Monday, 13 July 2015

Review of "The Bitch Goddess Notebook"

It's taken me a long time to decide exactly what to say about this book due to the deep connection I felt to it that almost made me feel utterly reviled (note: I included the above quotation to show you guys how disturbing and saddening the text could be at times, rather than feeling any specific connection to that). If there's anything I'm going to say that is definite about it, it's that it should come with a big fat trigger warning regarding it's content surrounding self-harm. As someone who's seriously suffered with this in the past, I can understand how influential any type of media can be regarding the subject, and the intense description of cutting oneself which the book narrates, as well as praises from the perspectives of the characters narrating the text is a little, well, disturbing. So, although I loved the writing and the plot was very eye-opening, I feel like that needed to be said, as a reader in a more fragile state of recovery may have suffered as a result of this writing.

Meet Rennie, Amy and Cherry: an unlikely trio of best friends at high school. Despite their differences, they couldn't image not being in each others' lives - after all, they have no secrets, right? Girls who stick together, stay together, but words aren't enough to prove a bond, and one night, high on a concoction of goodies, the three form a blood bond, leading to rumours about satanic worship. 

But how long to high-scool friendships last anyway? Interspersed with a narrative from all three girls about their time at school are sections from later on in life, where actions have consequences, and you don't always have your bitch posse to back you up.

Track the tales of troubled teens into their adult lives, and discover what it feels like to be an addict - to drugs, to self-harm, to sex, to drink: how do you recover when it's all you've ever known?

Have you read it? What did you think?

Steph x

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Review of "The Miniaturist"

I find that great books are all about questioning your perspective, Whether it's developing ideas on race, culture, sex, relationships, or merely altering what you focus on in a novel, I love learning new ways to think about things and interpret our world. The Miniaturist questions what it is to be part of an arranged European marriage, and to lose faith in the idea of love within marriage when such a thing is forced upon you. Moreover, it tackles difficult issues facing puritanical society whilst keeping a realistic stance - i.e. whether or not one lives in a purtianical society, people always have and always will "sin", bucking against the norm.

Petronella is excited to finally become a wife to a wealthy merchant, and discover what it is to love and be loved by a man. Nervous about what a connubial bed might hold, at first Nella is relieved by the fact that Johannes, her husband, allows her to sleep alone. But soon she gets anxious: why is he so disinterested that he makes no attempt to seduce her? Does he not like her? Or is there a darker issue somewhere at the heart of their marriage?

In order to appease his new wife, Johannes buys her a dollhouse that is an exact replica of the house they live in. When Nella approaches a merchant in the city in order to gain furniture for the house as Johannes has asked her to do, she realises that the person behind the creation of the miniatures for the house knows a lot more than she should do. How else would she be able to make exact replicas of all the members of the household, and even predict the future? In the end, does it matter more than what is going on in the house itself. Perhaps Nella's insistence on looking into what the miniaturist is doing is simply deviating her attention away from the issues that are about to destroy her house entirely ....

Have you read it? What did you think?
Steph x