Image of The Husband's Secret book by Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty, you may have heard her name but not sure where. Liane is the writer of Big Little Lies, the hit programme on Sky Atlantic starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley. Today’s book I am reviewing however, The Husband’s Secret, is a good romance novel but I wouldn’t say as on par with Big Little Lies.

The Husband’s Secret centres around three characters – Cecilia, Tess and Rachel. Cecilia is the wife of John-Paul Fitzpatrick – a successful business man from a successful family and herself is the typical ‘perfect mom’ a successful Tupperware seller (how middle class suburbia is that!?) with the perfect house. Tess is one third of TWF – a marketing agency in Melbourne she co-owns with Will her husband and Felicity her cousin. Rachel the final character works at the Primary School and is still consumed with grief over the murder of her daughter Janie, over twenty years ago. Sounds simple enough but this is where it gets complicated, Tess finds out that Will is having an affair with Felicity so decides to take herself and her son to Sydney where she was brought up.

Rachel at the school is convinced that the new PE teacher at the Primary School, Connor, is her daughter’s murderer. For not other reason than he just seems to be a bit werid. Tess who enrols Liam at the school falls for Connor and decides to have a bit of fun with him. So where does Cecilia fit in? Well Cecilia’s kids go to the same school. Cecilia one day opens up a letter she found from John- Paul address to her and only to be opened when he has died. Cecilia opens it anyway and find’s a confession of Janey’s murder.

Okayyy.

That was the first half the book, the second half deals with Cecilia coping with John-Paul’s confession, Rachel becoming more and more convinced that Connor is the murderer and Tess trying to deal with her emotions over Will now Connor has appeared in her life. A horrid accident happens as well, but I will let you read the book to find out about that!

I had to admit the book took a while to get going and it felt that I was reading three separate stories at first. But it gets so good, especially seeing how Cecilia copes with John-Paul’s confession. The book is set in Australia and I can imagine the book is describes Australian middle class utopia perfectly. Overall as long as you get through the first half and not get bored,

Image of the book Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon

As mental health is quite rightly getting the air time it deserves, Bryony Gordon a journalist with The Telegraph and mental health campaigner tells us her story with Mad Girl with candid honesty about mental illness from when she was thirteen the day after going to a Smash Hits Polls Winner Party to the present day and how she has deals with alopecia, bulimia and drug dependency.

I feel that so many people will be able to relate to Bryony’s experiences from dropping out of university to not understanding why she is feeling the way she is when nothing has happened at home. I remember clearly when Bryony talked about the first time she went to the Doctor to get help and the Doctor telling her to book another appointment when it gets worse, her Mum and Bryony get into the car talk about it and go back in that day and book an appointment. Her astonishing accounts of OCD, (I remember reading that she brought her iron into work as she couldn’t convince herself that it was switched off), are really interesting. Bryony goes into great depth about her OCD and recalls some experiences that I could imagine other suffers wouldn’t want people (especially in a book that anyone could read!) to know.

Mad Girl isn’t preachy and Bryony doesn’t write in a way which she wants sympathy from the reader, it is just true honesty. From the back of this Bryony hosts a podcast called Mad World with The Telegraph and also created Mental Health Mates which a regular meet-up in parks for those with mental health issues.

According to Mind every year 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem. This means where ever you are in the workplace or classroom it is very likely that there will be someone you know has a mental health problem. If you want to understand more about mental health issues Mad Girl is a great starter.

 

 

 

Image of the book One by One by Chris Carter

*contains spoilers*

I love reading but I am not a massive fan of thriller books, until I read One by One by the Sunday Times number one bestseller Chris Carter.

One by One tells the story of Robert Hunter who is a detective with the LAPD. One day he receives a phone call at his office from a mysterious man who makes Robert choose how an innocent man is murdered. The killings continue and with the murderer seemingly always one step ahead, how many more people are going to die before Robert catches him. 

I read this book whilst I was on holiday, I had ran out of books so borrowed my partner’s. The blurb looked good so I gave it a go. I had to admit I was hooked from the first chapter it was very well interlinked with the murder, use of the internet to advertise the killings and psychology. The book also contains two very strong female characters- one is Robert’s boss and the other Michelle White is a talented female hacker in the FBI. What was really good was that there was no romance in the book, as soon as Michelle was introduced as a character I was thinking ‘oh no I bet Robert and her will end up becoming an item’ and take the book down a different route, but it didn’t. This was because I didn’t want the female to be the love interest.

