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The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Probably the book that has scored most consistently so far. That might be a reflection of our age, as it was in many ways, a nostalgic read, but it also reflects a well-written and quirky novel.

“Really enjoyed it although I did find it easy to put down and then it took me a while to get back in to it. Loved the references from the time (eg whimsies). A nice change down of pace whilst also raising some important issues – racism, isolation etc.”

 “This is the first book we have read that made me chuckle.”

” I really enjoyed it but wondered whether that is because I was a child at that time – might be a bit close to the bone for those who were adults in that time. Lots of very accurate descriptions. There were a lot of adjectives that made it feel a bit clumsy at times, but that might be deliberate as it’s being told from a child’s perspective. Very visual description of that summer. You could feel the heat – it’s heaviness and slowness and how that built the pressure cooker atmosphere. You could recognise the sort of characters and those things that couldn’t be admitted to then – not being able to read or write, money troubles, alchohol issues, pretending an affair wasn’t happening – all very evocative of the time.”

 “Good at recreating those moments when, as a child you are desperate to know something and the adults just fob you off without realising you then have completely the wrong end of the stick.”

” Very good observations of childhood friendships, the desire to be cool and noticed by the older children, the unintentional cruelties through trying to fit in with another group. Captured the details of the time really well. Also the insularity and small mindedness of the time. The things that were ignored or not spoken about and the suspicion of people that look or behave a bit differently. Reminder of how much more cosmpolitan and opem-minded we are today compared to then. Very well written and readable despite some dark moments. Wanted to keep reading and find out about the fire, the baby.”

” A comforting read even though it had it’s dark moments. Liked the fact it was written from a child’s point of view. It made it quirky and it made me laugh. Lots of references I could relate to, and I liked the style of writing.”

” It was hard to read on the kindle as more difficult to check which of the two time periods I was in so it got confusing. Too much description for me. The characters were quite intriguing and I found Grace’s voice quite sweet. I enjoyed the references to the period and that were lots of little details that made it interesting.”

” It transported me back to my childhood – I have a very vivid memory of 1976 and there were a few references that made me chuckle – Arctic Roll, Angel Delight.”

Overall score: 7

Range: 5.5 – 8

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