The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
Published by The Borough Press
28th January 201
Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.
And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…
Right, let’s start this review with a spoiler alert – there are no goats or sheep in this book at all, so if you are expecting a tale of farmyard animals, then I expect you will be solely disappointed. What you are left with, are metaphorical goats and sheep of the kind that the Bible tells us about, and our two central characters, ten year olds Grace and Tilly are on the hunt to find them.
Set in 1976, Joanna Cannon’s debut novel carries you away to that summer of relentless heat, when everyone sat around watching the sky, hoping that today would be the day that it rained but of course, it never was. Grace and Tilly are best friends and as the summer holidays begin and their neighbour Mrs Creasy goes missing, they decide that they will try to find out what happened to her. Unbeknown to them however, the street upon which they live, has secrets of its own, and as questions begin to be asked by all and sundry, the neighbours themselves have to keep each other in check to make sure that what happened in the past, remains in the past.
Will Mrs Creasy return to the fold though, or will Grace and Tilly discover that there are more goats than sheep than they were originally led to believe. This is a great story of community and friendship, and a tale of childhood innocence. It also examines just what can happen when a community decides to come together, with sometimes devastating consequences.
I loved this book, it was a real breath of fresh air, and it was great to be transported back to the days of my early childhood, when technology was at a minimum and where all neighbours knew and spoke to each other daily. There are some very funny moments, especially when the new residents of The Avenue arrive, and also some sad moments of reflection too. I predict that The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is going to be much talked about in 2016.
Miss Chapter x