Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two backlist titles I’ve been meaning to read; one that turned out to be a miss and one that did work for me despite a few issues.
Title: The Trouble With Goats And Sheep
Author: Joanna Cannon
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: January 28th 2016
Publisher: The Borough Press
Finished reading: August 21st 2021
“The only problem with losing your mind was that you never lost the memories you wanted to lose. The memories you really needed left first.”
Do you hear that?! It’s the warning bells announcing yet another unpopular opinion review… I have to say: I didn’t expect this to happen with this one. There was just something about The Trouble With Goats And Sheep that caught my attention immediately and I thought it would be a great fit for me. Add the fact that most people seem to love this story, and I was excited to finally give it a go. Imagine my surprise when I ended up having a completely different experience instead… This is definitely one for my should-have-DNFed pile. Things did started promising as I liked the idea of reading the story from the POV of ten-year-old Grace. I was quite enjoying the story initially, with the many references to the seventies and the heatwave as a backdrop. BUT. Things started going downhill fast. I won’t go into details, but next I have bulletpointed some of the issues.
1. There was too much focus on religion for me, which is a personal pet peeve and something that made me enjoy the story considerably less.
2. There were too many repetitions of certain elements (including the goats and sheep reference, the fact that it’s HOT and the bloody ‘Angel Delight‘ whatever that is).
3. The adult characters felt too poorly developed and flat; mostly focusing on cliches and the fact that everybody seems to be hiding something.
4. Nothing much is happening during most of the time, making it SO dull to read.
5. There should have been more focus on Grace POV and her investigation, but instead we have to read about all those boring adults and everything else that is going on.
6. I confess that I started skimreading way before reaching the halfway point of the story, and I honestly feel I should have just DNFed instead.
7. That DNF feeling also had to do with the fact that the ending (when it finally came) was completely unsatisfying.
8. Probably more, but that is all I can remember right now.
So… I guess The Trouble With Goats And Sheep and me really didn’t get along. I know I’m in the minority and this might not have been the right time for this story, but the fact remains that sadly I didn’t end up having the reading experience I thought I would have.
“Awe and fear. It was a dangerous combination.”
I’ve enjoyed T.M. Logan‘s writing in the past, so I’ve been looking forward to read more of his backlist. And as I always love a foreign/vacation setting, I decided to read The Holiday first. Especially as it also has that locked room vibe: both with the mystery around who Sean is having an affair with as well as who is supposed to be a killer in the end (as the cover suggests). If you enjoy twisty psychological thrillers, you are definitely in for a treat! And especially if you don’t mind unlikeable characters… Because the fact is: almost every single one of them is considerably unlikeable, and they all seem to have things to hide. I confess that I’m never a fan of the whole cheating element, so that made it harder to properly enjoy the story, but the fact that I didn’t really care if something bad would happen to any of them weighted a little heavier against the story for me. I also felt like there were a little too many different elements in play, and I’m not sure the way things wrapped up was exactly credible… The building up of suspense with use of the multiple POV structure is spot on though, and there were definitely things I didn’t see coming at all. The writing is just as good as always, and it’s very easy to keep turning those pages. All in all this wasn’t my favorite of his, but there is no doubt that The Holiday is still a solid read.