Boy, Tales of Childhood – by Roald Dahl

1 10 2018

I read a lot of Roald Dahl’s fiction in 2016, but never got round to Boy or Going Solo. After it popped up in conversation a couple of times lately, I thought it was about time I gave this a go.

He states that it is not an autobiography, but I’m not quite sure why given that that is exactly how I’d describe it! Dahl’s parents were Norwegian though he was born and raised in Wales. The book covers his childhood and teenage years at home and boarding school, up until the age of 20. (When I presume Going Solo must pick up the story).

When he was at boarding school he regularly wrote home to his mother, and she kept everything she ever sent – so in a rather sweet addition, all the writing in the boarding school chapters is interspersed with images of handwritten letters from those times.

It’s funny as you read it, you can see the inspiration for some of his characters and stories as he talks. There was a lady who I’m sure has part of Mrs Twit about her, and then when at school the boys were each sent boxes of chocolate bars to test for Cadbury, which is when he first started thinking about the idea of “inventing rooms” in chocolate factories.

It’s really just a collection of stories from home and school (including an awful incident when he nearly lost his entire nose!), but told in such a warm and I guess child-friendly way. As a Roald Dahl fan I’d definitely recommend this as a way to get to know him better!

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How to be a Woman – by Caitlin Moran

16 09 2018

I’ve always enjoyed following Caitlin Moran on Twitter so I picked this up in a charity shop to try out. Essentially it’s her autobiography from puberty onwards, crossed with a book about Feminism.

She writes in a way that’s very easy to read, she’s fun and chatty, though some of her descriptions of puberty got a little graphic in places!

That said, I really disagree with a good chunk of what she’s trying to say – I’m not anti-feminist as such, but on specific topics like abortion and porn, I definitely disagreed.

I’m not looking to start a whole debate on here, but just to pick up on one point – in her chapter on abortion she says the following:

“I cannot understand anti-abortion arguments that centre on the sanctity of life. As a species, we’ve fairly comprehensively demonstrated that we don’t believe in the sanctity of life. The shrugging acceptance of war, famine, epidemic, pain and life-long grinding poverty show us that, whatever we tell ourselves, we’ve made only the most feeble of efforts to really treat human life as sacred.”

That just makes no sense to me – yes we don’t deal with some of those things as we should, but we agree that they’re wrong and bad. They’re all things I’m against, this argument doesn’t line up at all.

Definitely an interesting read to get you thinking, but not one that has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf.





Spectacles – by Sue Perkins

1 08 2017

I honestly feel like I’ve just spent a week hanging out with this woman! I had high expectations from the book and she didn’t disappoint.

She writes just like she talks, lots of random ad-libs, clever jokes, all sorts. Very clever and very quick!

She describes things so beautifully, and none more-so than her first meeting with Mel Giedroyc, just stunning! She also talks about her family with such affection, amid all their nuances there’s proper love there 🙂

It’s hard to say much about this book because she says everything so much better. All I can say is I read a 400 page book in 8 days – that NEVER happens!





The Vow – by Kim & Krickett Carpenter

1 07 2014

This book was not at all what I expected.

I watched the film when it came out at the cinema. A story of a couple who have an accident and the woman loses all memory of her husband and he has to win her over again.

The key word in that trailer is “inspired by”, not “based on” true events. Technically that outline also covers the story in the book, except the details are very different, and for one key point: The book is a testimony. The book is the story of how God was central to their relationship, their marriage, and how they both had to lean on Him to get through it all. It is an autobiography and the focus is God. He doesn’t even get a look in on the film!

The book is also very different in the way they meet, how the relationship develops, the wedding, the relationship between the husband and her parents – it may as well be a different story but for the very basic outline.

I love this book because it shows how through the most truly awful circumstances, God worked through it, and brought them to a much better place than they could have imagined.

At the time apparently their story got a lot of press coverage, I don’t remember this, but they were so passionate to share what God had done each time they shared their story. It’s inspirational!

the vow