Title: On the Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back

Author: Stacey Dooley

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: BBC Books

The Blurb

Put yourself in their shoes.

In 2007, Stacey Dooley was a twenty-something working in fashion retail. She was selected to take part in the BBC series Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts which saw her live and work alongside Indian factory workers making clothes for the UK High Street. This sparked her series of hugely popular investigations, establishing her as one of BBC3’s most celebrated presenters.

Through the course of her documentary making, Stacey has covered a variety of topics, from sex trafficking in Cambodia, to Yazidi women fighting back in Syria. At the core of her reporting are incredible women in extraordinary and scarily ordinary circumstances – from sex workers in Russia, to victims of domestic violence in Honduras. In her first book, On the Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back, Stacey draws on her encounters with these brave and wonderful women, using their experiences as a vehicle to explore issues at the centre of female experience. From gender equality and domestic violence, to sex trafficking and sexual identity, Stacey weaves these global strands together in an exploration of what it is to be women in the world today.


The Review

I won’t lie and say I have been a massive fan of Stacey Dooley or that I have watched all her documentaries. In fact, I didn’t really know who she was until she did Strictly Come Dancing. What I saw there was a young articulate girl who didn’t seem to have any airs or graces and just seemed to be very real. I bought her book On the Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back on the strength of how she presented herself.

Having read the book and become aware of the things that Stacey Dooley has seen in her relatively short career I must say I am a little in awe of her. She has been put in precarious situations and met with the most dangerous people and she has shown great tenacity; she has met people who society have maybe shunned or disregard and she has got to the heart of them and shown extreme sympathy. I find her courage to not ask the easy questions amazing.

After I finished reading On the Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back I was emotionally wrung out. I felt drained. It made me wonder how Stacey Dooley must have felt living through the situations that I was only reading about. It blew my mind.

On the Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back is an eye opening book. I recommend it to anyone who has ever questioned the status quo.

On the Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back by Stacey Dooley is available now.

For more information regarding Stacey Dooley (@StaceyDooley) please visit her Twitter page.

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The Nations Favourite Love PoemsThe Blurb

From the first flush of love, through courtship and vows of eternal fidelity, to serving the writs and drowning your sorrows, ‘The Nation’s Favourite Love Poems‘ will meet all your romantic requirements. In this selection of 100 popular poems, poets of every age consider that most universal of themes: love. As well as traditional lovers’ favourites such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘How do I love thee?‘ and Shakespeare’s ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?‘ there are contemporary voices such as Adrian Mitchell, Wendy Cope and John Fuller, whose erudite yet salacious ‘Valentine‘ would melt the most fridgid heart. There are even poems for those more melancholic moments, Hardy’s haunting ‘After a Journey‘, for example, and Larkin’s poignant ‘Love Songs in Age‘. So, wherever you are in the tunnel of love, dip into this book of poetry and you will be reassured to discover that at one time or another a poet has been there before you.

The Review

I work in a high school and part of my job is helping the GCSE students prepare themselves for their exams. Due to my specialism – English Language/Literature – I often try and get them prepared for the two unseen pieces of poetry that they will have to analyse. At 16, I hated poetry. I loathed it. As I got older and as I kept furthering my English education I began to appreciate it. Not all poems, mind, but I have certainly enjoyed teaching it.

Teaching poetry analysis is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that has multiple pieces that fit the same slot. It is difficult, it is variable and it is never wrong. Interpretation is personal and that scares some people because what if there are wrong…but as I just stated – you are never wrong with interpretation.

Anecdotes aside, I picked up The Nation’s Favourite Love Poems by Daisy Goodwin because it was recommended to me on Amazon and I knew that we had a copy in the school library. I wanted to see if there were any poems that my student and I could analyse. There were tons (as you would expect with an anthology of poetry), however, there were very few that I liked.

Don’t get me wrong, I am sure they are all really good accomplished pieces but for me there was only a handful of ones that I enjoyed reading; they included: Warming Her Pearls by Carol Ann Duffy, Valentine by John Fuller, Lullaby by WH Auden, The First Day by Christina Rosetti, Unfortunate Coincidence by Dorothy Parker, and Twelve Songs by WH Auden.

Actually, that looks like a lot.

In all fairness, I wasn’t expecting to like all the poems in the collection and I do think that I would benefit from further studying of the poems but I did like The Nation’s Favourite Love Poems. I will be picking up more anthologies to develop my liking for poetry.

The Nation’s Favourite Love Poems by Daisy Goodwin is available now.

3 Stars