Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS?: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
WHEN WILL THERE BE
GOOD NEWS?

BY KATE ATKINSON

ABOUT THE BOOK:

On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason's family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna's life is changed forever...

On a dark night thirty years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound...


At the end of a long day, 16-year-old Reggie is looking forward to watching a little TV. Then a terrifying noise shatters her peaceful evening. Luckily, Reggie makes it a point to be prepared for an emergency...


These three lives come together in unexpected and deeply thrilling ways in the latest novel from Kate Atkinson, the critically acclaimed author who Harlan Coben calls "an absolute must-read."


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Kate Atkinson lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, was named Whitbread Book of the Year in the U.K. in 1995, and was followed by Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Not the End of the World, Case Histories and One Good Turn.


READING GROUP GUIDE:


1. Many of the characters in When Will There Be Good News? have lost family members: Joanna loses her mother, sister, and baby brother in the novel’s opening pages; Reggie’s mother has recently drowned; and Jackson lost his mother, brother, and sister in the course of a year when he was twelve. In view of these tragedies, compare Joanna’s, Reggie’s, and Jackson’s respective outlooks on life with those of the other characters in the novel.

2. The question of Nathan’s paternity haunts Jackson Brodie. Why? How might Jackson’s life change if he discovered he was Nathan’s father? Is Jackson a good father to Marlee?

3. With When Will There Be Good News?—and previously also in Case Histories and One Good Turn—Kate Atkinson introduced elements of the traditional crime novel into her fiction. Other than the “crime,” what elements make up a crime novel? What crime-fiction conventions can you discern in this book?

4. When Will There Be Good News? has three central female characters: Joanna, Louise, and Reggie. Discuss the ways in which these three central characters are similar. Which of the three would you most like to encounter again in a subsequent novel by Kate Atkinson?

5. Of Jackson Brodie, Atkinson writes, “How ironic that both Julia and Louise, the two women he’d felt closest to in his recent past, had both unexpectedly got married, and neither of them to him” (page 90). What are the chances that Jackson will ever have a successful romantic relationship? Why do you think he has been unlucky so far, even though he is such an appealing character?

6. Discuss the idea of “good” characters and “evil” characters in When Will There Be Good News? Do you think the novel’s central characters are either essentially “good” or essentially “evil,” or are they a combination of both? How do Louise, Reggie, and Jackson—each of whom breaks the law to achieve the “right” result—figure into your viewpoint? What is the moral code at work in the novel?

7. Death, violence, and hardship seem to stalk Reggie, yet she remains remarkably resilient. What do you think sustains her?

8. Discuss the institution of marriage as it is portrayed in the novel. Consider Louise’s marriage, Joanna’s marriage, Jackson’s marriage, and Julia’s marriage. Are there any characters in the novel who are happily married?

9. Jackson Brodie believes that “a coincidence is just an explanation waiting to happen” (page 319). Discuss some of the coincidences in When Will There Be Good News? Do they make the story seem more real? Or less real?

10. Despite the novel’s title and the early statement that “everything was bad. There was no question about it” (page 10), there are many instances of humor in the story. Do you think When Will There Be Good News? is essentially a humorous novel with tragic events or a tragic novel with moments of levity?

REVIEW:

My book club read this book recently and there were mixed reviews. An author once told me that if her books create dialogue and discussion, then that is what is important and this one certainly did. We used some of the discussion questions and many liked it and some found it hard to keep track of the different character stories since it jumped around. Here is what I thought about WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS? in my review:

WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS? takes place in England with the story told through three main characters. The book starts off with a powerful first chapter about a chilling murder. This interested me immediately and I was eager to read on. Then the author back tracked to share the story of the three main characters. Although I enjoyed two of the characters quite a bit, Joanna and Reggie, I couldn’t connect with the third, Jackson Brodie. Atkinson’s writing was well done but the changing of characters and time periods after a while made me wish I had a score card to keep track.

