14 Mar 2017
in Book Review
Tags: 1st person account, a manifestation of her illness, a memoir of obsessive compulsive disorder, a memoir of ocd, alter ego, because we are bad, because we are bad - a memoir of ocd, bio, biography, book, books, cbt, cognitive behavior therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, complex, crippling disease, diagnosis, disorder, dispels misconceptions, distress, distresses, elaborate systems, english female journalist, exposure, first person account, forthright account, grapples with mental illness, group therapy, heart-breaking, honest, journalist, lily bailey, medication, memoir, mental health, mental health struggles, mental illness, model, negative thoughts, obtrusive thoughts, raw, relatable, remove the stigmas, resonate, response prevention, review, reviews, rituals, ruminating, rumination, silent battle, therapy, turbulent life, vulnerable, writer
Because We Are Bad is a devastating memoir where the author actually lived, breathed and believed the title. The book is a chronicle of Lily Bailey’s years spend living with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) from her initial diagnosis as a child through to becoming a young woman. The story is a relatable, first person account of the mental illness and it’s one that should resonate with people who have this disorder as well as helping to dispel some of the misconceptions that are out there.
This book is reminiscent of Emily Reynold’s A Beginner’s Guide to Losing Your Mind. Both volumes are by young, English female journalists and they are honest accounts of their grapples with mental illness. Neither book attempts to romanticise the individual’s respective disorder, instead they attempt to remove the stigmas surrounding it with their brutally honest and forthright accounts.
In Bailey’s case the story is told in the first person along with her complex alter ego (a manifestation of her illness). Bailey recalls the distresses she experienced from early childhood when she was concerned that her sister would come into harm or even die if she failed to check up on her. These ideas became obtrusive thoughts that were repeated to the point of becoming an elaborate system consisting of actual rituals.
Lily spent a lot of time ruminating over negative thoughts. She would worry that she had poor personal hygiene and that people hated her or thought she was a pervert. She collected these ideas and constantly thought about the first letters of each word relating to these things. Bailey’s struggles escalated and became a silent battle that plagued her day and night to the point that it became a crippling disease.
Because We Are Bad may be a raw and heart-breaking read but it’s also a hopeful one. Bailey is now a successful model and journalist and hopefully readers can take away and learn from the things that helped her. In Bailey’s case this was cognitive behaviour therapy, which included response prevention and exposure as well as medication and group therapy. Because We Are Bad shows the inner turbulent life of a vulnerable young woman who has OCD and it also proves that people do not need to be alone in their mental health struggles. By reading such accounts we can all have a more realistic view of what the individuals with these diseases experience so that we can all get real about mental illness and the way it impacts life.
***Please note: a free copy of this book was won by the writer through a Bookstr giveaway. To read the original review on that website please visit: https://www.bookstr.com/book/because-we-are-bad/10700167/
24 Feb 2017
in Book Review
Tags: aftermath of relationship breakdown, antidote, barbeque chicken, bbq chicken, bold, book, books, break-up, broadcaster, cat, cranky, dating, dating apps, dating manual, dating odyssey, ex-girlfriend, exes, heart break, heartbreak, helen razer, honest, how i took my waxer's advice and cured heartbreak by going on 100 dates in less than a year, lady, loss, love, marxism, memoir, messy, needed to grow, online dating, opinonated, politics, relationship break-up, relationship breakdown, relationships, review, reviews, self-help guide, strong, the helen 100, the helen one hundred, unfiltered, writer
There was the bride stripped bare and now there’s the dumped stripped without a care. In The Helen 100, broadcaster and writer, Helen Razer is disarmingly honest in recounting the aftermath of the breakdown of her 15-year relationship. It’s a tale that thumbs its nose at traditional, dating self-help guides and instead offers something more funny and grounded in reality (the pain and heartbreak may be real but Razer sure does know how to make ‘em laugh).
Razer begins her dating odyssey by describing the day one dry Melbourne afternoon when her partner announced without warning that she was leaving and “Needed to grow.” It was only later on when Helen reflected on things (and hacked the ex’s Facebook account) where she learned that the writing had been on the wall for the relationship for some time. Her ex-girlfriend had been cheating on her and there were several occasions where these love trysts happened when Razer was standing several metres away.
