Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Review of the Day: Behind the Scenes at the Museum

Kate Atkinson won the 1995 Whitbread (Costa) Book of the Year Award for her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, before going on to write seven more books, so far, including the popular Jackson Brodie mystery series.

In Museum, the precocious narrator Ruby Lenox takes us behind the scenes of the museum of her family history, starting with the very moment of her conception. Interleaved between the chapters of Ruby’s biography are lengthy “footnotes” that provide the story of earlier generations, back to Ruby’s great-grandmother.

This is a book about parents, children, sisters, love, marriage, infidelity, war, death, pets and the general hodgepodge of family life. Ruby is a beguilingly effervescent narrator, finding humor in the darkest cubbyholes of her family’s past and, eventually, finding her own place in the family gallery.


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  1. I've never read any of Atkinson's work, but I know a lot of people love her Jackson Brodie series.

  2. sounds like a winner! great review. :-)

  3. I read this years ago and keep meaning to read another of her novels...

  4. I walked outside and was prompted to write this morning...If anyone wants to follow my prompt, check it out here:

    Also, RoseCityReader, I came across a fabulous site of which you may or may not be aware: I found it through Should Be Reading's blog, which I found through you! Anyway, it's a site made for book-lovers.


  5. Bermuda -- I have Case Histories, the first of the Brodie series, loaded into my iTunes library. I am soooooooo looking forward to it after this one.

    Marie -- Thanks! It was a thoroughly entertaining book.

    JoAnn -- Now that I read her first, I want to red them all. I am going to make her one of my authors I keep track of on my blog.

    Michele -- I'll go visit to see what inspired you. Since I have two workers building drywells in my yard, looking outside just makes me cranky today!

    I love LibraryThing! It was LT that got me reviewing books, which lead me to start this blog. Confusingly, my user name on LT is "ggchickapee" because I hadn't come up with Rose City Reader back then. I don't know how to or if I can change it. Did you join? What is your user name?

  6. One of my favourite all-time books. Ruby is a wonderful characterisation, and it was great to read to the end and find her let off the hook. Kate Atkinson justifiably made her name with this book and has continued to be a fine author

  7. Tom -- Thanks for visiting. Yes, the end was most satisfying. It made me go back and mull over the story from a different angle.


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