Thursday, 21 December 2017

Book Review: Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

I must be the only person in the country who hasn't read The Trouble With Goats And Sheep, which was a huge bestseller for this author a couple of years ago. I was attracted to this book because of the clever cover, the title, and that so many readers had raved about TTWGAS.

Ostensibly Three Things About Elsie is a mystery. It opens with Florence, a lady of 84 years, looking back on the last few weeks of her life as she waits for someone to find her after a fall. This sounds depressing but Florence has a dry sense of humour and I was quickly drawn into her life at the home, her friendship with Elsie and Jack - and the trouble they cause the long-suffering staff. Florence, you see, is convinced that a new resident is not the man he claims to be but someone she knew sixty years ago - someone who is supposed to be dead.

In reality, Three Things About Elsie is about what it feels like to grow old. The frustration you feel as your health and mental agility slip away from you, and the way younger people start to treat you differently. And how eventually you even lose control over the way you want to live your life.

I loved the character of Florence, flaws and all, and the adventures she has with her friends as they investigate the past of this mysterious new resident. Think a more subtle version of Last of the Summer Wine without the slapstick. It is by turns funny, poignant, and desperately sad too - and I loved it. There are also some clever twists. Definitely recommended; I'm sure this will be one of my favourite reads for 2018.


I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Three Things About Elsie, which will be published on the 11th January 2018.

Thank you to Joanna Cannon, The Borough Press, and Netgalley for my copy of this book, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

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