Just a quick note!!

Just letting you guys know I’ll be offline for the week but I’ll be back next week with a good few reviews! Thank you for all the hits its really made me smile this week!

Happy Summer everyone!
xx

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Mum’s List – St John Greene with Rachel Murphey

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Whatever book you are reading at the moment stop. now. Go out and buy yourself a copy of this book or you will regret it, it is honestly the most beautiful piece of literature I have ever read.

Mum’s List was created by Kate Greene, at the age of just 38 she passed away sadly from breast cancer, fun, life-loving, vibrant Kate was always one step ahead of the world. When her husband Singe (St John) asks her ‘What if you leave me’ Kate begins to tell him things that he must do, to stop him forgetting they decide to write a list ‘just in case’ although it comes across that Kate knew all along that she must put things in order and sort out her beloved childhood sweetheart and strong sons before she had to leave them behind. People mistake this for a list of rules it is not, it is Kate’s way of trying to ensure her boys, all three of them, live their lives the best way possible (including the selfless act of telling Singe to find another wife) and to the full even if it is without her. Kate is smart, practicle and thinks of every detail after she is gone, any cynics who declare that this was not the real Kate I beg to differ there are people who are happy sunbeams when faced with the worst, I hope that from this I become a little more like her.

The tale of Kate and Singe, is terrifically romantic and that makes it all together even more heart-breaking. At the tender age of just 14 Kate sets her sights on the older Singe at a roller disco and makes up her mind that he is her man and she wont stop until she gets what she wants, even if he is five years older. It is not until she is 16 Since decides that he can date her (partially because of the 5 year age gap), the two of them sound like star crossed lovers after the fights between Kate and her parents and them banning their only daughter from seeing a lunatic with a motorcycle. To a cynic all of this seems terribly over the top, but believe me childhood sweethearts do happen, I am one its a brilliant thing to have and you treasure it every day.

The novel splits between Singe present day trying to get through life and care for their two young sons alone and his memories of his beautiful energetic life and the thrilling times they have reflecting their motto ‘If your not living life on the edge then your a waste of space”. It is shown again and again throughout the book although Kate’s life was cut short it was no way a waste she lived every single moment to the full skiing,diving,laughing,being a mother, catching butterflys, being encaptured in nature. Although of course the novel is sad and you honestly feel the pain and worry of singe you also feel the warmth spreading through your finger tips when you read a memory or read how well the boys are doing you almost want to jump around that they are capable of moving on.

I couldn’t put this down it really does capture you you have to read it whenever you get the chance it is that addictive. It gives you Kate’s list too and some things are simple just to remind the boys of things that mummy liked  like orange club bars and her sons you ask? These little lads went through so much, although some would criticise that they are spoilt after Kate’s death (one point Singe raises in the book) however for both boys they have survived so much. At just 18 months old after the little happiness they shared (even after Kate struggles to get pregnant at all) Reef becomes dangerously ill, as time quickly passes and with no diagnoses the little boy gets sicker and sicker, Kate discovers she is pregnant much to her surprise after she came off of her fertility drugs. However when Kate is 7 months pregnant they get the news that little Reef has a large tumor in his abdomen, his chances of survival are 8% and he has days or weeks to live, this causes a premature labour for Kate, Finn is born incredibly early. At this point both Singe and Kate fear they are going to lose both of their sons in this nightmare they have walked in to.  It is through the novel that we learn after Kate’s death Reef gets the all clear, however he was still left slightly disabled in one leg. During the treatment Kate had wished

I wish we could switch places…If I could be there instead of Reef I would be.

However it is also repeated throughout the novel that

I had so much optimism that Kate would survive… Reef was meant to die  and survived and Kate was suppose to survive and died

It is Singes optimism that breaks your heart, as well as the boys just being generally sweet children, it was only months after Reef was clear of his treatment Kate found a lump in her breast and aggressive form of cancer that killed her extremely quickly. Despite the saddness I cried once at the end of Chapter one (and this is me!) and when I watched the ITV interview, proving there is so much happiness in this book.

I learnt one thing from this novel, live your bloody life because no one is going to do it for you! Live it how you want to, I wouldn’t do dangerous things but that’s just me but I have my own list, things I want to do with my life and the story of Kate and how much she loved her sons( Her saying was Acres and Acres being her saying and ‘Kiss the boys twice at night after I’m gone’ being at the top of her list proves this), her passion and love for her husband, has made me want to go out and live, and also raise money for cancer awareness.

Please watch the interview too it will make it more real http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8lGXXF6neQ

I would give this 6 billion stars if I could

***** Mum’s List – St John Greene

from any decent retailer

Penguin £6.99

As a side note to reflect, too many people are affected by Cancer, lets beat it not be afraid of it.

RIP

Margaret ❤

Spencer ❤

50 shades of grey……or not.

I decided that I would jump in on the whole 50 shades of grey thing…I wonder why I even bothered to pick it up. Alas you have found a review that doesn’t kiss the backside of 50 Shades of Grey.

In relation to a blog I posted about a month ago, I believe that you know if you will enjoy a book after a few chapters. So I pick up my mums copy and have a flick through the first part I come to (knowing nothing of the story may I add) and I came across a sex part (turns out it was the first time they have sex) and my god it was so badly written and as for the sex pftt it made the woman look like and idiot and the ‘amazing’ Mr Grey sound like a complete and utter pervert one of the lines I believe was ‘your hair looks so young in these’ as he pulls at her bunches (which lead me to believe she was still in school). She gets all pleased she can give a blow job and then he’treats her’. Come on for goodness sake!! 

