April Book Review – Mailbox by Nancy Freund.

Mailbox by Nancy Freund.

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I had never heard of Nancy Freund until I was approached and asked to review this book by the PR Company. I’m aware of the old saying of ‘never judge a book by its cover’ but there was something charming and interesting about this one.

The novel is told from the perspective of a 10 year old girl who upon finding an electric typewriter starts collecting stories and pieces of advice that she experiences and are offered by those around her. As an adult woman you may think that there would be nothing here that could appeal to the mature you, but you’d be wrong. Nancy has managed to perfectly articulate the voice of the young girl, finding the balance between the passion of finding the answers to life

There are moments in the book that are incredibly sweet, for example where Sandy talks about the things she loves about her dog. But then there are moments that were difficult to read and made me feel uncomfortable. For example there was a point where Sandy recalls a day where a friends Uncle asked the girls to get naked and do cartwheels through the hose whilst filming it. Sandy seemed to capture the emotions perfectly, of knowing that something is wrong with this scenario but lacking the full understanding of what exactly is wrong about it. What’s also nice about this novel is the relationship Sandy has with her mum and Aunt, the women seem strong, they’re great characters and I appreciated the way they kept giving Sandy advice and showing her that being a woman means you can be anything you want. Sandy was a great character, with plenty of warmth and wit, I almost wanted to know what happened as she approached her teenage years, but the way the novel ended was quite apt and profound.

Whilst I didn’t know fully what to expect, I wasn’t disappointed. There was something endearing about the character and the stories shared. A great novel which has made me want to read Nancy’s other work and also provided me with plenty of food for thought. I’d recommend this to people who are fans of American literature or coming of age novels.

Mailbox is published by Gobreau Press and is available on the Kindle from Amazon.co.uk RRP £5 and is available in paperback from all good bookshops RRP £12.99

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A Joyful Quick Read

Soppy by Philipa Rice.

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My husband and I finally went on our honeymoon last week. We’ve been debating for a while where we should go, but with our jobs it’s difficult to find the time. As we both love London but have never been for more than a day, or been able to play tourist we decided to go. We booked a nice apartment in Bayswater and spent 4 days and 3 nights in the Big Smoke.

Sadly I will bore you with the full details in a separate blog post but one thing I wanted to share was this cute little graphic novel I picked up. I’d been aware of Philipa Rice in the past but had only seen one or two of her strips via the Internet. So you can imagine my joy when I spotted the book.

Soppy shows the story of a girl meeting a boy and the progression of their relationship as they movie in together. It shows all the little idiosyncrasies that go hand in hand with sharing your love, life and living space with another person. The drawings are loveable but it is the dialogue of the strips that really brings this to life. At so many points I giggled and showed a strip to my husband excitedly whilst uttering the phrase ‘It’s you and me!’ and to my delight he agreed.

Philipa has created something universal with Soppy, it could speak to any couple in any country and it’s a wonderful little treat. It feels all the more special that I found whilst on our Honeymoon. Why not give it a try?

Happy reading my beautiful bookworms.

Georgina

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Reading Challenge 2015 – A Popular Author’s First Book

Book Number Eleven – This Side of Paradise by F.Scott Fitzgerald.

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I know that The Great Gatsby is one of those books that you either love or hate, but for me I adored it. From the moment I read it, I became obsessed with all things Fitzgerald and greedily researched his other work. When it came up in my reading challenge that I had to read the first novel of a popular author, I thought this would be ideal.

I’d never read This Side of Paradise before now and instantly I found that familiar charm and romantic word use that is well known in Francis’ other work. Like his other work we have a charming protagonist by the name of Amory Blaine. A young man who after being raised, predominantly by his mother, in a rather unusual way heads for Princeton in the hope that it will provide him with the answer to his calling in life.

Along the way there are many friends. Philosophies on life, politics and religion are shared and of course there are different girls who touch Amory’s life at various points in his life. The novel is split into three books, and this really allowed me to get a greater understanding of Amory and how he changed and grew as person. But perhaps one of the main themes I took away from the book is desire to find something in life, whether it is the ability to write, or have faith in religion or the shared love of a woman, as human beings we are always searching for that extra thing that we feel will make us whole.

There are some dark elements to the book, when Amory turns to alcohol to numb himself from the painful break up from Isabelle, I found this particularly well written and it comes as no surprise that F.Scott Fitzgerald based it on his own experiences. If you’re hoping to read this novel and feel inspired with romance I’m afraid you will be disheartened. However what you will get is another beautiful novel that perfectly captures the confusion, anger and heartbreak of life when you’re young, trying to find your place in the world and be understood.

