Going back to the early 2000’s. What I read as a child.


Hello. Hope you’re ok.


I spent a good chunk of time trying to find one of my favourite reads from my childhood last week and, after finding it, I went on to find other books that unlocked memories. I was born in 1995, not a time of great diversity in publishing if we’re looking at this list and as for Diary of a Chav <puffs out cheeks> I should mention a lot of these books I read because they were there and I could find them in charity shops or the public library. Trying to read a series of books (in order) proved impossible and I liked authors I knew had other books to read. I found comfort in familiarity.
I might try getting a hold of some of these books and re-reading them. Possibly setting myself up for disappointment.


  • Dustbin Baby – Jacqueline Wilson

  • The Granny Project – Anne Fine

  • The Famous Five – Enid Blyton

  • Diary of a Chav – Grace Dent

  • Just Henry – Michelle Magorian

  • Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman

  • Lucky Star – Cathy Cassidy

  • Ally’s World – Karen McCombie

  • The Babysitter’s Club – Ann. M. Martin

  • Blitzed – Robert Swindells

  • The Shell House – Linda Newbury

  • Pink Knickers Aren’t Cool – Jean Ure

  • There’s a Pharaoh in our Bath – Jeremy Strong

  • Matilda – Roald Daul

  • Lady Daisy – Dick King Smith

  • Trust me, I’m A Troublemaker – Pete Johnson

What do you think, have you read any of these books?


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Well, this was a mess. The Midwife’s Sister: The Story of Call The Midwife’s Jennifer Worth by her sister Christine.

Millions have fallen in love with Jennifer Worth and her experiences in the East End as chronicled in Call the Midwife but little is known about her life outside this period. Now, in this moving and evocative memoir, Jennifer’s sister, Christine, takes us from their early idyllic years to the cruelty and neglect they suffered after their parents divorced, from Jennifer being forced to leave home at fourteen to their training as nurses.

After leaving nursing Jennifer took up a career in music, her first love, and Christine became a sculptor, but through marriages and children, joy and heartbreak, their lives remained intertwined. Absorbing and emotional, The Midwife’s Sister by Christine Lee is testimony to an enduring bond between two extraordinary women.

Waterstones

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

oh no, I have another negative book review.

ok. This was a difficult read. A very hard read.

The title is correct, the description of the book misleading.

The two sisters did not get on. Their childhood was fucking tough after the divorce of their parents. This isn’t Jenny’s story. She isn’t portrayed as the saint she was in The Call the Midwife books. God knows, we’re all flawed and given her background. She was thrown out at 15 and was in a secret relationship with an older man. The book lacks warmth. The copy I read needed editing. I didn’t enjoy the writing. It’s a long book. It is revealing. If you like Call the Midwife, this book may spoil it for you. I wondered at times what I was reading and why. I went into reading this not having looked at the blurb or the reviews and certainly didn’t expect what I read. The Midwife’s Sister was interesting.


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https://ko-fi.com/klpoetry

My Thoughts on the autobiography My Name is Why by poet Lemn Sissay.

At the age of 17, after a childhood in an fostered family followed by six years in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate. He learned that his real name was not Norman. It was Lemn Sissay. He was British and Ethiopian. And he learned that his mother had been pleading for his safe return to her since his birth.  

Here Sissay recounts his life story. It is a story of neglect and determination. Misfortune and hope. Cruelty and triumph.  

Sissay reflects on a childhood in care, self-expression and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home. Written with all the lyricism and power you would expect from one of the nation’s best-loved poets, this moving, frank and timely memoir is the result of a life spent asking questions, and a celebration of the redemptive power of creativity.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

It doesn’t feel right to say I enjoyed reading this book, because this is a non-fiction book on Sissay’s childhood in care and

You know I read non-fiction and when I read stories on children that have grown up in the care system, it’s a broke system. We have broke systems throughout this country.

It’s a read, is what I will say. Read it. Then go read the man’s poetry too.


Want to point out, not readable electronically. There are case notes throughout the book and they are hard to read. Buy the book http://Waterstones or you can listen to it for free with an audible trial.

Contains affiliate links. Doesn’t cost you anything, helps me out if you click on ‘em. Thank you.

My Thoughts on Two Non-Fiction reads

Dry by Augustin Burroughs

Published by Atlantic Books

4/5

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I think I prefer that second cover.

Dry is the story of Augustin, of his drinking which isn’t a problem, of entering rehab at the request of his employers, and then navigating life on the outside: sober. I highlighted this part – when Augustin began to realise the consequences of his drinking, demonstrated by the bottles that had piled up in his flat and on his return home, having to bag them all up. I liked that metaphoric imagery of the weight of drinking. (Looking too deeply into things again, Kate?)

Quote 

‘I feel like I drank a bottle of wine. I even feel guilty,’
‘Exactly,’ I say, relieved that he feels it too. Relieved that I am not the only one who is so unaccustomed to happiness and the feeling of impending punishment that follows.’


Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller

Published by Amazon Publishing

3/5

comingclean
Coming Clean is a well written memoir, starting with stories from Kimberly’s childhood – then expanding on her family and her father: a hoarder. I liked how she wrote about hoarding realities vs the stereotypical images we have all seen depicted on televisions shows. It was a good read if you want a real, honest account on what it is like to live with and know a hoarder.


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

growingpainsofjenkl


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?!


potter
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.