In the beginning, we meet Joanna Hunter who is a doctor and she was the child in the first chapter that was not murdered and left to live with the memories of the rest of her family‘s demise. She seemed to have done very well with it after much therapy but after his 30 year prison sentence, the murderer was about to be paroled and fear strikes Joanna as she wonders what publicity or what he might do to her finally normal, so she thinks, life. Joanna is married to Neil, who is involved in some questionable kind of business and although she feels her marriage and husband are good, readers quickly realize there is more to him then you first see. Hunter is a new mom and hires a child care helper by the name of Reggie and that’s how the second character enters the story.

Reggie, that is Regina, is 16-years old and she was my favorite character. She is a sharp, but very needy, teenager whose mother has died over a year ago and all she has is an older brother, Billy, who isn’t worth talking about. Reggie finds her job as a mommy’s helper to be just the thing to fill her life. She adopts Joanna Hunter as her mom in her mind as she never tells Joanna her real mom is dead. The lies that Reggie tells are justified by her need for survival and it is she who becomes upset when Joanna disappears one day. She doesn’t know what to do and is certainly more on top of it and worrying more than husband, Neil! This brings in a secondary character but really I think she is an important one, and that is Chief Inspector Louise Monroe. Monroe is investigating a suspicious fire at one of Neil’s businesses when Reggie is able to connect with her about Louise.

The third main character is Jackson Brodie whose story part is the one that just threw me as I was not only confused as to what he was doing, but didn’t really feel a connection with him. I don’t think he was that well developed and maybe that is why. I wanted to continue with Joanna and Reggie when he “interrupted”. Reggie meets him by accident when a terrible train wreck occurs and he is serious injured. At this point the story and characters began to come together somewhat. I had to read on to find out what happened to Joanna and how Reggie’s story played out but it was tough as it didn’t meld for me. I had to go back and look up certain things to try and understand parts of what I was reading and that was too tedious for me.

I don’t like having to work too hard for my reading enjoyment. I do want to point out that the book is well done when it comes to the female characters and perhaps if the story had stayed with them alone, I would have found it much more satisfying. Some of my book club members agreed while others found no problem at all and were totally caught up in the intertwined mystery. So you see, you must read for yourself to find out how YOU would take this book and if YOU want to wait to see WHEN THERE WILL BE GOOD NEWS?

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO VALERIE AND THE
HACHETTE BOOK GROUP, I HAVE

3 COPIES OF THIS INTERESTING
BOOK
TO GIVEAWAY!


--U.S. AND CANADIAN RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!
HOW TO ENTER

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHY YOU THINK YOU MIGHT LIKE TO READ THIS BOOK

+1 MORE ENTRIES: COMMENT ON IF YOU FOLLOW MY BLOG AND HOW

+1 MORE ENTRIES: COMMENT ON IF YOU SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL TO MY BLOG


+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND THEN COME BACK AND LEAVE A LINK

THIS GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, MARCH 14


GOOD LUCK!

93 comments:

Bcteagirl said...

I have been reading good reviews about this book, it sounds interesting. Thank you for including book club type questions to go with this book as well.

teagirl1 at telus dot net

Bcteagirl said...

I follow via google friend connect!

Bcteagirl said...

Tweet!
http://twitter.com/bcteagirl/status/9515444273

Pam said...

I've been reading such great reviews of this book. It sounds dramatic and thrilling, suspenseful and even heartbreaking. It sounds like a can't-put-down read and I could use one of those !

melacan at hotmail dot com

Pam said...

I follow you with my google reader.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Heather said...

I reviewed this book as well a few months ago. I really liked it, though I agree it was a very complicated plot...You might have felt more of a connection with Brodie if you had read her other books in his series. He is one of her recurring characters, and knowing some of his history might have made him more accessible.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I'd love to read this book because I'm really in the mood for a thought-provoking mystery right now. Thanks for the giveaway.

fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I follow you on Google Connect.

fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I subscribe via Google Reader.

fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

g.g. said...

