Book Review

Book Review : My Dad Is Ten Years Old by Mark O’Sullivan.

MyDadIsTenYearsOldHis name is Jimmy. They told us not to call him Dad any more. It might freak him out.

The accident changed everything. Once, my Dad was the perfect father. We were the perfect family. Now he’s got the mind of a ten-year-old.

From one crazy day to the next, we lose a little more of the man we knew and loved.

And then a shocking discovery about his past makes us question everything …

I picked this book up purely based on the title, the blurb on the back suggested that there might be more to the book than I was expecting from the title and so I borrowed it from the library and got reading. There are two main plot threads to the book, the first is the one I was expecting – the story of a family adjusting to Jimmy (the father) suffering a traumatic brain injury that has left him with the mind of a ten-year-old and no memories of any of them. The second however was more of a surprise – there is a mystery thread as the family find that Jimmy had been keeping secrets from them and they try and unravel them.

The book is narrated by Eala, she’s the middle child of three with an older brother Sean and baby brother Tom. She’s an interesting character, she’s at that tricky stage of being a teenager and then has all the added pressures of her family situation which results in her not always being the most sympathetic of characters. At times I found her to be pretty self-centred but then I think she probably had reasons to be. There were lots of characters that I liked, I would have liked to know a bit more about Sean as he interested me.

One small issue I did have with the book was with the use of Irish slang. I don’t normally mind it when colloquial language and terms are used, I find it interesting to see how language varies by location, but in this book I found at times that I was having to just guess at what words meant. This did have the effect of pulling me out of the book periodically.

I enjoyed the book but it didn’t quite live up to what I’d been expecting from it. I think it was an interesting topic to cover but I think perhaps that whilst the mystery element was added to increase the drama for me instead it took away from the plotline I was really interested to read.

My Dad Is Ten Years Old is published by Puffin in the UK.

Book Review

Book Review : A Diary of The Lady by Rachel Johnson.

‘The whole place seemed completely bonkers: dusty, tatty, disorganized and impossibly old-fashioned, set in an age of doilies and flag-waving patriotism and jam still for tea, some sunny day.’

Appointed editor of The Lady – the oldest women’s weekly in the world – Rachel Johnson faced the challenge of a lifetime. For a start, how do you become an editor when you’ve never, well, edited? How do you turn around a venerable title, full of ads for walk-in baths, during the worst recession EVER? And forget doubling the circulation in a year – what on earth do you wear to work when you’ve spent the last fifteen years at home in sweatpants?

Will Rachel save The Lady – or sink it?

I watched the Channel 4 documentary about Rachel Johnson taking over the editorship of The Lady so I thought this book could be an interesting read. Before watching the documentary my sole knowledge of the magazine was that one of the porters who ran a Halls of Residence I lived in during my first degree swore by it as the place to find work.

The book’s written in diary form, it begins in June 2009 before Johnson is asked to interview for the post of editor, and goes through to June 2010 (my copy is the hardback version, the subsequent paperback and eBook releases have extra content and go through to early 2011). These diary entries include snippets of emails and letters that she receives and lists of the many and varied items that appear in her in tray.

The book does cover the same ground that the documentary covered, though with far more detail, and it’s with Johnson’s spin rather than the documentary maker’s. Before starting to read the book I knew I needed to put my own personal beliefs and politics to one side or I would more than likely end up wanting to throw the book across the room. Even after this I still found parts of the book difficult going.

Throughout the book my feelings were really mixed, and eventually I worked out why. When Johnson is talking about the job of taking over a magazine, and dealing with challenging staff and external influences my interest level was high. When she was talking about the endless parties and social events she attends, and drops names at a rate of knots my interest was low. I know that the two things do overlap, but I could really have done with less of the high society schmoozing.

One thing I did really love about the book was that each section that covered a month was preceded by a cover of the magazine. These dated back to 1899 and came right up to date, it was fascinating seeing how the covers had evolved over time – some of the older ones are absolutely beautiful.

Whilst this was a fairly interesting read I’m rather glad my version is the shorter one, by the time I got to the end I was definitely ready to finish reading. I’m sure lots of people will love this, but for me it was just okay.

A Diary of The Lady is published in hardback, paperback and eBook by Penguin in the UK.

Book Review

Book Review : Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling.

‘YOU’RE THE LAST OF THE WEREWOLVES SON. DON’T FIGHT IT . . . CONQUER IT.’

When the air is clear, sixteen year-old Drew Ferran can pick up the scent of a predator. When the moon breaks through the clouds, a terrifying fever grips him. And when a vicious beast invades his home, his flesh tears, his fingers become claws, and Drew transforms . . .

Forced to flee the family he loves, Drew seeks refuge in the most godforsaken parts of Lyssia. But when he is captured by Lord Bergan’s men, Drew must prove he is not the enemy. Can Drew battle the werecreatures determined to destroy him – and master the animal within?

This book starts gently, describing farmboy Drew, but already you get the feeling that something isn’t quite right. Within the first few chapters the first major event takes place and from then on the plot rattles along nicely. Drew acts both as the main character and as the reader’s way into the wonderful world created by Jobling – as Drew didn’t know he was a werewolf he didn’t know anything of the world of werelords. This world building is a key part of the plot and one I loved, at every turn there is a new were- species to be unveiled, my favourite was one of the last to be revealed – an animal I would have never thought could be a were- but one that works brilliantly.

I loved the character of Drew, for me he was just the right mix of headstrong yet uncertain teenager and leading man. The characters around Drew are also well written, and interesting. I particularly liked the character of Hector and the way his friendship with Drew evolved throughout the book. I also found I developed a soft spot for the lovely Duke Bergen. The plot is essentially journey based so this means there are lots of characters that are met along the way. I never found that I was having trouble keeping track of the more minor characters or that any of them had been less developed simply because they were only making a brief appearance.

I really enjoyed reading this book and am already eagerly awaiting the next instalment in the series. I think this has the potential to become a new favourite series.

Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf is published in paperback by Penguin in the UK priced £6.99. I would like to thank Penguin for offering the prize copy of this book that I won from Fluttering Butterflies.