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Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

Started Early, Took My Dog (2010)

by Kate Atkinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Jackson Brodie (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,2451572,855 (3.84)268
  1. 10
    What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn (Anonymous user)
  2. 00
    When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (KayCliff)
  3. 00
    The Tree of Hands by Ruth Rendell (Imprinted)
    Imprinted: There are some strikingly similar themes involving children and parental love between these two terrific novels.

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» See also 268 mentions

English (150)  French (4)  Dutch (2)  All (156)
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
This is a Jackson Brodie investigation novel.
He has been asked to figure out the truth for a lady in New Zealand who was adopted as a baby from England.
Another 2 stories also unravels and runs parallel with this one
Tracey ex copper who has seen some terrible sights decides on spur of the moment to buy a child.
Also an old washed up actress Tilly is battling dementia.
The stories are separate but kind of weave together.
The book also jumps from present to the mid 1970s when Tracey was new on the beat.
It all comes together nicely well written enjoyable read this. ( )
  Daftboy1 | Apr 4, 2017 |
The title is a quote from an Emily Dickenson poem, just one of many literary references in this well-written novel. It’s much more character-driven and literary than the usual mystery novel, with a window into the inner lives and thoughts of the characters.

Some patience is needed, but Atkinson writes an intricately plotted tale that is witty and ironic, with humor and insight into human nature. There were many times I chuckled out loud. But there’s also weightier moral issue to consider as the story unfolds.

There are a few narratives going on at the same time: Jackson Brodie is hired to find the birth parents of a woman adopted in the 1970s, and along the way he rescues a scrappy little dog from an abusive thug; there’s Tracy, a retired policewoman, who rescues a mistreated little girl from a druggie prostitute; and then there’s Tilly, an aging actress suffering from beginning dementia. There’s a minor cast of secondary characters as well. Atkinson shifts between past and present and POV, interweaving these several story lines, with the connection to a 1975 crime all coming together in the end.

This is the 4th in a series and can be read as a stand-alone. There were a few references to prior books, but they aren't necessary to the plot. Atkinson may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series and hope she decides to write another Jackson Brodie novel. I'd like to see more of Tracy and see some loose ends resolved.

( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
Atkinson is a thinking persons writer, who is also not caught up in using big words to discuss big concepts. This is extremely difficult to pull off, as many authors try to either dumb down their ideas to fit a certain reading genre or they inflate their work with self-importance. Atkinson digs deep into the human psyche and weaves tales upon themselves and over again, and everything in her books is connected. There is a reason for everything she does and everything falls into place, one by one, as the story unfolds.

She's also an economical writer, one who will use the right word or phrase at the right now. She doesn't skimp: everything is well placed and thought out. Reading Atkinson is always a great reminder why I love to read: To be placed in the story, to witness the characters successes and triumphs, and to feel as though you are not a voyeur, but an eyewitness to the story's tale.

After a long personal hiatus with reading, diving back in with STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG was a joy. Atkinson reaffirms my faith modern literature and makes me hungry for more.
( )
  byshieldmaiden | Jan 17, 2017 |
The fourth and final (boo), book in the series was, an enjoyable read, the I enjoyed this one a lot, although not nearly as much as the third novel. I enjoyed the plot and the mystery for this one and read through it quickly piecing out the mystery as I read The plot of the book threw me a bit, some interesting twists from the past and a few decisions of the characters in the present and other twists actually threw me. There were a few things that I didn’t see coming, which made for an interesting read because I wasn’t expecting what the characters were going to do.

Some of the other characters were not my favourite, I disliked a few of them, but all were incredibly well written and fleshed out, which I appreciated. I enjoyed Jackson Brodie in this one a lot, he’s such a character but one who you grow to enjoy a lot, It’s a shame that there isn’t more books, I will miss the character a lot, although I still have the TV series to finish it won’t be the same.

Overall a great wrap-up to what turned out to be an enjoyable series.

