The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon


Title: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

Author: Joanna Cannon

Publisher: Borough Press, HarperCollins

Date Published: January 2016 

Length: 464 pages

Score: 3.5/5 

I started reading this book (Joanna Cannon’s debut novel) after I’d just finished a quite intense tome and wanted something lighter that would still draw me in. I loved that the chapters are fairly short and it’s so easy to read, the prose just flows and is easy on the mind. The characters of The Avenue, where the story takes place, are all interesting and you want to know their stories while the main plot line, the disappearance of one of the residents, keeps you reading. There are strong lessons about the assumptions which drive a small community and the secrets kept.

The reason I’ve given it three and a half stars and not more is that while I liked the character portrayals there were a few occasions when I wondered if a character would really say this or that or act in a certain way? I also thought there were one or two plot threads that were never really explained or revealed and I was left feeling somewhat frustrated at the end. I confess I found the culmination of the ‘finding Jesus’ plot line, with the residents gathered around (I won’t say more) not entirely believable although the betrayal between the younger girls was very well done, a truly effective emotional hook.

I’d recommend it, highly readable, very well written with some beautiful turns of phrase, and it is slightly unusual,which I like. I look forward to reading the author’s second novel called Three Things About Elsie.

Thanks for reading.

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