A Book for HerTitle: A Book for Her

Author: Bridget Christie

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Random House UK/Cornerstone

The Blurb

Bridget Christie is a stand-up comedian, idiot and feminist. On the 30th of April 2012, a man farted in the Women’s Studies Section of a bookshop and it changed her life forever.

A Book For Her details Christie’s twelve years of anonymous toil in the bowels of stand-up comedy and the sudden epiphany that made her, unbelievably, one of the most critically acclaimed British stand-up comedians this decade, drawing together the threads that link a smelly smell in the women’s studies section to the global feminist struggle.

Find out how nice Peter Stringfellow’s fish tastes, how yoghurt advertising perpetuates rape myths, and how Emily Bronte used a special ladies’ pen to write Wuthering Heights.

If you’re interested in comedy and feminism, then this is definitely the book for you. If you hate both then I’d probably give it a miss.

The Review

I love reading books by feminists and I find that I become a bit of an armchair feminist whenever I read them. In particular, I like feminist books that use humour juxtaposed with the very real debates over feminist rights.

That is why I really enjoyed Bridget Christie’s A Book for Her. In the book, Christie discusses serious topics such as Female Genital Mutilation and Rape Culture. She also discusses farts. This silly balance made A Book for Her such a delightful tonic.

If you enjoy reading A Book for Her then you should also check out her stand up performances.

A Book for Her by Bridget Christie is available now.

For more information regarding Bridget Christie (@BridgetChristie) please visit www.bridgetchristie.co.uk.

For more information regarding Random House UK (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

35 Stars

The Blurb

A fiercely beautiful debut blazing with emotion: a major first novel about friendships made in youth and how these bonds, challenged by loss, illness, parenthood, and distance, either break or sustain.

Mia and Lorrie Ann are lifelong friends: hard-hearted Mia and untouchably beautiful, kind Lorrie Ann. While Mia struggles with a mother who drinks, a pregnancy at fifteen, and younger brothers she loves but can’t quite be good to, Lorrie Ann is luminous, surrounded by her close-knit family, immune to the mistakes that mar her best friend’s life. Until a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy: things fall apart, and then fall apart further – and there is nothing Mia can do to help. And as good, kind, brave Lorrie Ann stops being so good, Mia begins to question just who this woman is and what that question means about them both. A staggeringly arresting, honest novel of love, motherhood, loyalty, and the myth of the perfect friendship that moves us to ask ourselves just how well we know those we love, what we owe our children, and who we are without our friends.

The Review

The Girls from Corona del Mar is a book that explores the intimacy of female friendship. The story focuses on Mia – a girl who, by all accounts, hasn’t had an easy life. However, she is bizarrely envious of her best friend Lorrie Ann. Lorrie Ann’s life is, on the surface, much worse than that of Mia yet Mia puts Lorrie Ann on a pedestal. As always, when you place someone among the gods then they are going to let you down by not being able to live up to your expectation.

In theory, the story should work. Books about friendship are – in my opinion – often more interesting than your regular romance books. I believe that the love between two friends holds a different kind of depth. Yet I don’t feel like I got that from The Girls of Corona Del Mar. I felt that the story was too narrative heavy and that Thorpe went off onto trivial tangents. I became bored reading them and felt that they were completely unnecessary. It took me a while to get back into the rhythm of reading once the story had been brought back to topic.

However, I did like the link to historical figures. I thought that the stories of Inanna were interesting and I would have liked to have seen more of this, less narrative and more dialogue.

The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe is available now.

The Girls from Corona del Mar

The Blurb

Millie Bird is a seven year old girl who always wears red wellington boots to match her red, curly hair. But one day, Millie’s mum leaves her alone in the Ginormous Women’s underwear rack in a department store, and doesn’t come back.

Agatha Pantha is an eighty-two-year old woman who hasn’t left her home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on her TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street.

Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven years old and once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife’s skin. He sits in a nursing home, knowing that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes.

Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie’s mum. Along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life.

The Review

I like it when I read a book that I have picked for no other reason than I liked the cover (sorry) and I am presented with a quirky, unusual but extremely loveable story. This is exactly what I got with Lost and Found.

