Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WHAT TIM KNOWS by Wendy Janes @wendyproof

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs here http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading What Tim Knows, and other stories 

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 Wendy Janes Getting to know the characters, a feeling at a time.

A gallery-owner’s quest for beauty; a dancer in danger; a new mother struggling to cope with her baby; a sculptor’s search for inspiration; a teenager longing to live in the perfect family; a young boy lost and confused by the rules of life that everyone else seems to understand. Six stand-alone short stories, spanning five decades. Each capturing a significant moment in the life of a different character. Separate lives linked in subtle ways.

I received an ARC copy of this book and I voluntarily decided to write a review.

I had read some of Wendy Janes’s articles about editing and I was aware of her novel ‘What Jennifer Knows’ although I had not read it. So I came to this book feeling quite curious. I had read some of the reviews, both of the novel and of this book and they were all positive, and after reading it, I can say deservedly so.

The author explains that these “stories” are scenes and background information she had written when preparing her novel, but later they did not seem to fit in with it and she did not include them but thought readers might enjoy them in their own right. Not having read the novel, I can confirm they can be read independently, although I got the feeling that perhaps some of them would be enjoyed more fully by readers who were already familiar with the story, as they would offer further insight into well-loved characters.

They stories are not typical of other short-story collections that I’ve read in the past. Although self-contained, they don’t necessarily tell a ground-breaking story, and have no sting in the tail (we might perceive one, but this is up to the reader, rather than because of an imposed twist in the action). It’s easy to work out as we read that there are connections between the characters, as many of them appear repeatedly in the stories, playing different parts (a bit like in the Seven Ages of Man by Shakespeare), but if something is distinctive about them is that they are beautifully observed. Written in the third person but from different points of view, these are clearly different people with different interests and attitudes, men and women, children and adults, and they vary from the very personal to the professional. If I had to pick up some favourites, without a doubt ‘The Never Ending Day’ (I’ve never had a baby but as a psychiatrist I’ve worked with mothers who became very depressed following the birth of their child and I recognise the themes and the description of her feelings), ‘The Perfect Family’ (where Blythe reminded me of myself, as an only child who always thought that to have a bigger family must be fun) and ‘What Tim Knows’ that is a very successful peep at how an autistic boy sees the world.

I hope to read more of the author’s work and I can recommend these stories if you want to make your own mind up about how you might feel about reading her longer fiction.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WHAT TIM KNOWS by @wendyproof #shortstories

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs at https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz has been reading What Tim Knows by Wendy Janes

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What Tim Knows by Wendy Janes

 The short stories in this book are connected to significant moments in the lives of a group of people who feature in Wendy Janes’ novel What Jennifer Knows. There is no need to have read the novel first but it certainly gave an added dimension to me.

The first story, Beauty, describes the paramount need for beauty to surround Rollo, an Art Gallery owner. When he parts company with one of his exhibitors, the “empty plinths,” are reduced, “to totem poles with no message,” so it is essential that he finds beauty elsewhere. Never-Ending Day struck a chord with me as it reminded me so well of those awful first weeks, as a new mother, when you realise that you know nothing about babies and that you are making a terrible mess of trying to care for this one. Similarly, Perfect Family made me aware of the contrast between my home life as an only child and that of lively families with several siblings which seemed to have such fun together.

What Tim Knows contrasts completely with What Jennifer Knows. Jennifer knew too much, but Tim knows too little, or at least his comprehension of the world is very different to that of the people who surround him. Having taught children on the autistic spectrum, I have been caught out by my inability to state exactly what is a fact and am aware that there are no greys for many. I love the way this story puts us inside Tim’s head and shows us what an inexplicable world we live in!

A refreshing look at life through a wide variety of characters.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WHAT TIM KNOWS by @Wendyproof #Shortstories #fridayreads

Today’s team review is from Jenny, she blogs at http://jennyworstall.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Jenny has been reading What Tim Knows by Wendy Janes

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By Jenny Worstall Author on 25 July 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team.
This wonderful collection of short stories takes six characters from Wendy Janes’ novel ‘What Jennifer Knows’ and gives each of them a canvas to themselves. The stories link back cleverly to the novel and give further insights into the characters’ lives and behaviour. Jennifer, the heroine of ‘What Jennifer Knows’, appears in every story at different points in her life. Even though the stories are entwined with the novel, they can be read as a standalone volume with great enjoyment too. The fifth story, ‘The Perfect Family’, explores the shifting loyalties and cruelties of childhood friendship and how a child’s perception of her parents can change in a crisis. The emotional gem, for me, is ‘What Tim Knows’. Wendy Janes has a real understanding of what it feels like for a child to be different and how this affects the behaviour and feelings of others too. The closing scene between Tim and his mother Blythe is truly heart-wrenching. I have no hesitation in recommending this fantastic collection and hope it will send new readers in search of the novel it is so much part of.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT WHAT TIM KNOWS by @Wendyproof #WeekendBlogShare

Today’s second team review is from Georgia, she blogs at http://www.georgiarosebooks.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Georgia has been reading What Tim Knows by Wendy Janes

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What Tim Knows features six short stories which all have links with this author’s novel, What Jennifer Knows, but you do not have to have read that (as I haven’t, yet!) to enjoy this, as each of these stories is complete in itself.

The stories cover five decades, all are very well written and each tells a very different tale which I found enjoyable and interesting. The writing style flows and I really liked spotting the links between each of these and What Jennifer Knows.

I don’t like picking favourites because each of them had something to recommend it but if I was pushed I would go for the story of the title, What Tim Knows. This is told from the point of view of a young boy with autism who goes to his first party. It shows terrific knowledge, insight and understanding on the part of the author, is very well written and the feelings of this little boy come across so well it manages to be both entertaining and heart breaking at the same time.

At the moment I am struggling to read anything longer than a short story so these fitted the bill perfectly. I also find a well written short story is a terrific introduction to an author’s work without too much investment of time and after reading these What Jennifer Knows is definitely on my to-be-read list.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com