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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Started Early, Took My Dog" by Kate Atkinson Soon to be Released!


From book cover summary:

"It's a day like any other for Tracy Waterhouse, running errands at the local shopping center, until she makes a purchase she hadn't bargained for. One moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy's  humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn.  Witnesses to Tracy's Faustian exchange are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie, who has returned to the land of his childhood in search of someone else's roots.  Variously accompanied, pursued, or haunted by neglected dogs, unwanted children, and keepers of dark secrets, soon all three will learn that the past is never history...and that no good deed goes unpunished."

Kate Atkinson's new book will leave you wanting more, positively! She's a wordsmith with a story that insists that we make moral choices we'd rather ignore.

One of her primary protagonists, Tracy, an otherwise "hard-nosed" member of the police force ...handling sexual offences, vice, human trafficking, and just about anything nobody else wanted to... is retired and wondering what to do with her life! Shopping on an afternoon at the local shopping center, she watches as an old druggie she recognizes from her days on the force, Kelly, appears to be dragging a tiny little girl and screaming at her. Tracy is drawn into the fray by instinct and curiousity. She follows Kelly, continuing to observe as she kicks at the child, screams at her to stop singing, dragging her through the crowds and down the street.


Since Tracy knows Kelly's other children have already been taken away from her, and that she obviously isn't "clean," she wonders what the freakish woman is doing with this little girl! When all is said and done, Tracy offers Kelly a chunk of money to "buy" the child from her. Kelly's eyes are wide with greed. The transaction is made...the child's hand is transferred to Tracy's, and Kelly rides off into the sunset on the local bus. However, not before she mouths something like, "But she's not....." And Tracy is left wondering what she's done...helped or kidnapped a child! A child who instantly become one she can't bring herself to part with!

Thus, begins this novel from the pen of Kate Atkinson. With a menagerie of lush, loveable characters complete with their particular idiosyncracies that only serve to make them more endearing, she has us captured from the get-go. Not only does she give us the quintessential darling, little urchin, but she also includes a scrappy little dog that was rescued from a snarling, abusive hood! Attention given not just to description but also to the quirkiness of inner thoughts and dialog; as well as to bucolic surroundings makes for a great deal of this author's genius. Plus, I wonder how she could have made the tension knot up inside me over that scruffy mutt!

Ms Atkinson seasons her novel with wit, perfect timing and a humor that will catch you off-guard when you least expect it. I found myself laughing and smiling often as I read this book. While she is astute and serious about her main and parallel storylines, and there is much to learn here with regard to morality and choices, her subtle, silver-handed delivery with its tinge of the absurd is unique to her style. It's no wonder that she has won awards for her previous work.

Jackson Brodie, the soul searching, former private detective of "Started Early, Took My Dog," is a character featured in others of her books. His odd relationship with his ex-wife throughout the story is so charming. It has the qualilty both to madden and sustain him, making it a sadistic little treasure for the reader to enjoy in and of itself! I need to read more about him, absolutely.


Kate Atkinson is a writer of exceptional quality. I highly recommend reading her newest book, "Started Early, Took My Dog." It's an enjoyable read that goes well with a glass of wine, some Respighi (Ancient Dances and Airs Suite 2..) on low, and a comfy chair...sophisticated and easy on the heart.

Highly recommended without reservation.

Deborah/TheBookishDame

3 comments:

Steph from fangswandsandfairydust.com

Great review - sounds like the heroine couldn't stand bullying b/c personal experience. A champion for the helpless! Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust
email: steph@fangswandsandfairydust.com
twitter: @fangswandsfairy

Alex

Sounds like a good book by a good author. Great Review, went straight to my TBR list. Thanks

MarthaE

Nice review - this sounds like an engaging read. Thanks for the review and best wishes on your blogging.

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