Thursday, April 7, 2011

Started Early, Took My Dog Again

I keep thinking about one aspect of the unraveling of the mystery in this book. At the beginning, Atkinson quotes the following rhyme -
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.
For want of a nail. I won't say who or what this refers to, and in fact it is used by many characters. But there is one particular person I'm thinking of who needed a nail. In his/her case (I am so not spoiling a Kate Atkinson book!) it wasn't just one nail. It was a pattern of behavior. It was a decision to behave in a certain manner -- one moment of disapproval followed by months of acting out that disapproval.

For want of a wiser decision. For want of a bit of compassion. For want of remembering our own struggles and imperfections...

This is another reason I love Kate Atkinson. She makes me think. Her characters are real and terribly imperfect. I love Jackson Brodie the character while knowing that if I met him in person I would run away screaming. But Jackson is real, with weaknesses and strengths and I love seeing him figure out the mystery. He's always one step ahead of me, that's for sure. I know there are people who say they've figured out who done it in every Sherlock Holmes story - well, I never have. Nor did I ever figure out the puzzle in any of the Encyclopedia Brown books. (Encyclopedia may have been my very first nerd-crush. He was just so clever!)

How long do I have to wait for the next Kate Atkinson book? Sigh.

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