I hated the way it was written so I started from the beginning (I mean it wasn’t exactly a cheat knowing that they were going to have sex was it?), I thought why not there must be something good about it. Nope, the main character Ana was rather pathetic, a girl who ‘never fit in’ with a beautiful outgoing best friend, boo hoo. So how old do you my lovely readers think this persona is, 15, 16? Nope you guessed it wrong she is graduating american college, our equivalent of uni!!! She’s just so unreal, so inoocent and comes across as pathetic. Oh and how about the little rich boy who has a dangerously kinky side…please give me a break!! 

I know this has been a rather harsh review but I really couldn’t stand it, the writing was awful and the characters boring!!!

Sorry folks! 

I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them. Anne Rice

The L-Shaped Room – Lynee Reid Banks

Hello again!

Thank you so much for the brilliant response to my previous entry (despite a few spelling errors,gulp), I was quite shocked and so happy! Please continue reading! For my next few entries there may be a slight re occurring theme, I apologise in advance but I have just started some really exiting new parts of college. In English Literature we are studying literature from the 1960’s (so far I am not impressed) and I have started an  Extended Project Qualification in English I’m looking into texts regarding the civil rights movement in America and the perception of young black women (title TBC). So I have ordered a great many texts as well as the obvious, To kill a mocking bird – Harper Lee, The colour purple-Alice Walker, I know why the caged bird sings- Maya Angelou. I have found some other gems In search of our mothers gardens by Alice Walker and Their eyes were watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (I can’t quite remember the name of the author off of the top of my head).

So we had a choice of four novels we could study as part of our coursework ‘texts through time’, we could choose from The L-Shaped Room (as you can see was my choice), Lonely Londoners (Diction similar to The colour purple, and I found the opening couldn’t grab me), Room at the top (I wanted to severely hurt the protagonist simply from the way he spoke, I later watched the film and hated the character even more -.-) and Lucky Jim (couldn’t stand the story line seemed rather boring and was based on the life of Larkin, at this moment in time I cannot stand Phillip Larkin or his damn poetry).  Can I also say before I start this review can I say that the synopsis of the film I have read is completely and utterly straying from the plot of the novel as in this review http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/440753/synopsis.html

The novel begins with young Jane a girl in her twentys who is trying to live her dream of being an actress, despite the disapproval of her father (although in Janes view she had been under the burden of his disapproval and disappointment since her birth which killed her mother). After a violent and rather dramatic fight over the love of an actor Jane is left scarred and embarrassed, wanting to hurt the ‘queer’ that did this to her, even though she knows that he needs her support and forgiveness she turns and coldly leaves the company to get a job in a cafe. It is after this we see Jane’s survival instinct and guts kick in she stays and works her way up and through the job (Reid Banks finally portraying a young and strong women in the bleakness of the 1950’s ‘perfect house-wife’ image). Later Jane meets again with the young actor, a man who gives her more than the one night of passion she bargained for, the loss of virginity is terrible for both of them, he later leaves her for a job in Paris. After working her way up through a secretarial job,again in this situation we see that Jane is not simply a passive and quiet young women she will stand up for herself in a mans world a technique we see woven throughout the novel.

After a while Jane suspects she is pregnant, after challenging a doctor it is confirmed that she is indeed pregnant and will not be having an abortion (although it is unclear at this point what her motives are, we can assume it is not from her desperately wanting to be a mother it is more that she doesn’t want to suffer the complications of an abortion at this time). Leading up to the conversation the attitudes around Jane do represent the ways of the 1950’s and the attitude towards an unmarried woman, however after this Reid Banks seems to detach from reality and have a rather fantasy view (possibly a wishful fantasy).

She moves into a shabby flat in Fulham, London determined to make no ties with anyone in the house, not the prostitutes downstairs, the black man next door with his strange smell and mothering ways, the old Biddy downstairs nor the irritable jew. She craves to be alone, without her father for support after he throws her out, she decides to stay alone and miserable. However as time evolves so does she and ends up relying heavily on all of the household especially John (the black man)and Toby (the jewish man). After a while Toby and Jane develop a romantic attraction and John is kind of left out of the story all together ( and is a catalyst to the end of it), it made me extremely angry as not only has Jane gone from a strong-willed young woman to one who must rely on the men around her she also becomes ridiculously love-sick with Toby and the connection with john is completely cut off.

After a fight with Toby he leaves her, desperate and alone Jane again sinks into herself (also ignoring John surprise surprise), after a while she looses her job and leans heavily on John and bumps into the father of her baby again. Long story short there is a lot of people leaving and coming back all the time (it get’s somewhat irritating), Jane does disappear, after nearly having a miscarriage where she finally realises she loves her unborn baby (again without saying goodbye, what is wrong with these people) to her aunts who takes care of her and pays her to type up a manuscript.

I don’t want to completely ruin the ending for you, but I have got some generalised points (below) I was terribly disappointed by the ending and found it difficult to digest as I do know some of the historical background of a woman who found herself in this situation. The novel is terribly unrealistic and does not really set the tone of 1950 Britain for an unmarried mother.

  • Rather unrealistic in the fact that there is so much acceptance and little disapproval of the baby and an unmarried mother
  • Seems to have a rather Disney ending, she is terribly lucky, many women would have gone to ‘mother and baby homes’
  • I don’t think it is made obvious about the dangers of abortion at the time
  • Her father has a miraculous turn around if he had stayed set in his ways this would have portrayed the attitudes in the 1950’s far better!
  • WHY, why make John gay just because he is a caring man?!?!
  • Character of Toby changes to quickly
  • interaction between Toby and the child’s father is slightly pathetic.

So as you can probably guess I did not enjoy this book and may look at another to study for A Level, alas I do not see the 1950’s as a brilliant time for literature, but that is just my own opinion.

 

The L-Shaped Room  *** only 3 stars! Nice for a fairy tale but not for real life.

Lynee Ried Banks

available from amazon.co.uk

bookshops for around £6.99