one point when The Royal Perfects hold an audition for more actors, we get at least a paragraph summarizing the back story of the seven guys who are auditioning for three spots. I thought that perhaps this was to build up sympathy for these guys who all have had a rough go in the world but later when three of them walk out to join Timmy’s nemesis John Smith, I felt let down. I was hoping that they might redeem themselves later on in the story but they don’t. So tell me again why I needed to know their back story?
On the plus side, I liked the characters. They had charm, spark and personality. They could also be very funny.
I also liked the story itself, most of it anyway. It was not dull most of the time and I loved the humor in the characters in spite of their circumstances. Give it a try.
Contains: some sexuality