At no point did I think that the story had gone on for too long, the chapters were short (the book is 500 pages long) and the writing focuses less on description but more on explaining the scene and moving on. The crimes (there is more than one) are explained in quite specific detail and demonstrates very well the ugly side of human nature. Overall I really would recommend the book if you want to have a story that keeps you guessing with lots of action. 

Image of the book Everyday Sexism, Girl Up, The Equality Illusion and Strong Woman

I have accumulated a lot of really inspiring and interesting books by feminists in the past three years and today’s post I share my favourites.

Feminist Fight Club – Jessica Bennett

I heard about this book in Cosmo magazine. Feminist Fight details situations in which women find themselves struggling in, in their working lives and how to work though them. Feminist Fight Club details situations such as the good old mansplaining, saying yes to everything and feeling overburdened and the wage gap. The book came about because the author was part of a club where women in professional roles would meet up and speak about what they would struggle with in the workplace. The book doesn’t come across as preachy, it is an easy read, the advice is useful and realistic. The only thing I disliked about the book was that it try’s too hard at times to be ‘cool’ by using words such as ‘femulate’ having rules and a starter kit for the fight club. It really isn’t needed and doesn’t make sense.

What I told my daughter – Nina Tassler

This book contains mini life stories from successful women and what they would pass to their daughters. It covers topics as diverse as the glass ceiling, resilience and courage. This book is easy to read and you can dip in and out of it at any point.

Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates

Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism project. In her first books writes about the everyday sexism that exists in everyday situations, including education, media, motherhood, politics and more. A very informative book full of facts and real life experiences from the Everyday Sexism site.

Girl Up – Laura Bates

What I would describe as the the younger sister to Everyday Sexism. Girl Up is meant to be a guide aimed at teenager women. This no bullsh**t book tackles issues head on that the majority of teen women unfortunately may encounter such as dealing with social media, cat calling and mental health.

Although a good read – I am out of the target audience this book is aimed at so I didn’t get anything out of it myself but I would recommend any teenage girl to read.

The Equality Illusion – Kat Banyard

The Equality Illusion is where Kat Banyard explodes the myths that women have never been in a more equal society. Like Everyday Sexism and Girl Up each chapter is covers a topic from education to reproduction to the sex industry. To be honest I found this book to be very similar to Everyday Sexism and Everyday Sexism was more thorougher.

Strong Woman – Karren Brady

I had to include this book because this autobiography covers the career of Karren Brady from starting out at Saatchi and Saatchi at 18, being managing director at Birmingham City football club at 23 and her opinions on working hard and how she balances being a working mother. Karren comes across as a really lovely person that isn’t afraid of hard work and gives some really good advice.

We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Last but certainly not least! We should all be feminists is based on the famous Tedx talk of the same name. Chimamanda explores what it is like to be a woman today from her own experience. The book is far, far too short and powerfully explores the importance of equality without it becoming preachy. I recieved this book at an NUS Woman in Leadership conference

What are your favourite feminist books? Have you read on the list and if so what did you think?

Image of the book

Recently I brought a load of books to keep me occupied over the Christmas period. One of them was this beauty of a book by Adelle Stripe. Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile tells the story of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar. Andrea Dunbar grew up in extreme poverty on the Buttershaw Estate an estate in Bradford, Yorkshire. The book is interesting because it is a fictional story based on Andrea’s life events. I had to admit after reading the book I googled to find out more information as it wasn’t clear to me if Andrea had been a real writer or not. Looking back at the book for writing this review it does say that it is a work of fiction and ‘an alternative version of historic events’.

The story is gritty, Andrea had gone through some real hardship, falling pregnant young and then miscarrying, living with an abusive partner and then moving to a safe house, her unhealthy relationship with alcohol and poverty. her playwriting comes in when her teacher at school picks up the fact that she has a talent for writing. This leads to her writing The Arbor which was performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1980. Rita, Sue and Bob too is the play which is she is well known for, debuted in 1982 tells the story of two women who have an affair with a married man. Her final play Shirley is about Shirley and her family and friends in an working class estate in Bradford in the 1980’s.

The book keeps you gripped throughout, at times the book makes you want to throttle Andrea as it seems that she is passing over opportunities at almost an act of self-sabotage.

I hadn’t heard of Andrea Dunbar before the book and I hadn’t heard of her screenplays before (it was in the 1980’s so before my time!) but I certainly want to read them. An extraordinary story about an extraordinary woman who managed to achieve her dream against every worse scenario possible.