All right, Book Club Review is back! Yes, we took last month off but here we are with the book, When Will There be Good News?
Several people’s lives converge in this gripping, character-driven novel by Whitbread Book Award winner Kate Atkinson. The story threads back three decades to the lightning-strike moment when six-year-old Joanna Mason witnessed a terrifying crime. Snap forward to a crowded train where an ex-detective passenger is about to hear a life-crushing sound. Meanwhile in Edinburgh, a teenage named Reggie is settling down for her favorite television shows when something shatters her calm. Atkinson manages to knot us into all this terrifying happenstance, propelling us toward an uncertain yet sought-after future.
Comments related to the semi-serious discussion about the book:
This book is really aptly named.So much f’ed up shit happens.
It’s the third in a series. Recurring characters but different plots, not related.
I loved Book 1. I read Book2 and hated it. This one, I’m enjoying much more.
I like Jackson more in this book. I’m a big fan of Louise. I love scrappy little Reggie.
I think Atkinson gets the use of humor correct in this book.
I felt it was really hard to get into.
Too much was going on in the beginning, shifts in POV.
Characters keep showing up. It was jarring.
The story was good but so unrelentingly tragic.
The second family killer was unnecessary.
I didn’t know what Jackson was supposed to represent. He was random guy that kept showing up.
It was dark in a dark side of humanity kind of way not dark in a crime novel kind of way.
This one didn’t have any answers. It was similar to Wally Lamb, wallowing in pathos.
I understand regionalism, but I didn’t get the Glaswegian references. It was very place oriented.
I felt it was super-complicated and super-dark.
My complaint was all these tangents the book went on.
I like the characters a lot. They were well-developed but jarring to have so many.
I get showing all the different lives but it was so trying.
It started off so in-your-face but it backed off. I had a hard time reading the beginning but then it just went away from that and didn’t really come back. It was like an isolated incident, not revisited until much later.
I got really impatient with this book.
I like the pathos she brings. I like the way she weaves the various threads together in a busy fashion.
It did seem to be a lot of . . . I don’t know why you needed the train crash.
I found that, despite the pathos and tragedy, it was a quick read. You get a snippet of people’s loves and move on.
I had that reaction when I saw the title, I don’t even know if I’m gonna get through it.
I was just reading it to see what happened, how it ties up. So, I was less annoyed by the too many coincidences. I enjoyed it but I don’t know that I’d recommend it.
In a book of so many coincidences, the only one that was like, oh come on, was [spoiler], that there wouldbe this long conspiracy.
I didn’t have a problem getting into the book. I was completely caught unaware, so shocked, I had to keep reading. I was just happily going along that country road.
Reggie was the whole book to me-where’s she gonna go? I was so worried about her, so engrossed in her plight. It was the best part of the book.
There were lots of things I loved. I was willing to accept those things. My big problem, the end of the book was so asinine. They just happened to pull up at that time and [spoiler] and then everybody acts all normal and nothing.
I couldn’t suspend disbelief long enough around her to really enjoy her.
I thought the women were all the same character-at different points in time. They were all staunchly independent, unapologetically so and had incredible tragedy in their past.
I was so pissed off at all the characters.
I got an ugly vibe. The mother’s back story wasn’t very well fleshed out. It turned a bit into blaming the victim. She was so unhappy and she was not treated fairly.
It was interesting that she was a survivor cause she had such low self-esteem.
One of the things that was very effective but annoyed me- I would be more than half a page in before realizing it was another character.
Having read all three, I felt this one was written with a movie in mind.
And, now some random not-so-much book related comments:
She said, you’re mad cause I got drunk without you? You said it, not me.
-She would start smelling in day 4. -Yeah, but she was out in the open, not in the living room.
Every time I go to turn on the faucet, I go “fuckining zombies.”
-Totally Glaswegian. -Hey, that’s my new go-to insult.
You know, the boobie bartender.
It’s like a dog trying to break the neck of something.
I hated newborns. They’re like gelatinous goop.
-A Hustler Superstore? That implies well-lit and a clearance aisle, a restocking fee. -No, a bleaching fee.
Jules’ review: I would have to give it a 3. Everything I like about it was also everything I didn’t. The characters were very well-written and I felt I got them all, but there were just so damned many of them. The plot just keeps moving, you’re never bored, and all the storylines were so well woven together. But, again there was juts so much going on, and so many coincidences. And, yes, it was so unrelentingly dismal. I do like her writing style and humor. I plan to read the first two, and probably the fourth which juts came out, to see of that changes my feelings at all.
Buy When Will There Be Good News?