I'd like to read it because I would want to see if I liked that third character or not

anjamie4 AT gmail DOT com

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I tweeted!

http://twitter.com/bookmonstrosity/status/9524961894

fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

g.g. said...

I follow on google friend connect

anjamie4 AT gmail DOT com

g.g. said...

I subscribe by email

anjamie4 AT gmail DOT com

bermudaonion said...

Sorry to see you didn't just love this one. No need to enter me.

amanda18228 said...

I would like to read this book because of all of the great reviews of it.
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

amanda18228 said...

I follow via google friend connect.
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

amanda18228 said...

I tweeted. http://twitter.com/amandawk/status/9530904470
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

traveler said...

This book interests me greatly. The review was fascinating and lovely. Thanks for this chance. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I subscribe via e-mail. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

skkorman said...

The reviews for this book have been great—it sounds like an intriguing read!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

Becca said...

I’d like to read this because I have heard good things about it and it sounds interesting but also because every once in a while I like to read a book that has a nice complicated plot that you really have to pay attention to. And it looks like this might have just that.

Thanks.
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

Becca said...

I follow on google friends connect.

thanks
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

Becca said...

I blogged about it here:

http://completepoppycock.blogspot.com/2010/02/little-good-news.html

thanks
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

StephTheBookworm said...

I'd love to read this book because I've heard many great things about it. The description is so intriguing!

stephaniet117(at)yahoo(dot)com

StephTheBookworm said...

I follow Google Friend Connect.

Wendy said...

I like books that keep you on your toes. I also enjoy plots that engage different generations.

Wendy
ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Wendy said...

I follow with Google Friend Connect.

Wendy
ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Charleydog said...

I would like to read this book because it is about happenstance Please enter my name in the giveaway for the book. Thanks!

pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com

holdenj said...

I think the intertwined mystery would be an interesting way to propel the story forward. I'm also curious about the mixed comments from your group, so it would definitely be worth a try!Thanks.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I'm a loyal google friend connect follower!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

I want to win this because everything I have read about this book has been positive.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Nan said...

Please enter me in the giveaway.

vtgoat[at]gmail[dot]com

Nan said...

I follow you through google reader.

vtgoat[at]gmail[dot]com

Debbie said...

I think I'd enjoy it as I love a good suspense.
fourkidsrgreat(at)gmail.com

Debbie said...

I follow through GFC.

bison61 said...

reviews sound good-I love to read a good thriller

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Isi and Jas' mom said...

I want to see how the character connect. Sounds very interesting
mstlee2000 @ hotmail.com

Isi and Jas' mom said...

I follow via GFC
mstlee2000 @ hotmail.com

Isi and Jas' mom said...

I subscribe via email
mstlee2000 @ hotmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I love a book that leaves a mystery to be found and, after reading the description am a little desperate to find out what noise they all heard!
Colleen
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I follow via google friend connect.
Thanks!
candc320@gmail.com

Karin said...

Would like to read the book because British writers have a different flavor/style of writing that I usually like~~

karin56381 (at) gmail.com

justpeachy36 said...

justpeachy36@yahoo.com

Please enter me in the giveaway. Read some good reviews on this one. Looking forward to reading this one.

Tea said...

+1 I always learn from people who have suffered a loss. These people become treasures of wisdom to other people.

teakettle58atyahoodotcom

tea said...

I follow through the Google Reader.

tea said...

I already follow you by email. Just to make sure I subscribed again.

tea said...

+1 I blogged it.

readwithteaatblogspotdotcom

Lee P said...

I,too, have heard lot of good things about this book. It seems like right from the beginning this book pulls you in. The characters seem interesting and I love to read about drama and suspense. Thank you for this nice giveaway and please count me in.

chinook92 at gmail dot com

Lee P said...

I subscribe to Bookin' With Bingo by email.

chinook92 at gmail dot com

Lee P said...

I follow Bookin' With Bingo via Google Friends.

chinook92 at gmail dot com

Lee P said...

Tweet:

http://twitter.com/chinook92/status/9989366895

chinook92 at gmail dot com

MiscMayzee said...