The story of a young girl who has been abandoned by her mother but forms unusual friendships with two old age pensioners, who in a sense have been abandoned by life, is not one that is often told. The connection between the three characters is through their mutual sense of loss. Whether it be a husband, wife or parents. And the unlikely friendship between the three is strengthened by sharing the adventure that they are on together.

Brooke Davis has created a wonderful story with Lost and Found. Her characters charm you with their innocence, their anger and their gumption to change their world. You cannot help but root for their success. The book leaves you feeling hopeful and warm inside. The best feeling that only the best stories can give you. Well done, Brooke Davis.

Lost and Found by Brooke Davis is available on the 29th January 2015.

You can follow Brooke Davis (@thisisbrooked) on Twitter.

Lost and Found

Synopsis

A collection of Katie Fforde’s short stories that have previously been published in magazines or only been available in e-book format.

Review

For years my mother has been encouraging me to pick up a book by Katie Fforde. My mother, having read (almost) everything that Fforde has ever written is a big advocate of her work. However, my lingering stubborn inner teenager has always declined to pick up any of Fforde’s novels.

When the opportunity to read A Christmas Feast and Other Stories came up via NetGalley I surreptitiously requested it and decided to give it a read without my mother’s knowledge. Turns out, as is quite often the case, my mother was correct. Mother 1 – Inner Stubborn Teenager 0.

The collection of stories was actually rather good. Personally I preferred the longer short stories but that is because, as I have previously mentioned I find short stories too…well, short. What is wonderful about this collection is that it allows people – such as my mother – to read the stories such as The Undercover Cook, From Scotland with Love (my personal favourite from the collection) and Staying Away at Christmas which have only ever been available on e-readers.

This is a charming collection of short stories and as Katie Fforde says in her introduction it is a perfect read for the busy person over the Christmas holidays because A Christmas Feast and Other Stories doesn’t require the full time commitment of a novel.

A Christmas Feast and Other Stories by Katie Fforde is available now.

A Christmas Feast and Other Stories

Synopsis

At the age of 36 Michelle, chicken packer extraordinaire, did not expect to be living in such a rut. Living in the shadow of her dead sister and pretty much abhorred by her teenage daughter Michelle knows she has to make a change. When she strikes a deal with her rebellious daughter to marry George Clooney her initial reasons were selfish – to stop her daughter Josie from sleeping with sweaty not-good-enough-for-her boyfriend Sean and well to possibly get to marry George Clooney. However, life has a funny way of twisting fate and making you see the bigger picture.

Review

Ok, let me just start by saying two things. Firstly, I loved this story. It was funny, the characters were endearing and it was quite frankly unlike anything I have ever read before. Secondly, the storyline is absurd – people tend to take that word the wrong way. I assure I mean it in only the positive sense. It is such a bonkers, over the top, out of this world idea that it really did only have two ways of going. It would either work completely or it would fall apart hopelessly. Fortunately, for the readers of I Will Marry George Clooney (…By Christmas) and indeed for Tracy Bloom this book definitely falls into the former category.

What I think makes this book so special is that it focuses on the relationship between mother and daughter rather than the love story being the central theme; the uneasy relationship between Michelle and Josie strangely paradoxes the relationship between Michelle and her own mother, Kathleen. Michelle seems t get it from both sides. She cannot fill the shoes of her sister Jane who tragically died and she cannot be the mother that Josie wants her to be. Josie reacts and acts out due to the frustrations of not knowing who she really is and at her mother’s own willing to fade into the background rather than make anything of herself and, like any petulant teenager, makes Michelle feel all the more a bad mother for it by being snarky, disrespectful and disobedient. Kathleen doesn’t make things any easier on Michelle by always putting her down.

Yes, you can’t help but feel sorry for Michelle throughout this book, her confidence is at an all time low and she relies on her friends to remind her how wonderful she is. And truly, Bloom has created a rather marvellous character in Michelle. Bloom also succeeds in reminding her readers that life is short and you should become the hero in your own life story.

I Will Marry George Clooney (…By Christmas) by Tracy Bloom is available now.

You can follow Tracy Bloom on Twitter @TracyBBloom

Tracy Bloom