‘The early moon had drenched the arches with pale blue, and, weaving over the night, in and out of the gossamer rifts of moon, swept a song, a song with more than a hint of sadness, infinitely transient, infinitely regretful.’

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Star Rating out of 5: 4

Happy reading fellow bookworms.

Georgina

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Reading Challenge 2015 – A Book of Short Stories

Book Number Ten – The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling.

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I realise that there is plenty of choice in the literary world when it comes to short stories but as Harry Potter is one of my favourite series of books ever, I just had to choose this one.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is the magical equivalent of Muggle fairy tales and its further proof of the brilliant mind of J.K. Rowling. There are five stories in here, each with a moral tale of their own. But the most renowned one is ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’ which is mentioned in The Deathly Hallows.

This is a wonderful little novel, which has the ability to ‘speak’ to even Muggles like me, the messages are easy to understand even though they are shrouded in the world of magic. But by far the best thing are the additional notes added by Dumbledore after each story, these add to the love of the character, allow for more understanding of the great Wizard himself and also allow for some small moments of humour.

A joyous little book, which is beautifully presented and illustrated and makes for great ‘add on’ reading as part of the immensely brilliant Harry Potter series.

‘And then he greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, equals, they departed this life.’

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Star Rating out of 5: 5

Happy reading fellow bookworms.

Georgina.

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Reading Challenge 2015 – A Book From Your Childhood

Book Number Nine – Matilda by Roald Dahl.

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When I first sat down and looked at the Reading Challenge, the first item my eyes were drawn to was the ‘book from your childhood’ I remember thinking instantly what book I would choose, I mulled over many options but my memory kept taking me back to many a content afternoon sat reading Matilda.

There’s something really interesting about going back to a book that you read in your younger years, especially a book that was written for children. It’s always interesting to see if you take something else from it, or begin to understand hidden messages that may have been acknowledged but not fully understood by your innocent mind. I have to say I had many moments like this reading Matilda this time round.

I found the novel still had the ability to make me laugh, and there was even something brilliantly nostalgic about the fact that a ‘twelve-inch’ TV was considered a big thing back in 1989. I realised as the book progressed how, as a child, I understood that Miss Trunchbull was a tyrant and that Matilda’s parents didn’t care, but reading it as a 29 year old, I began to see things much clearly.

Now perhaps I am reading too much into it, but Matilda’s parents seem guilty of neglect, they chose to put their own happiness ahead of her own. They provided an awful diet of microwave type meals and found that the TV was the perfect babysitter for both their children. The viewpoint that Mrs Wormwood holds about how a woman should always look well put together and marry a successful businessman smacks of a 1950’s mind set. ‘You chose books and I chose looks!’ This was an era in which women were only viewed as being a wife and a mother and not much else, education and careers were not viewed as of essential importance for women. But it is perhaps the chapter in which Miss Honey tells Matilda her story that I began to fully understand the extent of the abuse Miss Honey must have suffered at the hands of Miss Trunchbull. It is the silence and the unspoken words that seemed to speak volumes to me, and provided me with an uncomfortable feeling. One that I hadn’t really noticed or fully understood as a child.

The ending, although quite happy, was also difficult to read as an adult. As a child I remember thinking that it all turned out ok, Miss Honey recovered what was rightfully hers and Matilda was able to leave her neglectful parents and live with someone who truly loved, respected and nurtured her. But the flippant way in which her parents allow Miss Honey to take guardian ship of her made me feel quite upset. They didn’t even look back, and I found myself wondering what would become of Mike, her older brother.

That being said Roald Dahl wrote something that has stood the test of time, and I still found it thoroughly enjoyable. If anything, reading the book as an adult offered me a chance to feel nostalgic about my own childhood and how wonderful my parents were and are. I thought of the times spent with my beloved and sadly departed father, of how supportive he was of me as a little girl who loved books and literature. It reminded me how fortunate I was to have truly wonderful parents and not the mean, shallow and unsupportive parents that Matilda had. But it also opened my eyes to the dark tones of Dahls work that children, like myself, couldn’t fully comprehend or understand and further supported my belief that Dahl was one of the finest writers of his time, whose work will live on forever. Furthermore, to me, the following caption from Matilda perfectly articulates the beauty and magic of literature and I thought I would share it with you all.

‘The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English Village.’

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Star Rating out of 5: 5

Happy reading my fellow bookworms.

Georgina.

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