Cover Image: The Bittlemores

The Bittlemores

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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC of this book. I loved this book! Great storyline and wonderful characters. This book has so many facts and doesn't quite fall into any one genre.

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Loved this story of a strange family history and some quirky farm animals and a great resolution. Some laughs, some heartrending bits all coming together in the end.

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I don’t exactly know what to make of this book.

Part part mystery. Part domestic thriller. Part Magical Realism.

If “The Deep End of the Ocean” and “Charlotte’s Web” had a baby, its last name would be Bittlemore.

I enjoyed quite a lot about this book.

Now, I was planning on grading on a curve as this was Jann Arden’s first novel, but I needn’t have worried.

The characters (the background on Harp was so well done, it actually made my heart squeeze), setting, and storyline were all fantastic.

Also: Who doesn’t like talking animals?

My only issue was the disturbing abuse, both child and animal, which was a little too graphic – for my sensibilities, and for the books description as a ‘heartfelt comedy’.

That said, I’ve loved Jann Arden since I was Willa’s age, so I’ll still be first in line for anything else she authors.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for this facetted ARC.

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I fell in love with the cover and then fell in love with the story and the style of writing. Thoroughly enjoyed and had fun.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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I was so excited to receive an advance copy of The Bittlemores. I’ve loved all of Jann Arden’s other books. I laughed and cried and couldn’t put them down but I struggled to plow through this one. The Bittlemores just wasn’t for me.
Thank You to NetGalley, Penguin Random House Canada for this ARC.

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Thanks NetGalley for the ARC of The Bittlemores by Jann Arden, published by Penguin Random House Canada

Wow, wow and wow! I loved this novel. It has great characters, amazing story line and a great ending. There were parts of the novel that were a little difficult to read that dealt with animal cruelty, I kept telling myself it was just a story, but these parts I can see were important in creating our feelings towards certain characters. I'll never look at cows the same, I walk past a field of them every day and now I love them more.
The story is about the Bittlemores, their current miserable life, we learn a bit of their history, and how they try to survive each other current day. They are both mean, nasty people, but managed to raise a daughter who despises them. And it's not only their daughter but the farm animals who despise them. I loved how the animals have personalities and thoughts and communicate throughout the novel
I love how the author transitions between characters and their stories, the story just flows, it's so much fun to read. A book I didn't want to put down
Even though the story is more current day it still has a feel of taking place years ago, loved there was no mention of cell phones etc. It's set in a small town in Canada. Just brilliant, I loved it. And omg, tears streaming down my face at the end, I loved the ending
100% recommend this novel, just be aware of some animal cruelty

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An excellent debut novel from the one and only Jann Arden! The storytelling is excellent, and does not feel like a debut whatsoever.

There are many difficult themes in this book (recommended that readers check content warnings). They are told with a level of dry humor that they don't feel as impactful as they would normally. The topics aren't being made light of, and the reader is still left feeling uncomfortable.

It took me quite some time to get into this book, kept picking it up and putting it down. The true mystery plot doesn't kick in until 30% (ish), and it felt like a bit of a slog to get there. I would recommend this book to those who prefer a slower read and to be fully immersed in the setting and characters of the story they are reading. If you are looking for a mystery that will grab you from page one and not let go - this isn't it. But if you are looking for a slow-build mystery with dry wit and honest portrayals of a difficult farm life - this is it.

I am rating this 4 stars for the quality of the storytelling and an excellent debut novel. My personal reading experience was closer to a 3. This is not a reflection of the book and writing but is a reflection of my personal reading preferences.

I am grateful to have received an advance reader copy for free from NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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What an IMPRESSIVE fiction debut from Canadian icon Jann Arden! I was actually quite blown away by how compelling and unputdownable this genre-defying rural domestic family drama was! Told through alternating POVs this story is part mystery, part coming of age tale about three generations of a very dysfunctional family.

It starts off a bit dark, set on a run down farm with a cruel farmer who brutally treats his animals, his wife and his young daughter who herself is badly mistreated. If you can swallow down the dark bits, there is also a great deal of humor, heart, spunky animals and a wide cast of characters you won't help but be able to root for as the truth behind a kidnapping years ago slowly comes to light in the books' final pulse-pounding chapters!

The farm animals play a prominent role in this story and some of my favorite scenes were the ones from their perspectives or that highlighted their insidious acts of vengeance. Great on audio narrated by the author herself with a moving note about just how long she worked on this book and what a labor of love it was to create.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review! I truly enjoyed every minute of this book and will be recommending it highly as one of my favorites of the year!

CW: animal cruelty, child abuse, kidnapping, alcoholism, food addiction, teen pregnancy

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This book was quite a ride!

The Bittlemores are horrible, nasty people in the vein of Roald Dahl's The Twits (only moreso), and sometimes it was hard to read about just how cruel and violent they could be. But then there are the two gutsy girls they raised (and their quirky, supportive friends), plus the Charlotte's Web-esque barn animals who love them. I couldn't help but root for them all.

The story was in turns horrifying, charming, sad, and funny. I think this one will certainly get lots of people talking!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read a digital ARC in advance of publication.

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As much as I love Jann Arden, her debut novel just wasn’t for me. The animal abuse was hard to swallow, and I felt the book was hard to follow. I’m sure it will work for some!

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I received this as an arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I want to first say I probably wouldn’t have requested this book had I known all of the trigger warnings. Miscarriage and animal death and abuse are high on the list of topics I tend to try to steer clear of. I appreciate that this is written by Jann Arden who is an outspoken and tireless advocate for animal welfare and I appreciate all she does for animals. Arden is an inspiration to anyone working on eating and living in a more humane way. I do feel not everyone needs to/can/should read about the cruelty of farming in this way.

This is Little House on the Prairie meets Animal Farm meets Watership Down meets Jann’s excellent, larger than life wit. There are huge chunks of this novel that I enjoyed reading where I can 💯 envision Jann reading this book out loud. She’s brilliant at funny banter and obviously, she’s enormously empathetic. I can also envision who her audience is and I know there are plenty of people who will really enjoy this book about the realities of farm life in this quickly changing environment of ours.

I do agree with other reviewers that the book PR blurb needs some tweaking.

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I enjoyed reading this book. It had a good story to it. I liked the variety of characters. It is a good debut novel by Jann. I also like Jann's non -fiction books too.

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The Bittlemores are terrible people and this fabulous book tells us all about them!
It is like reading a modern fairy tale with very very bad people, some ok people and some cows who can talk to each other and one cow who can spell, out loud, well in the dirt.
I must admit that I was slightly put off by the threat of talking cows but they don’t talk to humans, just to each other which is much more doable for me as a reader.
The story is funny, brutal, heartwarming and full of fascinating characters, some you would share a drink with and some you don’t want to share a town with.
I will be recommending The Bittlemores to our patrons.

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Jann Arden creates vivid characters of the Bittlemores in her first novel, named after the odious pair. Mr. and Mrs. B are the owners of a rundown farmstead who, in between tormenting their daughter, granddaughter and various farm animals, are busy hiding shocking secrets about their past. Despite the skilled characterization and clear prose, the different elements of the story didn't fully mesh for this reader. The shifts between the grim descriptions of the Bittlemore's lives to the first-person narration that felt more suited to a YA novel to the magical realism on the farm were somewhat jarring at points. Still, I enjoyed the story and look forward to reading more of Arden's work.

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