The Animals in That Country - Laura Jean McKay

Jean isn't your typical grandma, she's a drinker, foul-mouthed, and hates most people and the only light in her life is her granddaughter, Kimberly. When a pandemic sweeps across the country that primarily lets it's sufferers understand animals Jean thinks it's nothing to worry about but when her estranged and infected son Lee steals Kimberly away Jean has to follow.

Tandem Collective were kind enough to let me be involved in the readalong for this novel and I want to thank them for that!

Reading about a pandemic whilst living through a pandemic was slightly strange and unnerving but the details was different enough for me to separate the realities so I'd still say it's readable in the current climate. However, would I recommend it? No. The tagline is that the characters are able to understand animals due to the pandemic but even once the illness is in full swing Jean still only gets spatterings of understanding from Sue the dingo and that just made the experience of reading this disappointing, it didn't deliver what it promised. Dialogue from the animals was difficult to follow and even with the human characters explaining what was meant it was near impossible to understand.

Jean as a character was frustrating, she generated her own problems and refused to deal with them properly. Whilst that is a character flaw that could easily be ignored it seemed to become her sole personality trait and she never redeems herself despite going through a development arc. None of the other characters really held much ground with me as a reader and were remarkably flat, Kimberly was a well written child but that's probably where I disconnected.

My interest ended as a whole quite early on with the novel, I only pursued the rest of the story due to my involvement in the readalong and I hoped there would be a twist that redeemed the story but alas, no. It took a predictable turn and felt ultimately uneventful.

This was easily one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it just fell completely flat, the characters were poorly written and had no development, the story didn't deliver or promise it's tagline.

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