Thursday, January 1, 2015

Some great reads.....

I am still not really back into blogging yet but little steps feel right.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A truly wonderful meditation on war and it's consequences seen through the eyes of two very different children, beautifully written with wonderful characters this book takes you on an unforgettable journey that twists and turns, and very powerfully shows just what it feels like to be a powerless child when the world as you know it crashes in on you. This was my best read for 2014. 5/5.

There was a little Girl by Brooke Shields
Shields who has been a model/actress since childhood tells the story of her mother in this book, she also tells her own story because they were  woven together so tightly that it was very hard for Brooke to break away. Terri was disliked by many who saw her as the ultimate stage mother, a pushy, unpleasant woman whose only commodity was her beautiful daughter. Brooke tells her alcoholic mothers story with compassion and a wisdom born of much pain, she is not short on humour either. This was a fast moving, easy read which gives the reader a great insight into growing up as a child actress with all it's pitfalls, it's benefits and perks and how you can survive  with grace and dignity, Shields does a good job for her mother, herself and her two daughters.5/5.

Play On by Mick Fleetwood.
Written to cash in one suspects on Fleetwood Mac's tour of the U.S. Fleetwood's story is really rather engaging but from a simple start things rapidly become complex. All the great characters of the 60s/70s and 80s are here and the life and times of Fleetwood and his cohorts are hardly dull yet there seems to be quite a confluence of  people/places and times and Fleetwood repeats himself a fair bit especially in regard to relationships and why they failed...once would have been enough, his treatment of his first wife and children frankly was appalling, a good editor would have dealt with the repeat re telling swiftly. A good read for the fans and probably a very accurately told recount of Fleetwood's life, a good book but not a great read.3/5

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
First class telling of the consequences of wanting to project your life ambition onto your child. FYI Beautifully rendered, heartbreaking, honest and searing. The story of the Asian/American Lee family especially the parents Marilyn and James in 1970's Ohio is one that will live with you well after you turn the last page. Marilyn and James's obsession with the social/academic life of their middle child Lydia is both sad and foolhardy and has horrific consequences for the whole family. The story is written with such style and class, pulls no punches and hooks you from the get go. The back lighting is superb as is the character develop, past and present seamlessly woven together, cultural issues which haunt this novel are written with honesty and compassion and the day to day recounting of this family's life is stunning yet ordinary at the same time. The book is real and as an example of dysfunction it would have few peers in the honesty stakes. It was my No 2 read for 2014.5/5.

Margaret and Gough by Susan Mitchell
Gough and Margaret Whitlam were the Rock Stars of modern Australian politics, loved by the ordinary Joe Bloggs while being dispised by the middle and upper class who most certainly didn't approve of the Labor Party leanings exemplified by both.
Married young, they worked tirelessly at every level of their community, held responsible jobs and raised a family. At the heart of their devotion to each other was their desire to see Labor back in government after years of Liberal led governments.
In 1972 their wish was granted and Gough Whitlam led his party to victory but it was to be a victory that ed many in power and there were many who vowed to bring the Whitlam Government down, cut to the chase and that is what the power obsessed Governor General did, he sacked Gough Whitlam over the supply/confidence bill that was before parliament.
A true political marriage they were a team until death did part them. They are a part almost of Australian Folklore, from the moment of Gough's sacking they were idolised by Australians whom they continued to serve tirelessly, a standing ovation guaranteed should they appear, even the most unlikely of ruptured friendships were healed and in the case of the man the GG replaced Gough with genuine heartbreak at his passing.
A great read, honest, engaging and well paced, the author knew both her subjects well and it shows, particularly of note is Mitchell's honesty, like an Aussie, she calls a spade a spade or occasionally a shovel.

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