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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Do you ever do something and think afterwards how the f**k did I do that? IF ONLY IT COULD BE BOTTLED, THAT COURAGE.
I am talking about traveling with anxiety.
I have suffered with anxiety my whole life. It has limited my life to the extent I don’t go out, and if I do it’s after dark and to the supermarket to stock up on pasta and ice cream.
I have a partner I have been with for a few years. We did attempt to go out as a couple to restaurants and the like, but quickly had to knock that on the head because my anxiety did not make the experience at all fun. Then shit happened and going out at all became impossible.
That said, we have gone on holidays abroad. This is the point I think HOW?
Going on holiday is stressful, if like me you have agoraphobia and anxiety. For my partner it is enjoyable. Yes. Enjoyable. What a strange old word. Let’s break it down.
Travelling with Anxiety
Writing a list. A travel inventory. Nothing must be forgotten. Shades, toiletries – are they in a clear bag and to the measurements required, pads – you never know I might start my period, notebook, books, flip flops, charger – spare charger, snacks, magazine, toilet rolls, an outfit for my hand luggage – in case I puke over myself on the plane (keeping it classy) blanket, towel, sweeteners – am I the only person who feels bad when someone on the plane has forgotten their sweeteners and the cabin crew don’t have any, raincoat, tickets, printout of travel/hotel info, wipes, soap, money – in all currencies, tissues, water bottle.
Yes, this stuff can be bought in Spain or Germany or wherever. Yes, it is ok to forget something. TELL THAT TO MY BRAIN.
Packing the suitcase. Have to remember carrier bags, day outfits, socks, underwear, night outfits, evening outfits, pyjamas, loungewear, OH MY GOD THE SUITCASE ISN’T ZIPPING SHUT.
Traveling to the airport. That involves a train into London, an overnight stay in a hotel, worrying about dinner, and breakfast, trying to sleep in a bed that is not my own, what if my alarm doesn’t ring and we miss our flight, what if I don’t have time for a shower – I don’t want people to think I stink, setting the alarm 8 times so it goes off in the lift, and in the taxi on the way to the airport AND NOT BEING ABLE TO TURN IT OFF, worrying I may have left something in the hotel when I leave – I DIDN’T UNPACK ANYTHING.
The airport. Oh the airport. Trying to navigate the way into the airport, onto the shuttle, finding the toilets, waving off our suitcases, trying to hydrate and simultaneously trying to finish the bottle of water before we go through security, finding another toilet, queue at security, sweating because – you never know – I might get arrested, wondering if you will ever see your hand luggage again when you have relinquished it, the waiting, the delays, wandering through endless cold corridors – which always make me think of the time corridors in Doctor Who – my partner gets thoroughly annoyed every time I mention it,
all this while trying to rearrange my face to appear ‘normal’ while inside I am losing my shit, having no idea what to do with my hands, trying to not get stomped on by people in a bigger rush to get this done with than me,
then asking myself if my face has changed from my passport photo and they won’t let me on the plane, more waiting, waiting, getting onto those stairs to the plane – they frighten me – I don’t like heights, knowing as someone with a large chest someone is going to elbow my boobs, or going to get them in their head or back, and how on earth you get comfortable in a plane seat I do not know. As soon as I am sat in my seat I want to leave. There is no personal space, my knees are in jeopardy, and I immediately get a headache as soon as the plane takes off.
You think at this point I would have a chance to breathe, but no. I am counting down the minutes until the plane gets back onto solid ground. I’m not quiet about this either.
Being in a foreign country unsettles me. It’s because home is a bit too far away for comfort.
Queuing for the toilet, queuing, more queuing, and finding our suitcases. Is there no better way? Maybe it is just me, but how do I pull my suitcase off that thing without me landing on my backside.
I don’t know why, but we get a coach transfer to our hotel. It is a new kind of hell. Waiting for everyone to get onto the coach, onto the right coach, the relinquishing of luggage again as it goes in the boot, I worry about all of the kids running around, I worry about how the rest of the day is going to pan out now we are actually HERE.
It takes me 2 days to recover. So why do I do it to myself?
Because my anxiety is limiting, it also limits my partner’s life. I’m not going to tell him we can’t go on holiday, because there’s already a lot we don’t do because of my anxiety.
It’s like a bruise. Curiosity makes me keep prodding it. Travel is exciting. I like the idea of it. I like experiencing new places. New foods and new people not so much. Anxiety inducing. The holiday we had last year was relatively less stressful, which I think means I may be getting used to it. Also the airport was trying a new way of easing queues and getting people onto their flights quicker. That worked like a dream.
It’s a privilege to travel as well, my family could never afford to take me and my two siblings abroad. I think my parents probably had enough of taking us to stay in a caravan for a week. The memories I have of that are being in a stuffy car, ants and endless walking. I still had anxiety then. I will forever dislike piers. How can walking along slats of wood across the sea ever be fun? I used to have nightmares about falling into the sea. It doesn’t take a lot to fuel my imagination.
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?
We are going back in time to December 2019. I did read this story then and somehow the review has been in my drafts ever since – even though I could have sworn I posted it?
I am now a massive supporter of the Lady Hardcastle mysteries. The characters are beginning to feel like people I know.
Christmas at the Grange felt like a full-length novel, opposed to a short story that takes no more than an hour to read. It is set at The Grange, the home of The Farley-Stroud’s. They are one of my favourite couples in books, so good to learn more about them and their home. While I feel a lot of short stories are a cast-off idea and fall short, Christmas at the Grange did not. It had a great idea, the usual brilliant dialogue between the characters and is a lot of fun.
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