Set in a future where girls are taught how to serve and please men, Only Ever Yours is a sharply written portrayal of teenage girls and the role of women in society.
freida and isabel (their names aren’t capitalised in the book) are best friends. They are also eves. They have been created for men and face a life spent living as a companion, a concubine or a chastity.
I’ve linked to some of Roxane Gay’s essays before. Since discovering her work in 2013, she has become one of my favourite essayists. Bad Feminist has been on my to-read list since it was released and the Kindle sale over Christmas provided the perfect opportunity to pick it up.
In parts memoir, reviews, critiques of pop culture, and comments on the state of contemporary feminism Bad Feminist switches between them all in a confident manner that highlights how everything is intertwined.
“I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”
From the opening sentence, the scene is set. Oliver Ryan has hit his wife, Alice, before. On this occasion Alice has been left in coma.
What sort of a man would psychically abuse his wife? This question is at the heart of Unravelling Oliver. As we delve deeper into the life of Oliver Ryan we realise this isn’t an easy question to answer. But then it isn’t in real life either. How many times have we heard variations on “man of good character” when it comes to violence against women?
I picked up ‘The Boy That Never Was’ from the library on a whim and read it in one sitting. It’s definitely a page turner.
How would you react if you left your child alone and they disappeared? That’s the central theme of ‘The Boy That Never Was’. Harry has never forgiven himself, yet Robyn has never once blamed her husband. They’ve returned to Dublin from Tangier to make a fresh start, or try to at least, but their world is turned upside down for a second time when Harry sees an eight-year-old boy in a crowd. He is convinced the boy is their son Dillon, but he disappears before Harry can do anything about it.
I ordered a copy of Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam almost as soon as I finished reading this review by Lorraine of John, It’s Only Makeup! Any book that compels a person to read it multiple times is guaranteed a place on my to-read list and in this case I wasn’t disappointed.
A book about perfume written by a scientist and a perfume critic is going to be boring, right? Wrong. Turin and Sanchez have a way with words that not only make the world of fragrance accessible, but also entertaining.
Perfumes The A-Z Guide introduces us to perfume criticism, takes us through the different ways we perceive feminine and masculine fragrances, teaches us how to go about choosing a new scent, and gives us a brief history of perfume. This is all before we come to the frequently asked questions section which is the most comprehensive I’ve seen anywhere. Each chapter is written with not only knowledge, but more humour than you thought possible when discussing perfume. All that’s left are the perfume reviews.
If I’ve ever bought you a book as a present, loaned you a book or just recommended a book to you then there’s a good chance that it was ‘The Hours’ by Michael Cunningham. It is my favourite novel and I like to share it.
‘The Hours’ won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1999 and was adapted into a film starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore in 2002 so I suspect everyone is familiar with the story by now, even if they haven’t read the book.
Cunningham tells the story of three women who have all been affected, in some way, by Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs. Dalloway’.
There comes a time in most people’s life when they read a book that changes their outlook so profoundly that they want to thrust it into the arms of others and demand that they read it ASAP, for me that book is Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi.
Subtitled A Story of Loss and Gain, you know you’re in for a painful read from the get go but I wasn’t expecting it to be this heart wrenching, even after watching de Rossi’s interview on Oprah.
Opening with the revelation that she is regularly woken from her slumber by the voice inside her that continually asks ‘What did you eat last night?’, Unbearable Lightness dives straight into de Rossi’s life during the filming of Ally McBeal when her eating disorder really came to the fore.
de Rossi interweaves her early life with that of life in LA, from becoming a model at age 12, changing her name at 15 (she was born Amanda Lee Rogers), to landing her first acting role and the decision to drop out of law school to pursue acting in the US.
It’s all dealt with in simple but powerful prose directly from the eye of the storm because de Rossi decided to speak from the heart of the issue rather than as a healthy person looking back making it obvious what was going through her mind at any given point in time.
Inevitably this book also deals with de Rossi’s battle to accept her sexuality and it’d be hard to imagine not including this aspect because at certain times this struggle seems (to me at least,) to enable her to fall deeper into her eating disorder. By that I mean, it seems that she felt she couldn’t control one aspect of her life so turned all her attention to following a strict diet and exercise regime which spiralled out of control and led to both bulimia and anorexia.