Book Club round-up

Here are your musings on our first Book Club choice, Kate Atkinson’s Started Early, Took My Dog. Looks like we pretty much all loved it, though it is really nice to hear that I’m not the only one who forgot some of the characters’ names and got a bit lost in the plot twists!

Thanks so much for contributing and if anyone else would like to add their views, go right ahead, either in the comments below or to me by email at alice m castle at hotmail dot com, and I’ll add everything together. For our next book, I’d like to suggest something a bit more controversial, Room by Emma Donoghue. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a moving story seen through the eyes of a five-year-old boy, Jack. I’m hoping it will be available in our local libraries (well, it will be if we all request it). Let’s reconvene in the second half of September and discuss it. Can’t wait to hear your views!

Rebecca of the lovely Here Come the Girls says: 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.

English Mum says: 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!

And Five Go Blogging says: 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 dementia. 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

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