This morning when I sat down at my desk I realised something, most of my reviews I have written have had an extremely high rating or an extremely low one. I wanted to just mention that this isn’t because I believe that a book is either great or awful, I can see the grey in between but I chose my books with great care. Call it a novel instinct but I give quite a lot of thought into the novels I read 90% of the time, well this is after I couldn’t afford to walk into bookshops and just pick whatever I wanted off of the shelf without taking money out of my university savings.

A great way to combat this goes to you my lovely readers although I still have a room full of books to read (and a kindle full as well) I am always on the look out for new material. So if you come across anything interesting please do not hesitate to leave a message on the blog or tweet me @chloemetzger , I really do want to hear from all of you guys ūüôā

 

Thanks again for your continued support

Chloe

 

Words, a poem

 

Words how I hate you

and I love you 

How I dream of you,

and I curse you.

 

What! 

what do you really give me 

without tools. 

How can I be taken seriously with 

Simple.

Pathetic.

Words.

 

but what am I without you?

My happiness,my joy surrounds you

but I am sure I must give you 

a friend. 

 

Words I love you and I despise you 

By Chloe Metzger

 

This poem was inspired by two things, one having writers block this time portraying my anger when I was trying to write a song and had nothing, I felt useless that all I had to offer were these words and I couldn’t even get them in order. It was also inspired by Edward Thomas’ poem, also called ‘Words’ which spoke of his love for words, a love he could not express for anything else.¬†

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sisters Keeper – Jodi Picoult

If you haven’t heard of this brilliant book I would like to ask you which rock you have been living under recently so I can go and destroy it then cover you in brilliant books! I read this long before the stupid film with Cameron Diaz that completely ruined the plot line ( I have heard how it ends, it’s wrong and ruins the brilliance of the novel itself).

As most of you already know from reading my blog I absolutely adore Jodi Picoult novels (although as with most authors there are a few that I wasn’t so keen on but I do have more than 15 Jodi Picoult novels on my bookcase), the brilliance of them you ask? The shock that Picoult seems to place so effortlessly,the questions she puts to us that we think about for days afterwards. What would I do?, how would I cope?, who is really the victim and who is the villain? I beg you please do not let the hollywood glamour and screen writers ‘visions’ blur your perceptions of this fantastic novel, a novel that I could not put down, nor could many people I know.

In 1990 the Fitzgerald family was just like any other American family, Firefighter Brian his lawyer turned mother wife Sara, son Jesse and daughter Kate. Little did they know that two-year old Kate was about to be diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, and the little girls chances of survival are slim. After treatment after treatment and brother Jesse failing to be a match to give her the bone marrow she desperately needs, so at a passing comment from a Doctor Sara begs her husband to have IVF to have another baby, a baby who is a perfect match for Kate, to help her sister. However Picoult has gone further than that she wants the reader to know that this baby will be loved,

‘What do you hope for this baby in ten years’

‘I hope I can tell her to stop bugging her sister’

Flash forward and 13 year old Anna has had enough,after constant,painful and tedious hospital treatments to save Kate she doesn’t want to watch her sister die but she can’t stand by and miss out on her life, simply for being born.

Now it is not simply one issue that Picoult has dealt with here, I think that is why the families she creates are so realistic. Nobody in them is perfect and as with many families when one person has an illness, it can cause a ripple effect that turns into a tidal wave that has no mercy. Everyone in the world knows that cancer is not simply a one person illness, families are torn down to the foundations and often learn about each other. By using Julia and Campbell, you can also see an outside perspective and their stories entwined with the Ftizgerald families does give you a bit of a distraction although not completely as Picoult has seamlessly combined these stories into the same breath and complimented real life. The message seeming to be we all have demons but not all of them are as clear-cut to see.

The one thing you will notice in the fist few pages is that we are not clear on who the speaker is, with this ambiguity and a slight hint of bitterness Picoult draws you in. Who is speaking, who is going to die? I cannot answer these questions for you but once you pick it up I assure you ,you cannot put it down. The relation between sisters Anna and Kate is truly breath-taking they really do seem to lean on each other, but have the usual sisterly relationship of she stole my make up, you are so annoying etc, but it is clear that they do love each other so much. As much as possible Picoult has added the normal family dynamic that you would expect to find within any household. However this is not a normal family, it is shattering left,right and centre and the girls seem to cling to each other, Kate being eternally grateful to her little sister and only wanting the best for her even if it means her own life coming to an end.

