A Film Noir student, John – Paul George ‘Ringo’ & the residents in a care home strike up alliances. In The Growing Pains of Jennifer Ebert: Aged 19 going on 90 by David M. Barnett.

  • Book Review

  • The Growing Pains of Jennifer Ebert Aged 19 going on 90

  • David M. Barnett

  • Trapeze

(ARC sent by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)

AMAZON / BN / WATERSTONES / INDIEBOUND

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Jennifer is a student, studying film noir. With student accommodation not yet built she is living off campus temporarily in a nursing home. The home is, somewhat, unique. It is home to five elderly residents and owned by the Granges. Joining Jennifer are fellow students Liverpudlian John – Paul George ‘Ringo’ and Bo Liu and Lling Liu.
There are a few secrets in the book, and I never knew which characters I could trust. Jennifer, in her opinion, is boring and so takes on a whole different persona in her new surroundings. She is so self-absorbed, I have to quote Hermione Granger and say ‘oh stop feeling all misunderstood,’ to her. She also lies about something HUGE, and when the lie is revealed she doesn’t seem to realise how wrong that it is. When will it click Jennifer?!


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Via GIPHY

The residents in the nursing home, on one hand, did feel like clichés, and Ringo did not convince me as a character, but are very amusing and I laughed out loud at a lot of their exchanges; with the discussions between the two groups about ‘when they were young’, Brexit and how the young are more self-absorbed than their generation. Typical stuff, really.
There is a mystery in the book, and I kind of felt the author didn’t know whether to go all in with that part of the story or not, and so I was underwhelmed by the ending as it seemed so at odds with other parts of the book, where all the residents are bonding, going out and getting drunk, and with everyone working together to stop the home from closing. There is a poignancy to the book, about aging, and loneliness, and in being happy with who you are, and who your family are.

I took from the book the message that our experiences from childhood, what beliefs we are brought up with, and the gripes and grudges we hold onto all our lives can impact us in different ways, leaving us unfulfilled. We must choose to change or remain entrenched in our prejudices.


A Who Review & a little bit about one of my first loves.

Doctor Who changed my life. I wasn’t an avid watcher when the iconic TV show returned in 2005, with Christopher Ecclestone as the time travelling Doctor, but t didn’t take me long to fall hard for the show though. One thing that the show taught me was that anything is possible, and that there is a lot more to our world than you could ever imagine. David Tennant played the role of the Doctor after Chris and during my teenage years, when I had depression and anxiety, the show became my escape.

The publishing imprint Target published books which were novelisations of Doctor Who episodes. They were first published in the sixties, and continued to be throughout the eighties, by various writers that had written episodes for the TV series. Nowadays that series of books have evolved, with a different publisher, hardback editions, and emerging writers writing the stories (a fan dream)

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So I was a little bit excited to find that the original Target books had returned, and feature novelisations of Twenty-First century episodes. Rose was the episode that started it all in 2005 and will always have a place in my heart. I can remember vividly how bloody creepy the mannequins that creaked and smashed their way from shop windows and onto the streets of London were. The bits that were cut from the actual episode are included in the book and add something new to the story. It’s also nice to read the story from Rose’s perspective and get a little more background of her and boyfriend Mickey’s childhood and what it was like for them growing up. I am not a huge fan of Rose’s character. I always thought she would have been one of the mean girls in school. Avoid.

I feel so geeky writing this review, because I was routinely taken the piss out of at school for liking Doctor Who waaaay to much. 😂 😭

Honestly, if someone likes something, and wants to talk about it for a few hours just be encouraging, and kind, not like ‘ha ha, you’re weird,’ Some of us are too sensitive for this kind of ribbing.


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