Book Review: May We Be Forgiven by A M Homes

May-We-Be-ForgivenPB-649x999This book instantly captures you with the seriously high paced beginning. There is a Thanksgiving meal, Harold’s niece and nephew are glued to their phones, nobody is helping Jane, Harold’s sister-in-law, clean up, and Harold and Jane have a moment in the kitchen. Shortly after that, when George (Harold’s brother) and Jane’s kids are back at their boarding schools, George crashes his car causing a young boy to become orphaned. George goes mad and is locked up. Harold keeps Jane company while his own wife, Claire, is away on a business trip. Things then heat up between Harold and Jane, who end up getting it together. George somehow escapes, and comes home, finding his wife in bed with his brother. He goes even crazier and kills his wife with a lamp.

That synopsis may seem like a spoiler, but it seriously isn’t, this all happens within the first few pages. After reading this I was left thinking, what can happen now? What is there left that can really happen? But then, the story takes a complete turn. It turns into a novel about humanity, about human emotion and about treasuring life beyond the materials.

Harold becomes the guardian of his niece and nephew, Ashley and Nate, who teach him about being a real person. Throughout the novel a once lonely Harold picks up friendships, and soon his family grows wildly. I did like how during the beginning, when Harold was this kind of unfeeling statue of a person, there were aspects of the way it was written that were reminiscent in Bret Easton Ellis’ work – the whole sociopathic monologues anyway. There are so many elements of this novel to put into a single review, murder, paedophilia, sex addiction, prescription drug addiction, affairs and way way more.

In all honesty, though, this book hasn’t changed my life. It has kept me occupied, it has entertained me, but it hasn’t changed me like I would have expected. One thing I felt both enhanced the book and let it down was Nate’s young age. He is such an insightful, genuine and intelligent character, that it is just not realistic that he is only 12 years old.

Nonetheless, it is a good book, and you would have to read it yourself to truly understand it.

3.5/5

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Book Review: The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

81d+031CmSL._SL1500_Alex Woods is a good guy. He is such a likeable and unique character, one in whom we can probably see the personality of friends or even ourselves reflected. I agree with many of the critics who comment that he is a similar character to Mark Haddon’s Christopher, in that I have a similar reaction to him as the protagonist. He is likeable and appealing, and just so slightly awkward.

The unlikely yet strangely believable friendship between Alex and Mr Peterson is excellent. They are a great comedy duo and their interactions caused me many laughs throughout the book, and a few tears.

I love the way in which I feel like I’m peering in on somebody’s life, the way that it is clearly a novel but yet feels so personal that I am worried I am eavesdropping.

Euthanasia is not an easy topic to tackle, but I feel the way in which Gavin Extence has managed this, with the touches of comedy and social awkwardness, does it so much justice.

There is literally nothing bad I can say about this book. I’m glad I read it, it is the best debut novel I have read in years.

5/5

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

the-fault-in-our-stars-coverI was given this book by a friend a while ago but only got around to reading it a couple of months ago for two reasons: 1. I hadn’t heard much about John Green previously (I know – I was living under a rock) so I wasn’t in a particular hurry to read it and 2. I didn’t think it was the kind of book that I would enjoy, what with me being slightly past the ‘young adult’ phase (or so I thought).

However, I am incredibly glad that I did get around to reading it. I have recently started reading young adult books, as I have begun tutoring teenagers in English and thought this would be a good way to get them involved in reading – and I have to say that this is one of the best YA books that I have read.

This book is very well written, with a narrator so innocent and humble that you cannot help but feel for. The characters in this novel have such believable personalities, even if their situations may not always seem realistic. And the content of this story is so inspiring that I hope young people will read it and cherish the lives they have.

This is a modern tragic comedy which at points will have you laughing and crying simultaneously. I will be recommending this to future students and to adults alike. This is not typical young adult fiction (starring vampires and werewolves, etc), it is more of a bridge between teenage and adult.

Thank you John Green, it was a fantastic read and I will certainly be reading more of your work in the future.

4.5/5

Film: Seven Psychopaths

I decided to spend a few hours this week watching Seven Psychopaths, which I had meant to see at the cinema. I am, however, glad that I decided instead to watch it online. It isn’t really the kind of film I would want to watch on the big screen, despite having one of my all time favourite actors (Christopher Walken). As well as this cinematic genius of an actor, there is an abundance of famous faces in this film.

