Aaah the days of innocence when a 7-year-old can wander miles from home, be gone all day and the only danger he faces is a simple bridge troll!
This is how Neil Gaiman’s Troll Bridge begins, with a curious 7-year-old Jack exploring the fields and woods around the village where he stays until one day he strays too far and happens upon an old bridge. This is no ordinary bridge however as this bridge is home to a troll who -as trolls are inclined to do- wants to eat his life. Jack obviously doesn’t want this and borrows some inspiration from the Billy goats gruff by promising his older more juicy sister (this is the first hint of Jack being a bit of an A*hole) the troll doesn’t fall for it though as he uses his troll abilities to sense that Jack doesn’t have an older sister.
Jack eventually convinces the troll that once he has lived his life a bit more he will be juicier and will come back for the troll to eat. Years pass and Jack is walking with the girl he loves and just as they are away to cement their relationship he realizes that he has ended up back at the bridge with the troll. This time Jack doesn’t offer a fictional sister no no he, of course, offers poor Louise to save his own life (told you A*hole!) fortunately for Louise the troll doesn’t agree and Jack yet again convinces him that he will return when he is older and juicier.
Jack willingly returns to the troll as a grown man/father/husband but I will leave this encounter for you to discover yourself
The artwork in the book is amazing, Coleen Doran really captures the tone of the story superbly with the quaint countryside and summer of adventure always having a niggle of foreboding that you just KNOW this isn’t going to be happy little jaunt through the woods.
The troll itself could have been a standard one-dimensional evil character but Neil Gaiman really gives him some depth and along with the pastel colours changes him from the grr argh evil troll you expect when you first see him to someone who, to be honest, I prefer to Jack. Yeah, he wants to eat jacks life (a strange way of putting it that becomes clear later) but I think he probably would have been doing everyone a favour if he had just got Jack when he was 7.
A really good book, kinda sad but really good