The way in which Anna was conceived is also not clear-cut, it does show the whole argument for the ‘designer baby’ debate in a medical sense. Although you do have the love of the sisters and Ana is obviously loved within her family (as is shown in the powerful relationship she holds with her father something that honestly can bring a tear to your eye, because really without her father I think she would have fallen apart), she goes to the extreme of wanting the rights to her own body because in her own words she had ‘never been asked’ if this was what she wanted and for a 13-year-old girl they weight of your sister’s life on your shoulders can be a completely damaging prospect. Are you selfish for wanting to live your own life, even if this kills your sister. Are you selfish for not wanting to give away your kidney, meaning the chance that you may have to give up the possibility of ¬†your own children and the sport you love, because of what you were born to do? On the flip side, Kate’s mother is fighting so hard and has been for so long to make sure that Kate stays alive she seems to forget that both of her daughters, even Kate might want to say enough is enough, I can’t do this anymore. It is heartbreaking that this mothers love is being tested loosing any of her babies is killing her but this does not make her a bad person or mother, it simply shows the hardships of the situation she is faced with and as the catchphrase on Picoult’s novels says ‘What would you do?’ many of us couldn’t even imagine.

Throughout the novel,you just want to hug Jesse and this shows the true extent of the damage of any illness on a family. You have a young boy who, without meaning to his parents have ignored. It is interesting though that he is never angry towards or about his sisters. The anger and bitterness he portrays is almost entirely devoted towards the Cancer that is tearing his family apart and partially towards his parents but it is simply because inside he is still that little boy who had to spend christmas with neighbours. The little boy who needed a hug and ultimately the child and man who wasn’t able to save his sister. This is perhaps one of the most haunting parts of the novel, Jesse feels partially to blame and guilt stricken that both of his little sisters are in pain and there is absolutely nothing he can do. So as is the way in some cases he turns to the bad side of life, although never loosing his caring nature (this is shown from his relationship with a homeless man). Jesse is there to represent the outward effect Cancer has, you have someone hooked up to wires and tubes being blasted with chemo but back home you have the rest of the family the people who in cases like Kate’s have to chance their whole life to fit around the cancer.

As for the parents, as I have already touched upon Sara is so human and complex , as is the relationship she has with Brian. There are times when both of them break down,where they fight over the children but he truth of the matter is they really need each other. She needs him so she does not forget who the REAL Sara is, the girl who was once a young lawyer, who could laugh and tease him, to keep the family together while she spends weeks at the hospital with Kate. He needs her because she knows what to do, she knows how to juggle three children, one with a horrific disease, he also need the old Sara to remind him of the life they had and have a glimpse of happiness every now and again.

This is one of the books that you HAVE to read before you die, I believe that it will be considered a classic in the years to come. Of course it gets five stars (as do most of Picoult’s novels although there are some that I got bored with fairly quickly). I cannot tell you all the twists turns and secrets obviously it would ruin the novel itself so go, go now and buy it! (also it helped me pass biology, a credit to Picoults research skills!)

My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Available from all good book retailers and for eBook

Review by Chloe Metzger

The Last Lecture- Randy Pausch

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Imagine if you had one shot before you died to really say goodbye in a way that completely summed up your life and put a mark on the world forever, a legacy you never intended until you were dying? This is the story of Randy Pausch, a hardworking professor who wanted the best for all those around him is diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, the most fatal cancer with a minimal survival rate. By the time Randy received the news of his terminal illness, he had come extremely far in his career but the real tragedy, he was a father to three young children, the youngest being only 18 months old. However this is not really a tear inducing story I almost cried once when he was talking of the special parts of each of his young children, other than that the story is quite funny and an outpour of optimism in its brightest form.

Many people expect the talk to be about dying. But it had to be about living.

