Book Review. This is Just my Face Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe.

gabourey-sidibe

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Book Review

I loved the book Precious, and so I requested to review Gabourey’s memoir to find out about the person who played the character Precious in the film of that book, as I thought Gabourey played the role brilliantly. In This is Just my Face she talks about that, and the feeling she had of being a contest winner as she stood between Paula Patton, and Mariah Carey on the red carpet, and described her ill-judged wardrobe choices, which I found so relatable, as was when she writes, ‘I couldn’t tell her that I couldn’t stop crying and that I hated everything about myself,’

Before she starred in Precious Gabourey was depressed, worked in a call centre, and didn’t have the desire to be a actress. Gabourey Sidibe writes about her childhood, but that is a whole story in itself, and I will leave that for you to read if you pick up a copy of this book.
Fame is frankly written about: the false rumours about her death, and misconceptions around money. Gabourey is down to earth, funny, and her book is one of those you don’t realise where you are, what’s going on around you, or even that you’re reading, because This is Just my Face is so entertaining.

 My only issue was I felt because some people had predicted Gabourey would be famous in the future, that she was almost flippant about getting the role of Precious, as she had such little acting experience – she was a two time college dropout, and then finds her purpose in life in acting, and in that breakthrough role. It read like a fairytale. I don’t know if that makes sense. I think if you experience depression, like me, you read memoirs and want to find out what did they do to overcome depression and achieve huge success. Or how do you do that when you feel like shit. But that doesn’t mean the depression has gone away.

I felt disappointed by the end of the book. If I re-read This is Just my Face, I might feel differently. Overall, an enjoyable read, and it gives you an insight into fame, and family.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for gifting me with a copy of this book! 

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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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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.

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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

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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.