The carefree way in which the characters in this film talk about psychopathy intrigued me, as all things related to psychopaths usually does. I don’t buy into all that talk of it’s a representation of the psychopathy within Hollywood rubbish, or rather, I don’t see it. This film is more like a vivid imagery of a conversation, the like of which I would engage in with my other strange minded associates. I can’t say that this film had an immense amount of direction or that there is anyone else who would enjoy it, but I found I liked this film.

I think myself and Martin McDonagh might be able to collaborate on quite a successful movie script…

4.5/5

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Film: The Hobbit

I went to see The Hobbit two days ago, which, as I realise, was long after the rest of the world had seen it. But, as I said before, I’m not the run to the cinema to catch the film before it’s even released kind of person. Nonetheless, as I’ve watched the rest of Peter Jackson’s masterworks at the cinema, I thought it best to continue this tradition. First off, I will have to admit that I have not read any of JRR Tolkein’s books all the way through, the first few pages were more than enough to persuade me otherwise.

I have to say, I thought the film started all too slowly. There were way too many scenes of dwarves eating, drinking, and being merry for the beginning of an epic adventure trilogy. My attention got kind of lost in the first half an hour, and I found myself yawning a couple of times (this was not a late showing). But, as the pack set of, in similar fashion to the fellowship in LOTR, the storyline finally got going – I was finally intrigued, sitting upright, and paying attention.

This film, and indeed, I expect this trilogy, set forward a familiar feel, some familiar faces, and a whole host of different beasts that I had become accustomed to having seen the LOTR more times than perhaps is cool to admit…

The scenery, as always, is amazing enough to want to watch this. And, although I will try not to give away too much, it was nice to see some characters, who I had far before deemed evil, pick up a role in which they are on the side of good (no, I’m not talking about Saruman at all…). The Star Wars-esque stuff of trying to forget the future so you can focus on the past, is not too difficult in this film. I’m not sure why that is, I just found this really easy to follow.

Martin Freeman is well deserving of the role of the young Bilbo Baggins. I’ve come to admire him as an actor, especially since his successful enactment of Dr Watson. My secondary school English Literature teacher actually taught Martin Freeman as well, which means, by proxy, that is my claim to fame.

My other half is not a fan of Lord of The Rings, and as I believe, has never seen any of the films all the way through, so this will need to be rectified immediately (especially after having to frustratingly explain that Gandalf is not Dumbledore, and that they come from two completely different film franchises).

I am looking forward to the next two instalments and to the LOTR marathon I have been promised this weekend.

5/5

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Book Review: House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

The_House_of_Silk

I have just suddenly realised I haven’t done a book review in almost a month. Not to say I haven’t been reading, I’ve just failed to share my opinions on what I’ve read.

So I purchased and read the new Sherlock Holmes novel. As some of you may know, I’m rather a large fan of Holmes and all that goes with him, and I will start this by saying that, surprisingly, the book didn’t disappoint me.

I’ll try not to give any spoilers as I do truly recommend this book as a good read. For those of you who are familiar with the work if Conan Doyle, don’t expect this to feel exactly the same. Horowitz is true to the character and spirit of Holmes, but it doesn’t quite feel as though you are genuinely reading an original book, there is a sense of replication to it.

The story, on the other hand, is quite unique, and intriguing. It should manage to keep you engaged, as it did me, and will keep you on your toes. Like any good Sherlock Holmes book, or TV adaptation, you can almost predict the ending but you are never quite certain until it is confirmed, and Horowitz picked up on this by dropping vague clues throughout the book that could lead to a few possible and foreseeable scenarios – but this was good, it made me want to read on, to see if I had come to the correct conclusion.

One of the best Sherlock Holmes adaptations that I’ve encountered in a while.

4/5

TV: Impractical Jokers

I recently stumbled upon an extremely funny programme called ‘Impractical Jokers’. This then spawned a 3hour late night tv session with increasing levels of hysterical laughter. This was the UK version, broadcasted on BBC3. It is the first time I had heard of this show at all, but I have now become hooked.

After finding out that it was originally an American show, I decided to spend an entire day watching episodes and clips online. This was possibly one of the most rewarding things I have done in a while. If you have not seen this show, watch it. Here is a clip:

Try not to pee yourselves!

4/5

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