Book Club Time

August 5, 2011

Hello lovely Book Club people! As you know, we set off on our merry literary path together way back last month with Kate Atkinson’s Started Early, Took My Dog. Here’s my take on it, but what I’m really looking forward to is hearing your views.

I found the book a really enjoyable read. I must admit I had the recent TV dramatisation not a long way from my mind all through the novel. You may remember that the Jackson Brodie character was surprisingly prone to whip his shirt off  …. oddly in this new novel, I don’t think Kate mentions shirtlessness much, but I doubt that will hold the BBC back when they come to make the adaptation.

I love the way Kate Atkinson writes – it all flows so beautifully. And I also love the way that Jackson Brodie collects strays wherever he goes, whether it be people searching for their lost sisters or, this time, an actual stray dog.

Incidental characters are beautifully drawn, too, like Tracy – though I think (and hope) that she will become a regular. Her unlikely ‘daughter’ is wonderfully real too, as is the mother that Tracy rescues her from – or is she really her mother? Unless I’ve missed something, this loose end is left dangling for next time.

Right, that’s just a few preliminary thoughts – now over to you. What did you think? Either please leave me a lovely long comment, or just email me (alicemcastle @ hotmail. com) with longer views which I will post up. I will leave it a week or so before rounding everything up together. Dying to hear what you all thought!

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  • Rebecca August 5, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Kate Atkinson books are just brilliant. I rarely buy books in hardback but I have to get these as soon as possible. They are the only books I share with my mum, as usually we have completely different tastes – but we both love them.

    I think Atkinson tells a brilliant story – with finely drawn characters – whose lives intertwine in surprising ways. The twists are brilliant – and I certainly never predict them all. This book is slightly more straightforward than its predecessors, but it is still packed full of incident, chases, violence, mysteries, humour and of course the dog.

    At first I thought Jackson Brodie was a bit generic as a flawed detective, a bit of a lone wolf, with a messy private life and a load of bad habits, but as the novels develop you get a sense of a real character with recognisable human flaws. It is not just Jackson who is realistic, each character has their own voice and the novel deftly weaves between them.

    On a side issue, the recent TV adaptation was a pared down version of the novels, with a lot of the story threads missed out – as you would expect for such complicated plots. For me it retained the flavour and spark of the books. Jason Issacs was far prettier than the Jackson Brodie I had imagined when I read the books, (and yes he takes off his shirt much more than I remember!) but in all else he was well cast.

    The novels are dark, there are a lot of murdered women, but they have a sharp humour as well. They are books to be devoured in one sitting, they make you stay up too late to finish them. When you do you get up blinking at the sun light, your fingers numb from clutching the pages of the book so tightly. To me that’s the sign of a good book.

    I can’t wait for the next installment. I really hope we find out what happens to Tracy and her adopted (kidnapped daughter?). I hope we get to find out who she really was but we were left guessing. I hope that Brodie will return to find more missing girls and murderers. I have a feeling he will.

  • Becky August 6, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I really enjoyed it too. I loved Tracy as a character and I adored little Courtney’s character too. I don’t know if it was because I read it in little bursts every night, but I found myself constantly having to refer back to remember who some of the characters were. I got a bit mixed up between the guy who finally gives her the new passport/facebook page etc and a couple of the CID fellas involved. All in all I loved it, but yes, who was Courtney’s mum? Glad you didn’t get that either – I thought it was just me!

  • Five Go Blogging August 6, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Twas indeed up to her usual standard and had me hooked from about. ooh page 4. Initially I was slightly concerned. Where was Brodie? No sign of the PI? For a brief time I was concerned that he wasn’t in it and it had all been a horrible mistake. And then a dashing ex-policeman comes to an old lady’s rescue and behold!
    I particularly like the old dear, Tilly’s character. The writing I thought was very good to suggest the first signs of dimentia. Bless her.
    I’ve written a review over on my blog so go take a look.
    Looking forward to seeing what everyone else thinks x
    PS What shall we read next? I’ve just started One Day by David Nicholls 😉