If anything can be said about the books I read this month I think eclectic is a good choice.
Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig – 5 stars
Matt Haig is incredible. That he shares his story so fully is touching and humbling. There were so many moments in this book where it felt as though the memory had been plucked out of my head. The enormous obsessions over little things, the stressing on something that hadn’t happened, on and on. Thank you, Matt.
A Storm of Witchcraft – Emerson W Baker – 4 stars
Orlando – Virginia Woolf – 4 stars
I’m not even going to try to break this novel down. I really enjoyed pushing myself to read this and I’m glad I did because by the end, I wasn’t prepared to let Orlando go. It is a tough read but once you get your eye in for the prose you really are in for a treat!
This Little Piggy – Bea Davenport – 4 stars
Davenport has written a book that is driven by the story and the characters. This could sound like a strange thing to say about it but what Davenport achieves is a suspension of the reader in the industrial action of the mid 1980s UK. She makes it human and real and there are no glib asides that reference how thoroughly modern we are thirty years later. If you didn’t know different, you would think it was actually written during the time it is set.
The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton – 3 stars
I found myself somewhat confused by this book. I neither liked it nor disliked it. I could see why so many people have raved over it as there are many praise worthy elements but it just didn’t grab me. Burton tells a story that is correct within its historical context but for many readers (going by some of the reviews on Goodreads) she has missed the mark when it comes to showing / giving understanding to the themes addressed in this book. As 21st century readers, our understanding of life is very different from to someone from 17th century Amsterdam. We do not share the same sensibilities and for a large group of people, who do not know the history of homosexuals throughout history, there are no markers to explain why what is happening happens. I ramble. I realise that. Burton’s books is well worth the time to read but you just have to forget your modernity for 400 pages to really see the strength of this prose.
Average Star Rating – 4
Title: This Little Piggy
Author: Bea Davenport
Publisher: Legend Times Group
Date of Publication: 1 April 2015
Number of Pages: 288
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers – Literature/Fiction (adult)
Rating: 4 stars
Disclaimer: Copy provided free by Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: It’s the summer of 1984 and there is a sense of unease on the troubled Sweetmeadows estate. The residents are in shock after the suspicious death of a baby and tension is growing due to the ongoing miners’ strike. Journalist Clare Jackson follows the story as police botch the inquiry and struggle to contain the escalating violence. Haunted by a personal trauma she can’t face up to, Clare is shadowed by nine-year-old Amy, a bright but neglected little girl who seems to know more about the incident than she’s letting on. As the days go on and the killer is not found, Clare ignores warnings not to get too close to her stories and in doing so, puts her own life in jeopardy.
Review: I was nervous about reading this. Please don’t ask me why, the answer is not structured nor coherent. Part of me, I think, was nervous about the word “piggy”, what with being a large woman who still has a fear of being teased and ridiculed when reading in public. Ridiculous, yes.
All personal baggage aside, this book is fantastic!
I don’t feel I can go into much detail about This Little Piggy without giving away something in the plot. I’m not even going to say more than that. Just read it.
One thing I would like to congratulate Bea Davenport on is her writing. This isn’t as strange as it might seem. Think about how many times you’ve started a book set in the 1980s or the 1880s or the 1780s and been surprised but not all that cognisant of how modern the language and the writing. How many books have you read, set in a historical period that may as well be modern except for the clothing? Davenport escapes this invisible and largely unacknowledged constraint. For me, this book could have been written in 1984. There is no moment where you are jolted out of the correct time frame. The miners strike, the picket line, the typewriters and the description of their noise. There are payphones and journalists who do shorthand and then call their stories through to copy writers. They think nothing of jumping in their cars, also unassuming, to go cover a story. Every element, for me, is 100% believable. I haven’t read anything that comes close to this for a while.
It’s not a big read, it isn’t a challenging read but it is definitely one that should be on your to read list.