Started Early, Took My Dog Synopsis
A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a shocking impulse purchase. That 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 outrageous exchange in the Merrion Centre in Leeds are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie who has returned to his home county in search of someone else’s roots. All three characters learn that the past is never history and that no good deed goes unpunished. (Book Depository)
Readers must surrender oneself to the author when embarking on this very literary journey in the mind of Atkinson’s multi-faceted characters – philosophical traveler Jackson Brodie, battle worn Tracy Waterhouse searching for something more in life and elderly actress Tilly searching for memories of a life gone by.
In Started Early, Took My Dog Kate Atkinson has plumbed literary depths uncommon in the mystery and crime-detective genre.
This is not a fast moving story, it meanders into philosophical jaunts and switches back and forth between current day and times gone by. Atkinson’s subtle character development is a real treat.
‘Jackon supposed that other people’s small brain-dwelling inhabitants ran their operations rather like air-traffic controllers, always aware of the location of everything they were responsible for, never sloping off for tea breaks or loitering in the shadowy recesses of rarely accessed shelves, where they smoked fly cigarettes and kvetched about their poor working conditions. One day they would simply lay down tools and walk off, of course.’
Aging, desperation, loneliness and the relativity of morality in today’s society are key themes of Started Early, Took My Dog.
‘Jackson found photographs unsettling enough at the best of times. There was a lie at the heart of the camera, it implied the past was tangible when the very opposite was true.’
Atkinson brings levity and wit into what is at times a very sombre introspective tale through the charming relationship between Brodie and his rescued dog.
I really enjoyed Atkinson’s Started Early, Took My Dog. It oozes intelligence and complexity and has a moral conscience. Atkinson presents unique and sometimes cryptic slants on common themes and interesting trains of thought that I found intriguing. It’s plot however is not fast moving and may not hold everyone’s interest over its 496 pages. Literary prose trumps the mystery story.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Crime-Detective, Action-Adventure, Literature