The Trouble With Goats And Sheep
The summer of 1976 was the hottest summer since records began. Tempers flew, the tarmac melted and the horizon shimmered incessantly in the dizzying heat. The world was pre-occupied with staying cool – everyone, that is, except for ten-year-old Grace and her best friend Tilly. Grace and Tilly were on a mission; not so much a mission from God as a mission to find God, so that God would, in turn, help them find Mrs Creasy from Number 10.
Joanna Cannon’s accomplished, captivating and humorous debut, The Trouble With Goats And Sheep, is part coming of age novel, part whodunit. Centred on one community, it explores the lengths people will go to in order to ‘belong’. Mrs Creasy who lived at Number 10 has vanished, but that is not all – there are many other secrets lurking beneath the surface of this ‘ordinary’ street.
What makes the book a delight, both highly readable and very funny, are the two endearing, central characters. Grace and Tilly’s naïve, yet probing, reactions to the sometimes murky and hypocritical world of adult-life are amusing and insightful. The girls may not understand all of what they find out, but they have the tenacity and the instinct to keep looking – no matter how hard some of the residents try to put an end to their search.
As they challenge their neighbours and investigate what has happened to Mrs Creasy, the girls unearth numerous interwoven hidden truths. After this summer, their lives, and their opinion of adults, will never be the same again.
Fantastically plotted and expertly told, the book is a warm (no pun intended), perceptive and at times difficult look at what it means to be part of a community, and in essence, what it means to be human - ideal for fans of Elizabeth is Missing and The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time.