Tuesday, 19 July 2016

WHAT TIM KNOWS by Wendy Janes

4.5 out of 5 stars

Six short stories, stand-alone outtakes from a novel

On Amazon UK HERE
On Amazon.com HERE
On Goodreads HERE

It was so hot this afternoon that reading some easy-read short stories was all I felt fit for, and these fitted the bill perfectly.  They're outtakes and glimpses into the back stories of characters from Wendy Jane's novel, What Jennifer Knows, which I haven't read yet, so I can safely say that they stand completely alone from it.  I imagine that anyone who has enjoyed the novel will love to read these, and I'd recommend them even if you haven't.

Like all short story collections they vary in quality, but I'm happy to say that the only variation was from pleasantly readable to one of them which I thought was a masterpiece... I'll get to that!  

The stories do not have twists in the tale or neat denouements; at times they're more like sketches, but as I read on I saw how they all tied up, loosely, which I liked very much.

I had three favourites: The Never Ending Day, about poor Sue who had just had a baby and felt as though she hadn't got a clue what to do, and never would have; I know nothing of parenthood but her despair was so well drawn I lived it with her, and the gaping chasm between her and her awful husband made me want to weep for her.   The second one I liked a lot was The Perfect Family, about fourteen year old Blythe, an only child, who goes on holiday with the big, noisy family she envies, only to discover that being part of such a group is not all she'd thought it was....

....which leads me to the title story, What Tim Knows, which is far and away the best.  It's told through the eyes of eight year old Tim, who is at his first children's party.  I soon realised that he's autistic; I know Wendy Janes has involvement with the Autistic Society, and this story shows such insight, whilst being touching, sad and funny, all at once.  It's worth getting the book for this story alone, a terrific piece of writing - big round of applause, Author!


  1. Terry, thank you so much for reading and reviewing my book - especially on such a hot and sticky day! I'm so pleased you enjoyed the collection. Really interesting to hear which ones are your three favourites, and I'm thrilled by your response to Tim's story. I'm one happy author. :)

  2. What a fabulous idea to create short stories around your characters. I think this would be an ideal holiday read - dip in and out around sightseeing and sweating! Great review, Terry x

    1. Thanks, Shelly. I really enjoyed capturing significant moments in the lives of my characters. I hope readers will enjoy dipping in. Sometimes we're in the mood for a long read, and other times a shorter read fits the bill.

  3. This looks very much up my street I've put it on my tbr list.

    1. Thank you, Jenny. I hope you enjoy the stories. Do let me know what you think, and whether you have any favourites.

  4. Thanks Terry. I have a copy in my Kindle but you've pushed it up my list for sure. :)