The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep


One  category of my book challenge is a book that will bring you joy. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep (A) by Joanna Cannon seemed like an unlikely choice but I was very happily surprised to be able to place it there.

The story follows the events of one Avenue in a community in England, one particularly hot summer . A neighbor has gone missing. Wherever she has gone she has taken neighborhood secrets with her; secrets that could impact many lives.

Grace and Tilly are best friends and each summer they undertake “an adventure”. Distressed by the fact that Mrs. Creasy is missing, the girls attend Sunday services paying extra attention to the Vicar’s sermon. He tells the congregation that God is everywhere and that once you find Him everyone will be safe. The Vicar quotes the bible by saying “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one form another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” Gracie believes she and Tilly must find God in order to bring Mrs. Creasy back and keep everyone else safe.

As they set out on their adventure, the girls witness many things; things that give the reader pause. Some of their conclusions about life are laughable (hence the joy); others are complicated and certainly can be applied to our daily lives. It’s difficult separating the sheep from the goats. How does the Shepherd even decide?

I took away so much from this delightful story. Love, loyalty, prejudice, friendship, community and fairness are only a few emotions addressed. Everyone has secrets and fears and anxieties. Everyone reacts differently to situations. However, sometimes mob mentality prevails and that needs to be recognized too.

I encourage everyone to read The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. Recognizing our differences, especially today, is a good practice for everyone to adopt. If Gracie and Tilly can without prejudice or fear maybe we all can too. Time to decide if you are a goat or a sheep. I believe I am a goat.




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