I have to say that though out writing this Randy is incredibly honest, he admits that he is and has been flawed. He knows that he is ‘a bit of an acquired taste’, however this does not stop him. A dying man recalling his childhood dreams and how me managed to live out each and every one (except playing professional football but hey we all have the unreachable) and being incredibly grateful to all of them that helped him go over the brick walls that he is so fond of mentioning. There is no pussy footing around anything even in the last lecture he is brutally honest from the first few seconds about ‘the elephant in the room’ putting the audience at ease with a joke about his cancer and secondly his passion to live.

Randy’s working life alone is a strong achievement however it is not this that sets him aside as a person, it’s not that he goes through his life intricately describing his dreams, it is because he tells us who helped him, guided him and success stories that he is proud of. The thing is there is no way that the story is just about him there are so many threads of life he has pulled together and expressed his feelings and gratitude to all these people, some who simply made him appreciate his life. There are so many people I couldn’t dream to list them all, ranging from students who he believed in, to the key to all of Randy’s wisdom, his father who also sadly passed away from cancer but gave him the key attitude he needed

‘We cannot change the cards we are dealt,just how we play the hand’

Although his mother is also mentioned it is clear that Randy’s driving force behind his strength was the deep connection he had with his father, a man who seems to have taught him more than any academic ever could. Another key figure in Randy’s life and the Last Lecture itself is his wife Jai,

‘The most formidable brick wall I ever came upon in my life was just five feet,six inches tall, and absolutely beautiful. But it reduced me to tears, made me reevaluate my whole life and lead me to call my father, in a helpless fit,to ask for guidance on how to scale it. That brick wall was Jai’

The one thing I really wanted to know was how this woman we really coping, Randy makes it obvious she is upset but I just really felt for her so much therefore you can imagine how happy I was to find this article about her book release to match the husband she adored http://abcnews.go.com/US/jai-pausch-lessons-lecture/story?id=16351226#.UD0mc6yF_eY. I cannot express in a  review the love that pours out of each word he speaks about his wife, I must leave that to you, the readers but she is honestly a rock.

Let’s face it we’re all dying, it’s morbid but as soon as anyone is born they are dying but this story, okay at times it is a little too¬†optimistic ( I know it wasn’t the point but I would have liked to have know about some of his hardships and how he really overcame them) but this does send out a great message, life is for LIVING. Maybe not as in the previous novel I reviewed ‘Mums list’, jumping off of things,going diving etc but just doing what you want to do, no I don’t believe it’s possible to be positive all the time but when you are happy enjoy it, remember it. This novel does have something in common with each other, both Kate from ‘Mum’s List’ and Randy wanted to leave something behind for their children, they never wanted to truly leave them, both of them gave permission for the person they loved more than anything to move on and be happy if they wished and they were both incredibly brave.

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Randy with his wife and three children.

For me watching the lecture I know will make me cry straight after reading the book but if you would like to watch, here is the link

I would recommend both reading the book and watching the lecture if you can, simply because it is what Randy himself intended and he has succeeded in leaving something great behind for his children who you can tell that he absolutely adores.
***** 5 stars definitely, the only thing I would change would be well I want more information on Randy as a man suffering with illness but I hope I can get this from his wife’s book ‘Dream New Dreams: Reimagining my life after loss’ which tells her side to the story and I think will team up to be a brilliant read.

I have lived a thousand years- Livia Bitton Jackson

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I read this novel a while ago when I was quite young, after a period of fascination regarding the survivors of the holocaust and reading their stories. After the normal textbook reading of Anne Frank (which at that age did not capture me as much as this memoir, surprisingly) this was a complete shock, I warn you now this is not easy reading as with many of the survivors tales (that unfortunately Anne was not able to tell us) the accounts of the horrors of the concentration camps and treatment given by the Nazi scum.

Elli¬†Friedmann¬†is just 13 years old when Hungary is invaded, swiftly after her world begins to shatter as her rights are taken away, simply for being a¬†Jewish¬†child her new bicycle is to be given away before the family is moved to a ghetto. ¬†It is in the ghetto that we are shown a darker side to live, living under the watch of armed guards, with little food and all¬†possessions¬†taken away but this is the least of Elli’s worries when the men start to be taken away to labour camps, it is soon after that her father is also taken. Elli never saw him again, and was separated from everyone but her mother in the move to¬†Auschwitz¬†concentration¬†camp.