Also found on my book blog Jules' Book Reviews - Started Early, Took My Dog ( )
  bookwormjules | Dec 5, 2016 |
Jackson Brodie is, well, frankly, not a very good detective sometimes. He's deeply flawed. Life confuses him. So why do I wanna marry him? ( )
  jjaylynny | Nov 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
“Started Early, Took My Dog” — with a wonderful title from Emily Dickinson, summoning a poem that is as artfully enshrouded as this novel — is... jampacked with echoes, parallels, doppelgängers, sneaky omissions and authorial attempts to mislead. For Ms. Atkinson this is business as usual and often a source of final-act revelatory glee. But it doesn’t coalesce as neatly as this series’s earlier installments have.
Kate Atkinson began as a prize-winning literary novelist with Behind the Scenes at the Museum and has, like Michael Dibdin and Ian Rankin before, reinvented herself by using the tropes of detective fiction. She's just as serious and formally interesting as ever, only her novels featuring the ex-policeman Jackson Brodie involve unravelling a couple of murders. With their startling first chapters, appealing cast of familiar characters and meticulous observation of contemporary reality they read like Elizabeth George crossed with Elizabeth Bowen.

The fourth, Started Early, Took My Dog is about child abduction, and people who fall through the cracks of modern Britain unless somebody bothers to help. The narrative switches between the 1970s and today with dizzying, at times perplexing, skill. Tracy, its hefty heroine is, like Brodie, ex-police. As a young copper she found a starving, half-frozen child in a flat with his murdered mother. Tracy persists in asking questions, and the child disappears.

Atkinson's detective novels capture the strangeness of modern times, and our supposedly atomised lives, with spiky wit, emotional intelligence and consummate cleverness. All her novels are about the choices that we make and the things we leave behind; about parenthood and the anguish that vulnerability brings. Above all, they scrutinise an England too few literary novelists seem to notice, or care about.
added by VivienneR | editThe Independent, Amanda Craig (Sep 3, 2010)
So much of the narrative is retrospective or interior that there's not much urgency to unfolding events, however highly coloured. And there's a rhetorical whimsy reminiscent of some of Atkinson's earlier books, a devil-may-care gesturing at the novel's own fictionality, which can leave the characters threatening to float free of our trust in them. But we follow their digressive, meandering voices avidly as they circle around their own particular loves and losses, all knitted together with Atkinson's extraordinary combination of wit, plain-speaking, tenderness and control. She's an old hand at paradox now: "All roads lead home," says Julia. "All roads lead away from home," Jackson replies.

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Atkinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bell, NicholasNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
'I was just cleaning up the place a bit.'
Peter Sutcliffe
For my father
First words
Leeds: 'Motorway City of the Seventies'. A proud slogan.
"Hoop' is een ding met veren -
dat neerstrijkt in de ziel -
een melodie zingt zonder tekst -
en nooit stopt - met zijn lied -

het zoetste klinkt - in wilde Vlaag -
De storm moet bitter zijn -
Als hij het Vogeltje beschaamt
dat velen heeft verblijd -

Ik hoorde hem in het kilste land -
En op de vreemdste Zee -
Toch vroeg het - nooit - in Extremis,
een kruimeltje - van Mij.

Emily Dickinson, vertaling van Louise van Santen.
You can't change the past, only the future, and the only place you could change the future was in the present.
Josie, his first wife, had once said to him that if ran far enough he would end up back where he started but Jackson didn't think that the place he had started from existed anymore.
Title from the Emily Dickinson poem (656):

I started Early – Took my Dog –
And visited the Sea –
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me –

And Frigates – in the Upper Floor
Extended Hempen Hands –
Presuming Me to be a Mouse –
Aground – opon the Sands –

But no Man moved Me – till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe –
And past my Apron – and my Belt
And past my Boddice – too –

And made as He would eat me up –
As wholly as a Dew
Opon a Dandelion's Sleeve –
And then – I started – too –

And He – He followed – close behind –
I felt His Silver Heel
Opon my Ancle – Then My Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl –

Until We met the Solid Town –
No One He seemed to know –
And bowing – with a Mighty look –
At me – The Sea withdrew –
Last words
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Book description
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.

Kate Atkinson dovetails and counterpoints her plots with Dickensian brilliance in a tale peopled with unlikely heroes and villains. Started Early, Took My Dog is freighted with wit, wisdom and a fierce moral intelligence. It confirms Kate Atkinson's position as one of the great writers of our time.
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Tracy Waterhouse, a retired police detective leading a quiet life, makes a snap decision to relieve habitual offender Kelly Cross of a young child he's been dragging around town. Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge. Meanwhile, detective Jackson Brodie embarks on a different sort of rescue--that of an abused dog.… (more)

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