2 May 2015

6 DEGREES OF SEPARATION # 12: ELIZABETH IS MISSING.

A monthly meme hosted by Annabel and Emma (please click on their names to view their chains) in which readers are invited to link six books according to whatever connections that come to mind. 

Yeah! At last a book that I have actually read (my review will follow on Thursday), this month's choice is ......



Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognisable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger.

But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Because somewhere in Maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.

Everyone, except Maud ...

- Back cover blurb.



Elizabeth Is Missing brings to my mind .....


 #1 SWALLOWING GRANDMA: Yet another story of a delightfully quirky if highly cantankerous elderly woman, the partially sighted Poll.

#2 THE RAGING QUIET: In Raver we have another sense-impaired character. His deafness mistaken as madness, both he and Marnie (a newcomer to the village) are set apart as being different, he whipped for being possessed of the devil, she put on trial as a witch.

#3 WEIRDO. MOSHER. FREAK: IF ONLY THEY'D STOPPED AT NAME CALLING: A real-life story of a couple vilified, he badly beaten, she kicked and stamped to death by a pack of feral youths. Their 'crime'? Daring to be different, Sophie's killing cited by the press as another example of a Broken Britain.

#4 STREET KID: Considered by some as feral. The story of a young girl living in the shadow of her father's terrifying cruelty, kept in the backyard, eating from the bins to survive. 


#5 THE READER: Just as in Street Kid Judy's father (a seemingly charming spiritualist preacher) is not all he seems so in The Reader Hanna is far from what she seems. The much older lover of the then fifteen year old Michael years later he discovers her on trial as a war criminal.

#6 THE STORYTELLERSlowly the truth from the darkest horrors of war are uncovered in this story of a young woman's friendship with a quiet, well respected man who is old enough to be her grandfather.


30 Apr 2015

WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES.


WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES by KAREN JOY FOWLER.

BACK COVER BLURB: What if you grew up to realise that your father has used your childhood as an experiment?

Rosemary doesn't talk very much, and about certain things she's silent. She had a sister, Fern, her whirlwind other half, who vanished from her life in circumstances she wishes she could forget. And it's been ten years since she last saw her beloved brother Lowell.

Now at college, Rosemary starts to see that she can't go forward without going back, back to the time when, aged five, she was sent away from home to her grandparents and returned to find Fern gone.

FIRST SENTENCE {Prologue}: Those who know me now will be surprised to learn that I was a great talker as a child.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 79}: We went to exactly one party in my first five years, and I don't even remember it, but Lowell told me there'd been an unfortunate incident involving a pinata, a baseball bat and a lot of flying candy that ended with Fern biting Bertie Cubbins, the birthday girl, on the leg. Biting someone who's not in the family - apparently, a really big deal.

SOURCE: Apparently the talk of the staff room where Mr T works. My thanks to Rachel for the loan of this book.

MY THOUGHTS: A book that had I known the twist in the tale beforehand I would not have considered reading. Let me begin by saying that it is despite and not because of 'the twist' (a twist that is making this review that much harder to write for fear of spoilers) that I rated this book as I did.*

A story of sibling rivalry, of the childhood events and memories (real, imagined, and misremembered) that shape us as adults. A novel that explores love, loss and attachment.

A literary work of what I guess most would think of as an unusual if not dysfunctional family, a family in which the relationships aren't always what they at first seem - heck, a story in which the individuals aren't always as they at first seem.

Beginning not in the beginning as most stories do but in the middle as, not nearly as complicated as it sounds, the novel darts around in time chronicling the life events of our narrator, Rosemary, who in order to protect herself has buried certain things deep within the recesses of her mind.

Though very readable ultimately this was a book that I found somewhat emotionally draining, the message that the human animal can (intentionally or otherwise) cause such devastation brought home to me in no uncertain terms. 

 * As you probably know I no longer do star ratings here on Pen and Paper but for those sites requiring it I awarded this three 'It was OK' stars.

28 Apr 2015

WORLD BOOK NIGHT: DEAD MAN TALKING #2.

Following on from World Book Night and Mr T's review today I'm pleased to bring you my thoughts on ....


DEAD MAN TALKING by RODDY DOYLE

WBN BOOK BLURB: Click here for details.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter One): I met Joe again the night before his funeral.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 65}: I slid into the front room. Joe was climbing back into the coffin.

MY THOUGHTS: For the better part of Dead Man Talking I admit to being mystified but then suddenly it all fell into place in a neat twist.  

A quick, quirky read. Written in the first person and with a repetitious dialogue that proved to be very much a positive in what I felt was a unique and intriguing story with wonderfully well written down to earth characters. 



27 Apr 2015

FROM THE TAJ MAHAL TO THE UNITED CHURCH OF BACON BY WAY OF THE MAN ADDICTED TO UNDERPANTS.

WARNING: Whilst I endeavour to keep Media Monday family friendly I feel it only right to point out that some of the newspapers featured do have links to articles of a more adult nature. TT

Most bizarre headline of the week?


Mystery of Taj Mahal sculpture made entirely out of toast spotted on London street corner.


Or how about this one?

Addicted to underpants: Man's compulsion to wear new boxers every day left him facing bankruptcy.

Or how about this one from the animal kingdom?

Dog causes traffic chaos after it takes control of a tractor.

And as for the most unlucky woman of the week?


Agoraphobic granny finally steps outside ... and falls down manhole


And finally, after last week's Pastafarian, today in the news from across the pond I give you ...


Claiming to have over 4,000 members with names such as 'Funkmaster General', 'Institutionalized Thought Leader' and Bacon Prophet' a statement on the United Church of Bacon's website is offering legal weddings for those who don't want God in their ceremony.