Title: To Be A Gay Man

Author: Will Young

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

In To Be a Gay Man, Will Young speaks out about gay shame, revealing the impact it had on his own life, how he learned to deal with it, and how he can now truthfully say he is gay and happy.

We know Will as a multi-platinum recording artist, Olivier-nominee, and the first winner of the Idol franchise. But his story began long before his first audition. Looking back on a world where growing up being called gay was the ultimate insult and coming out after a lifetime of hiding his sexuality, Will explores the long-lasting impact repressing his true self has had.

As Will’s own story demonstrates, internalised shame in childhood increases the risk of developing low self-worth, and even self-disgust, leading to destructive behaviours in adult life. 

Will revisits the darkest extremes he has been to, sharing his vulnerabilities, his regrets, tracing his own navigation through it all and showing the way for others who might have felt alone in the same experience.

Here you will find a friend, champion and mentor, breaking taboos with frank honesty, and offering invaluable practical advice on overcoming the difficult issues too often faced within the LGBTQ+ community.

The Review

I always wonder with celebrities who write books how much of what they say is the truth and what is made up and – more importantly – what it kept back. For the first time they are in control of the narrative of their own story rather than being at the hands of headline grabbing journalists with questionable morals. With Will Young’s To Be A Gay Man I really feel that he has bled his life on to the pages of his book.

To Be A Gay Man shows Will Young at his most vulnerable. He talks about his sexuality, how the shame of this affected his mental health and his descent into needing to seek medical care because he lost control. The terrible thing about all of this is that they things that caused his distress are not things to be ashamed of and speaks volumes about how the society we live in still treats ‘the other’ with disdain that when you identify with this mythical ‘other’ you develop internal hatred. It really is heartbreaking.

Will Young should be congratulated on his candour in To Be A Gay Man. This is the kind of book that will help others.

To Be A Gay Man by Will Young is available now.

For more information regarding Will Young (@willyoung) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Random House (@randomhouse) please visit www.randomhousebooks.com.

Title: The Girl – Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist

Author: Michelle Morgan

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Perseus Books/Running Press

The Blurb

With an in-depth look at the two most empowering years in the life of Marilyn Monroe, The Girl details how The Seven Year Itch created an icon and sent the star on an adventure of self-discovery and transformation from a controlled wife and contract player into a businesswoman and unlikely feminist whose power is still felt today.

When Marilyn Monroe stepped over a subway grating as The Girl in The Seven Year Itch and let a gust of wind catch the skirt of her pleated white dress, an icon was born. Before that, the actress was mainly known for a nude calendar and one-dimensional, albeit memorable, characters on the screen. Though she again played a “dumb blonde” in this film and was making headlines by revealing her enviable anatomy, the star was now every bit in control of her image, and ready for a personal revolution.

Emboldened by her winning fight to land the role of The Girl, the making of The Seven Year Itch and the eighteen months that followed was the period of greatest confidence, liberation, and career success that Monroe lived in her tumultuous life. It was a time in which, among other things, she:

Ended her marriage to Joe DiMaggio and later began a relationship with Arthur Miller; Legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, divorcing herself from the troubled past of Norma Jeane; Started her own production company; Studied in private lessons with Lee and Paula Strasberg of the Actors Studio and became a part of the acting revolution of the day. The ripple effects her personal rebellion had on Hollywood, and in trailblazing the way for women that followed, will both surprise and inspire readers to see the Marilyn Monroe in an entirely new light.

The Review

Marilyn Monroe has always been an actress that I have been in awe of. Not necessarily for her acting skills – I can’t say that I have seen enough of her movies to make a fair judgement on that but as an icon I have always been overwhelmed by her power of longevity. It is nearly sixty years since her death and really there is only one Marilyn. You don’t even have to say her surname and people know who you are talking about.

Lately I have read a few books about her life and each one has compelled me to read more. What I have found with the other books I have read is a lack of warmth and a detachment to Marilyn Monroe as a person. In Michelle Morgan’s books you are given a very warm and sympathetic look at her life and that was really refreshing. Whilst Morgan doesn’t claim Marilyn was perfect she tries to understand the flaws and imperfections rather than making sweeping gestures.

Of all the Marilyn Monroe books I have read of late this happens to be the one I have enjoyed the most. It only looks at a relatively small (but important) period of Marilyn Monroe’s life but it shows just how much of an impact Marilyn Monroe made on the movie industry and helped paved the way for women working in that field that is felt even today.

The Girl – Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist by Michelle Morgan.

For more information regarding Michelle Morgan (@MMWriterGirl) please visit www.michellemorgan.co.uk.

For more information regarding Perseus Books (@PerseusBooks) please visit their Twitter page.

For more information regarding Running Press (@Running_Press) please visit www.runningpress.com.

MeTooTitle: #MeToo – Essays About How and Why this Happened, What it Means and How to Make Sure it Never Happens Again

Author: Laurie Perkins

Pages: 154 Pages

Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books

The Blurb

Currently #1 on Kindle’s Feminist Theory best-seller list  Also #1 on Kindle Political best-seller list.

More than 16 million people had posted their #MeToo story and support against sexual harassment by mid-October as a reaction to Rose McGowan’s brave admission that she had allegedly been raped by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.  A groundswell of reaction to and exposure of this sexual predation was unleashed that has spread throughout Europe and beyond. New revelations of unacceptable behavior in every industry break every day as people come forward in response to the viral #MeToo posts. Protests are scheduled such as the “Take back the Workplace” Hollywood march in November of 2017, and legislation is being drafted in New York and California to finally change the way things have been for far too long.

This is the turning point. Things are going to change.

This is a historic moment and it needs to be memorialized, passed around and passed on. Although social media is a fantastic means of igniting a fire, it needs to keep burning, like a torch.

So Riverdale Avenue Books, a woman-owned leading hybrid publisher, is putting its money, words and power, behind this and publishing this collection of 26 essays from people who understand want to make this change, and we, as a society, have got to figure out a way to drive that change forward.

So pass this book around. Share it with your sons, brothers, fathers, your daughters, sisters and mothers, your co-workers and friends.  Read passages to them, if they won’t read it for themselves. Leave it on the desk of someone who should know better.

Help us make this movement more than a hashtag.

The Review

It is hard to ignore the #MeToo campaign that is circulating with more fervency in light of the recent Harvey Weinstein sexual allegation and if I am honest when I saw that there was a #MeToo book I was sceptical. I initially thought that a writer had jumped on the bandwagon to make a pretty penny but when I looked into it and saw that it was a non-profit release I realised that I was wrong and that this is a book to take seriously.

Editor, Lori Perkins has compiled a series of writing from men and women about the #MeToo cause. Some of the essays are personal accounts and others reactionary. At times it can be quite hard to read as some writers don’t hold back when it comes to their own experiences of sexual assault. What is clear is that #MeToo is an important book and the campaign is not one to be forgotten in a hurry.

#MeToo – Essays About How and Why this Happened, What it Means and How to Make Sure it Never Happens Again by Lori Perkins is available now

For more information regarding Lori Perkins and Riverdale Avenue Books (@LoriPerkinsRAB) please visit www.riverdaleavebooks.com.

3 Stars