• The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

  • A Novel
  • By: Joanna Cannon
  • Narrated by: Paula Wilcox
  • Length: 11 hrs
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 07-12-16
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (83 ratings)

Regular price: $17.00

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Publisher's Summary

Part coming-of-age novel, part mystery, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is a quirky and utterly charming debut about a community in need of absolution and two girls learning what it means to belong.
England, 1976. Mrs. Creasy is missing, and the Avenue is alive with whispers. The neighbors blame her sudden disappearance on the heat wave, but 10-year-olds Grace and Tilly aren't convinced. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, the girls decide to take matters into their own hands. Inspired by the local vicar, they go looking for God - they believe that if they find him they might also find Mrs. Creasy and bring her home.
Spunky, spirited Grace and frail, nervous Tilly go door to door in search of clues. As the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives uncover much more than they could have imagined. Instead of finding their missing neighbor, they must try to make sense of what they've seen and heard, and a complicated history of deception begins to emerge. Everyone on the Avenue has something to hide, a reason for not fitting in. It's only in the suffocating heat of the summer that the ability to guard these differences becomes impossible.
Along with the parched lawns and the melting pavement, the lives of all the neighbors begin to deconstruct. What the girls don't realize is that the lies told to conceal what happened one fateful day about a decade ago are the same ones Mrs. Creasy was beginning to peel back just before she disappeared.
For fans of Jeannette Walls' The Silver Star, this "is a gripping debut about the secrets behind every door" (Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry).
©2016 Joanna Cannon (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Sara on 05-01-18

Acceptance VS Rejection

This is another great example of the difficulties and pitfalls of categorizing books by target age groups and genres. Plunking this book neatly into the teens section is too limiting and confusing. In reality the book is a pot-boiler of neighborhood and family relationships, strife, exclusion and connection. The title refers to a sermon preached by the local vicar about dividing people into groups of those viewed as good or those thought to be bad....or in this case goats or sheep. The key word in understanding the title is the word trouble or really the difficulty in applying labels and dividing people.

Cannon beautifully plays out a community in turmoil with wonderful character studies and a gradual exposure of the shades of gray in life and in people. The storytelling moves between the summer of 1976 and back about ten years earlier to a disaster that occurred in the community. Little by little the reader comes to know the characters and finds that all is not always as it seems. We see that much of life is made up of preconceived judgements or arbitrary likes or dislikes--whether you prefer sheep or goats.

The writing was subtle and at times spare which captured the mysteries of this multilayered story. Wilcox's narration was excellent. She brought such a wide range of people to life that I was amazed by her skill.

Be aware that while we see much of the action in this book through the eyes of two young girls this really isn't a book for or about what the children see or understand. Cannon delves deeply into what makes some people fit in or belong to a group and what excludes others. It's about connection and the things that divide us.

I read several very positive reviews for this book in the US newspapers and on two UK book sites. I'm really glad that I ignored the teen genre here on audible and went with the reviews. While parts of the story are disturbing it really made me think and transported me back to London in the 1970's.

I just spent, or really wasted almost 14 hours listening to the tedious and repetitive thriller The Woman in The Window. Whether Cannon intended it or not she has captured a thriller in the every day life of a community. If you really think about it, this story was terrifying.

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12 of 16 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Casey V Fowler on 04-19-18

Wonderfully Portrayed

The characters are wonderfully portrayed, intrinsically flawed beings. They navigate the difficult reality of concealing their flaws while living a close knit and authentically judgmental community. It was a great read, all around.

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