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.


Brain Dump: feeling all of the emotions

hello, hope you are all well.

i’m not going to lie, i am emotionally all over the gaff. i have been feeling so many emotions and it’s all a bit strange. i normally feel nothing on this level and if i’m not careful i can feel my way into complete panic and then i struggle to breathe. i usually have SAD and it lifts around this time of year. instead i’m getting depression 24/7. it feels strange, unexpected. nothing to do with my period. so this feels like something else i need to navigate. of course, i am not underestimating this virus and what that is doing to us all. i think we’re all probably feeling, well, a little bit of everything right now. there’s so much death, and uncertainty. it is one day at a time. if you get through a day, high five. that shit is difficult. i am usually isolated. because of my anxiety my life is restricted in lots of ways and with the threat of ‘rona it feels no-one is carrying on as normal, so that doesn’t feel reassuring that at least the world outside of my flat is going on. because it isn’t.

i think one of the disturbing emotions for me is loneliness. i have been lonely for years. i have no friends. i am used to it. i think i may have been squashing those feelings down. i am now feeling the disconnect from people and that’s making me sad. how on earth do i live such an isolated life, that’s sad. i’m not continuing with counselling at the moment, i can’t afford to. i started counselling sessions last year and i think it has opened Pandora’s box because i just don’t stop thinking about the past and the trauma. now i’m not verbalising that face to face with someone, i think it is having an effect. obviously, it is.

i am still trying though. i have dumped, or parked, the shit that doesn’t matter and i cannot control. i am mainly trying to be productive because that gives my day structure and stay sober because i don’t need to be pouring gasoline on the flames – that will not help and not let my bf drive me up the wall because he is in all sorts of ways and i let other people’s moods infect mine. i need to stop doing that. he’s bored, not my job to entertain him. it isn’t like we don’t own enough books. and how can you get bored with reading? how?

at this point i don’t think anyone is reading my blog, understandably people’s priorities have changed. but i am going to continue blogging as a form of saving my sanity. if you are reading, hi and thank you. especially if you have read this. i want to share a line from a poem i wrote.

because i do feel so much of my growing was done in the dark, in my bedroom, and it didn’t feel like growing. it felt i was wasting time, i didn’t care (you don’t when you’re depressed) and i didn’t feel i was doing anything of any note. i was worrying about the future, the rent, am i ever going to be able to keep a job and have a career (i didn’t care because i was depressed, which gave me a great feeling of hopelessness) i mean, i was surviving. surviving is pretty fucking huge. what is that quote. you have survived a 100% of your bad days so far, you’re doing great.

i’m not going to say and that is why we will survive this current mess we are in. we can at least appreciate that there is hope. even if we’re feeling like utter crap (she says ever so eloquently)

those are my thoughts. thank you for reading. leave a comment if you like.