It sounds like a really great plot!

ashleymaymott(at)aol(dot)com

MiscMayzee said...

I get e-mail updates.

ashleymaymott(at)aol(dot)com

MiscMayzee said...

I follow with google friend connect.

ashleymaymott(at)aol(dot)com

Misusedinnocence said...

I follow on gfc.

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Misusedinnocence said...

I think I might be able to relate to Reggie, I'd like to read it and find out.

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Pamela Keener said...

This book sounds awesome.
I am a new follower via google.
I subscribe via e-mail.
pk4290@comcast.net
Love & Hugs,
Pam

Benita said...

Follower via GFC.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Benita said...

Email subscriber.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Benita said...

The book sounds great and the reviews are awesome. That's why I'd like to read it.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Francine said...

follow your blog via google connect

fmd518(at)gmail(dot)com

Francine said...

It sounds like it is suspenseful and I like those type of books.

fmd518(at)gmail(dot)com

ossmcalc said...

Sorry to say, but my life has seemed like "When Will There Be Good News?" since my accident at school that has led to a cascading series of health issues. Starting out with a murder would definitely catch my interest. I just think that this book would be a real page turner if I could keep all of the story lines straight. I would definitely love to have the opportunity to try.


Thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

ossmcalc said...

I subscribe to your blog via email.

Thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

ossmcalc said...

I follow your blog through Google Reader and through signing up as a Fan on your Facebook page today.

Thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

ossmcalc said...

I tweeted about this giveaway http://twitter.com/ossmcalc/status/10109266806

Thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

Debbie F said...

I follow google reader

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Debbie F said...

This sounds like an interesting book to me and I like when there are mixed review - I like to see which side I'm on

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Sarah E said...

I think I would love to read this book because I have read so many good book reviews about it on book blogs.

Please enter me in this giveaway!

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Sarah E said...

I subscribe via email to your blog.

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Sarah E said...

I follow your blog via Google Reader/GFC/Blogger.

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Sarah E said...

I tweeted:

https://twitter.com/saemmerson/status/10267825208

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

cherylbaryl said...

This sounds like a great book, and I would like to enter to win!
cherylbaryl@hotmail.com

cherylbaryl said...

I follow your blog on google friend connect.
cherylbaryl@hotmail.com

melydia said...

Sounds like the sort of thing I would enjoy. I prefer books that make me think.

melydia@hotmail.com

Thanks!

Sean said...

please enter me
spynaert@gmail.com

409cope said...

I would like this book as I like suspenses and this one sounds like it has a lot of suspense. cardshark42(at)hotmail(dot)com

409cope said...

I am an email subscriber. cardshark42(at)hotmail(dot)com

409cope said...

I follow through google friend. cardshark42(at)hotmail(dot)com

DarcyO said...

I follow with Google Friend Connect.

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

DarcyO said...

I like trying to figure out a mystery. This sounds like it might be a bit more challenging. Thanks for the chance!

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

Dina said...

FOLLOW GFC

Dina said...

http://twitter.com/aitmama/status/10429860077

Dina said...

Sounds like a page turner! aitmama {{ta}} gmail {{tod}} com

Dina said...

SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL

Dina said...

http://twitter.com/aitmama/status/10429860077

Cindy said...

I follow your blog on Google!

Cindy
Socmom213@aol.com

Cindy said...

I would love to read this book! Thank you for the giveaway.

The title of the book caught my eye first. It sounds like the way life is sometimes.

The book sounds interesting and I appreciate your honest review.
I love mystery and suspense in a book and this one sounds like it has plenty of that!

Cindy
Socmom213@aol.com

Cindy said...

I also subscribe to your blog by email.

Cindy
Socmom213@aol.com

CherylS22 said...

I'm an e-mail subscriber
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

CherylS22 said...

I follow in Google Friend Connect
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

CherylS22 said...

I'd like to win this book because I'm always up for a good murder mystery.

Thanks ~ megalon22 at yahoo dot com

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