What makes the story even more remarkable is the pure luck that Elli has that makes it possible for her to survive. Her ‘Golden hair’ making it possible for her to slip through the net and not be sent straight to a gas chamber, not being shot in line up, being able to pass onto the cart despite her mothers ill health and her badly injured leg.

We survived the entry into Auschwitz. Unknowingly, we survived the selection of the diabolical Dr¬†Mengele, the handsome psychotic monster who had tenderly stroked my ‘golden hair’ and in a kindly voice advised me to double-cross his SS machinery and lie about my age to save my life.

It is also her courage and faith that carried both her and her mother forward despite being in the worst of situations and living through the horrors of Auschwitz (the descriptions are frankly quite disturbing but should be read never the less!). The most shocking and horrific comes after liberation is beginning across Germany (although the prisoners are not aware of this), Elli watches as peoples faces are torn away by bullets, people are shot around her and a small baby is murdered by a guard in a most brutal way. Perhaps the most heartbreaking however is the passage which is when Elli is finally free 

‘We didn’t know anything. We had no idea. You must believe me. Did you have to work hard also?’
‘Yes’ I whisper.
‘At your age, it must’ve been difficult.’
At my age. What does she mean? ‘We didn’t get enough to eat. Because of starvation. Not because of my age.’
‘I meant, it must have been harder for the older people.’
For older people? ‘How old do you think I am?’
She looks at me uncertainly. ‘Sixty? Sixty-two?’
‘Sixty? I am fourteen. Fourteen years old.’
She gives a little shriek and makes the sign of the cross. In horror and disbelief she walks away, and joins the crowd of German civilians near the station house.
So this is liberation . It’s come.
I am fourteen years old, and I have lived a thousand years.

¬†However from this there is some¬†happiness, against all odds Elli’s brother¬†Bubi¬†survives too and mother and children are reunited, a dream that could of so easily been taken away. There is also some beauty in the way that Elli and her mother become so close and reliant of each other, the development of the bond is amazing. The thing about this story is that it begins so normally, as with Anne Frank, Elli is¬†just¬†a normal young teenager enjoying her life but within a year she must grow up so quickly and forget childish things and focus all her energy and strength into survival.¬†
 
I would¬†recommend¬†this book to anyone. Although I said there are horrors as a¬†squeamish¬†person I only found one bit really hard to read, and the best part is there are no pictures. The thing is with these types of stories they have to be read no matter how¬†unpleasant¬†parts of them are. This is a real story of someones life and we cannot just ignore it this is history this our worlds history. The holocaust was a terrible thing, but just because of that we cannot forget it for the futures sake¬†as well¬†as to honour all of¬†those¬†who were murdered. Many would call this the story that Anne Frank could never tell but I think we must read it in it’s own light and give the author full credit for their own masterpiece born out of tragedy and pain.¬†
 
***** 5 stars definately! 

I have lived a thousand years РLivia Bitton Jackson 

Simon &¬†Schuster¬†Children’s; New edition edition (5 Jun 2000)

Available from both good bookstores and online

Working the day away!!

As most of you will be aware, when your a student you are incredibly lucky if you don’t have to find a job to fit in around your studies. If you do find one you have the dilemma of fitting everything in (sometimes with ease but in exam time with great difficulty), I’m writing to you from the office of one of my two jobs, I’ll admit I’m really lucky to have this job not only is it quite flexible but I have really nice bosses who understand college commitments and are willing to find a way to work around them so I can do both.¬†

I know however from previous job (I cannot name them, I wish I could but they might try and get me done for slander), who treated me quite badly,I had crap hours and the people weren’t that great and sadly I know so many people who have to struggle with college because their bosses couldn’t care less if they have a huge exam the next morning. I was lucky that in my old job my tutor wanted to contact them because of how tired I was, he didn’t in the end but it was nice that someone in education actually cared and wanted to do something.¬†

