Suicide Notes – Michael Thomas Ford *****

I don’t belong here…

When 15 year old Jeff wakes up in a strange place, he’s sure that he’s actually in Hell. As he begins to remember the events of New Years eve he is horrified to find out that he is actually in a psychiatric unit after what everyone believes was a suicide attempt. While Jeff tries to convince everyone around him that he’s not crazy and avoid  his therapist ‘Cat Poop’ he realises that it’s going to be a long time until he gets out.

I was given this novel by a friend of mine as a birthday present and when she said it made her laugh I remember not quite understanding how a novel with that title could be funny? You may think that a book about a suicide attempt would be very depressing but actually I laughed a lot and absolutely fell in love with Jeff. The key thing is that Ford really got into the head of a fifteen year old boy in denial. Jeff doesn’t believe he has anything wrong with him and by some miracle Ford starts to make you believe it too, even though you know something is wrong.

The novel deals with more issues than just a suicide attempt the ideas of acceptance, mental illness, the break down of relationships, death and so much more really stand out. Although Ford makes you laugh, it is because of this that when things do go wrong your heart  breaks into a million pieces. I remember texting my friend Jess almost in tears at points or in absolute shock because the great thing about Ford is that he doesn’t make things obvious. He doesn’t have a bunch of kids on a psychiatric ward depressed or screaming, he seems to understand what reality is like. He portrays these characters as real people, people who have ups and downs in their lives and just need a little more help.

As someone who is so involved in how mental illness is portrayed I was pleasantly surprised, compared to other novels I have reviewed (such as The perks of being a wallflower ) I found the plot to be believable. Nobody wants to believe they are ill and everyone tried to make the best out of a bad situation, just like Jeff and the others on the ward do. It may seem like I’m gushing but this novel really is something else. In my opinion it is more the fact that even when Jeff is on the ward he still sees the others as ‘crazy’ even though they’re all in the same boat. There is also stigma from some of the staff who see the kids as crazy it really is an eye opener as to how we view mental illness. Even I flinch away from the thought of someone being hospitalised for a mental illness and you’d be lying if you said you didn’t too.

I’m giving this novel five stars *****, I’m so glad my friend gave it to me and I’ll treasure it always. It has a great message, deals with things that people don’t want to talk about and has brilliant twists an turns. I urge all of you to give it a try, I’m not saying it wont be upsetting at points but the laughs balance it out.

Review by Chloe F Metzger

Friendsday Wednesday!

Today has very much been a day about friends and I really didn’t expect that. I’ve woken up happier and felt calmer today, I’m finally starting to beat my illness I think. My low days are getting further apart and if they happen I’m working on dealing with them. As part of it I try to go out or do something at least twice a week, usually on student night. Today alcohol wasn’t included it did include, however… 

Nandos! 

A lovely meal out with friends and meeting some new ones, the food wasn’t fab but the laughs and company was well worth it. Thank you to Bekkie, Jess, Emily, Liv, Rhys and Olly for a great time! 🙂

 

 

A bus driver who thought he was in Fast and Furious….

 

 

A lovely thank you note and gift from my flat-mate for taking out the rubbish! 

 

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And although I don’t have a picture for it  lovely conversation with my friend Gurdeep! 

 

As you can tell I haven’t gone out drinking this week (although the rest of my halls definitely have!) but I’m not really missing it, it’s fun sometimes but after going out every Wednesday and Friday for 2/3 weeks it gets a bit boring! Next week I’m hoping to see a film with the lovely Amy! Keep an eye out for some more ‘Amy moments’!

 

Others of my kind – James Sallis

Jenny Rowan has spent years re-building her life. After being kidnapped at the age of eight by a paedophile and kept under his bed for two years, she finally managed to break free and ends up living in her local mall. It takes 18 months for the urban legend of ‘mall girl’ to be found and placed in the state care system after she can’t even remember her real name. We meet Jenny yeas later after she’s built herself a life an career until her past starts catching up with her. 

Although I fell in love with Sallis’s style and generally the way he writes I didn’t really understand the meaning of the novella. It was as if there were so many avenues that Sallis could have taken and so many unanswered questions remained at the end. The story moves quite quickly and you can generally assume that this is building up to a key part of the story. It wasn’t until after I finished I realised that there isn’t a  huge moment in this novel, instead, the plot actually seems to reflect the personality of the protagonist. 

I found the character of Jenny to be sweet but I don’t feel like I really knew her throughout the novel. The changes were almost too quick and despite knowing her back story the reader doesn’t have a relationship with her. The novel doesn’t focus on Jenny’s past, which although others say is one of the perks I found quite disappointing. I also didn’t understand the relationship between Jenny and Jack, it didn’t really make sense to me. They just seemed to be thrown together and get on instantly, it didn’t seem real or likely. As did Jenny’s relationship with Cheryl, while it highlighted Jenny’s open and caring nature, this also seemed rushed. That said Jenny’s empathy for the squatters was what, for me, showed her as the ‘good person’ she is described as on the back of the book. 

 Overall I enjoyed the short story and it was interesting but it could have done with more suspense and what I believe to be more reality. I’m going to give this 3 stars ***, I did enjoy it but I found it difficult to follow. For example Sallis also brings in some sort of political agenda, one which I struggled to understand. While it relates to Jenny’s past I wish it had added more suspense rather than just being there as an issue and a link. 

 

Review by Chloe F Metzger 

Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

When Renée Zellweger first clambered onto our screens in 2001 in her too short skirt and big knickers the world fell in love with her. In relation to many of us trying to hold on to New Year’s resolutions I thought Bridget would be a brilliant idea as I planned out my reviews. In essence this novel just proves how NOT to write New Years resolutions. When the novel was published back in 1996 it was claimed to be outstanding and represent 30 some-things everywhere.

First of all I want to say that is I ever become as irritating as book Bridget someone needs to give me a big slap and tell me to get a grip. While I anticipated a character similar to the kick ass character that the films provided us with I was incredibly disappointed. Instead of a woman who was funny, charming and made as many mistakes as a normal woman the reality of Bridget Jones was quite the opposite. Fielding has in fact given us a woman who whines constantly, does nothing to change her life and drinks a lot. I actually found the character to be a little insulting constantly bitching about how fat and stupid she is, it felt like a sexist man could be writing it! I just wanted to shout at her get over yourself! Get on with life!

As I plodded on throughout the novel there were a few points where it picked up but not because of the brilliant humour. I may sound like I am being harsh but trying to finish the book made me quite miserable. Bridget just seemed to be jealous of what she calls the ‘smug marrieds’ and then ridicules them, apart from when she thinks that she has met her own Mr Right. Of course you want her to meet someone and get a better job ect but for me it wasn’t so that she was ‘finally happy’ it was so that she would stop moaning and sulking about life.

Overall I give this novel one star *, I was bored throughout the whole thing and found Bridget to be insanely irritating as I read through. That said I am intrigued about the next book, simply to see how that compares to the film itself, but I don’t know if I could stand to read another novel like this. My advice to you all is stick to Renee, Colin and Hugh, they’ll give you a lot more entertainment.

Review by Chloe F Metzger

The Little Bookworm is 2 years old today!

I’m aware I’ve been very quiet in 2014 so far but today is my second anniversary of running his blog and I am so grateful to each and every one of you who click on this blog to read! I have a good number of books to review from now so keep your eyes peeled!!