I have friends who work every week (like me) and others who just work the holidays others don’t work at all. Honestly though I think that once you’ve found a part time job you enjoy the money will just be an added bonus. However, once I’m at university I think it will be more of a struggle as I wont be able to get a regular job at uni as I have commitments at home but hopefully I can work my old job in the holidays (which after doing my research I’ve found out they are insanely long!) and hopefully get by.¬†

You might have clicked on and thought why the hell is she boring us with all of this. The answer? it’s because we are students, we go to college and university in the hope of one day getting a better job. You might not know what you want to do, or you might know and you cant get much experience in that field yet but if you have the time why not maybe go get some work experience,become a tutor, do something (like a blog or sound cloud) to build up your uni stuff, work on your CV. Don’t just work work work but don’t just become the stereotype of a ‘lazy student, trust me so many people think we are!! Go out there do something and maybe earn a bit of cash at the same time!¬†

List of  possible things to do if you have nothing to do for the summer: 

1. Start a blog or a project for yourself

2. read your reading lists

3. If your not bothered about money do some volunteer work, not all volunteer work is in a charity shop!

4. Do something really exciting that you’ll always remember¬†

5. Refresh CV’s and start handing them out (Christmas temp interviews are in September usually!)

There’s just some ideas I came up with,

Hope everyone is enjoying the summer , thanks for reading as always! ūüėĬ†

Chloe 

 

 

The women I feel sorry for

Sorry boys this is more of a girls post this time! I’ve realised something lately, a load of my friends and people I know (more than you could imagine) are getting pregnant,finding themselves pregnant, have just popped out a sprog,getting engaged or married. I’m 17.

Now people can do what they like I can’t tell them what to do but it is starting to worry me, I know more girls with babies than I know who are going to university and I really don’t understand why, not why theyve had a baby but why they arn’t striving to not just be a mother? Now by the title of this post your going to assume I feel sorry for them, I don’t they make their own choices and nearly all of them that I know are happy. It’s the girls like me or actually who are worse than me I feel sorry for the ones who don’t want children yet and feel guilty openly saying it. If your from an older generation you may read this and go this is madness why would she feel guilty it’s the 30 something women who feel the heat. No,no it’s just as bad to be young and uninterested in children apparently!¬†

Work this out, I’m 17 years old in a fully committed 4 year relationship, happy and content. There is no ring on my finger, the only chance of anything in my belly is last nights dinner which may result in a food baby but that’s about it. Before you wrongly assume I just don’t like children and am a committed feminist which is why I’m not engaged can I point out that you are wrong. I love my little cousins,my sister, my goddauughter and other friends children, I work with children for crying out loud! As for getting engaged, at 17? Ali doesn’t even have a proper job we are poor students so like hell could he afford my engagement ring! I kid, I kid it’s up to him how and when that happens I’d love to marry him but in a few years time getting engaged, maybe we’ll see when he asks me.

So why if we are happy do we find ourselves in the middle of a never ending war with our friends and family? Half of which asking when we will be getting engaged or thinking of having children (the former rather than the latter at the moment), the other half forbidding us to even think about it. I like winding both sides up its amazing fun ūüėõ On a serious note however I am a normal girl, I’ve been with a guy a long time and I do get thoughts of getting married and what our children may look like BUT I AM SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD AND NOT EVEN OUT OF COLLEGE. We sit and paddle in our little boat happy just to have each other, not that I think getting engaged would change anything really, we’re moving in together in two years isn’t that enough?¬†

Which leads me on to think of the women who want to be career women and mothers (which can be done) or the women who simply do not want a child, how do you think they feel with people nagging at them constantly. Like Carrie from Sex and the City ( I was a fan of the 2nd movie and thats about it), she’s confronted with the dilemma of the shocked faces of a couple at a wedding when she explains she wont be having children. Really it isn’t fair, but even I have been guilty of it but some women just dont want it and some don’t want it YET.¬†

So girl do what you want to do make your choices but if you do decide to have children, go to uni (or do both) just remeber some people are going to wait…but not forever.¬†

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