Razer takes some tentative steps into the crazy and occasionally frightening world of online dating. She does this with her sweet cat, Eleven by her side and the pair share a diet of barbeque chicken and sadness (it’s a dish best consumed in sorrowful, elasticised pants like pyjamas.) Razer also decides to publicly criticise Coldplay (thank God) and embark on 100 dates inside a year. It will be one point per date and a maximum of five per individual and no, this isn’t an Australian Bridget Jones.
This book is not a gritty tell-all. Do not expect Helen to sit there writing about date one and his bad breath or that date two didn’t turn up. Instead, Razer recounts the exchanges she had with potential suitors on a XXX app (males and females) as well as the recent events in her life (like chucking in her soul-destroying job writing copy for a discount beauty website.) She also describes her world views on politics, which make this book not unlike Lee Zachariah’s Double Dissolution: Heartbreak and Chaos on the Campaign Trail.
Razer is an opinionated individual with some very clear ideas about politics. It is unsurprising then that we see her discussing Marxism with a man in possession of a “Big Slavic cock” (in his humble opinion). We don’t find out if Razer agrees with his assessment because she actually spends her night with this Russian man and his daughter. She is also forcibly restrained in order to watch the Barbie Live show (I may have made up the part about the restraint.)
The Helen 100 is an antidote to love just like Adam Sandler singing “Love Stinks” in The Wedding Singer or if you burn rather than listen to a Cure album. Razer is one cranky and messy lady but damn, she is one we can all relate to. Her story is a fresh take on love and heartbreak in all of its complicated wretchedness. The Helen 100 is an unfiltered and bold conversation that we all need to have and we should be glad that Helen wasn’t afraid to go there- chicken, cat hair and all.
Originally published on 22 February 2017 at the following website: http://arts.theaureview.com/reviews/book-review-helen-razers-the-helen-100-is-a-brutally-honest-look-at-heartbreak-and-bbq-chicken/
Visit The Au Review’s homepage at: http://www.theaureview.com/
24 Jan 2017
in Book Review
Tags: acrimonious break-up, affable, angie marr, artist, autobiography, biography, book, books, direct, Electronic, fashion, for self-respecting fans of the smiths, frank, fun, grounded, guitar, guitar rock, guitarist, Hans Zimmer, hit singles, honest, independent music, john martin maher, johnny marr, Mancunian, marathon runner, memoir, mike joyce, modest mouse, morrissey, music, musician, neil finn, nile marr, Paul McCartney, positive, quintessential english gentleman, review, reviews, romance, romantic, sonny marr, steven morrissey, sunny, talking heads, teetotaller, the cribs, the smiths guitarist, The The, there is a light that never goes out, this charming man, vegan, wonderful life
Here’s Johnny! For years Johnny Marr has created great music and influenced multiple generations of guitarists by wearing various musical hats. Set The Boy Free is the first time the former guitarist of The Smiths has committed the story of his life to paper. This book is a cracking read and it proves that Marr is one charming man, indeed.
Johnny Marr was born John Martin Maher to two young, Irish immigrants in Manchester in 1963. At the age of five he got his first guitar and he grew up to be a lad that was obsessed with music and clothes. As a teenager he would work at a few different clothing shops while he toyed with the idea of forming a band.
In 1982 Marr tracked down Steven Morrissey, whom he’d met through a mutual friend some years earlier. This meeting marked the beginning of a chaotic and important few years where The Smiths would release four studio albums and numerous hit singles. The group helped revitalise interest in guitar rock and independent music in England and their songs are anthems that continue to get played to this day. This period makes up a significant portion of Marr’s book, although he does tend to gloss over the band’s rather acrimonious break-up.
Marr sounds like the quintessential English gentleman in this book. He also sounds like a wonderful and affable chap that you’d love to have a beer with (or an orange juice, as he is now a marathon-running teetotaller and vegan). Unlike Morrissey’s more bitter and cynical, Autobiography, Marr’s story is instead one that is filled with a kind of romantic and misty-eyed optimism. When Marr does tackle a difficult subject like the lawsuit brought against himself and Morrissey by his former Smiths-bandmate, Mike Joyce, he gives the story short shrift, instead choosing to focus his words on sunnier things like music and songwriting. (Although in a curious twist, Marr does say that he met up with Morrissey in 2008 and that they discussed the possibility of a Smiths reunion but that this did not eventuate into anything).
This autobiography may take a positive stance towards things but this could be due to the fact that Marr realises that he has a lot to be thankful for. He met his wife, Angie when he was 15 and the pair remain happily married and together to this day. He’s the father to a grown-up son and daughter, Nile and Sonny, and there was a period where Marr and Morrissey’s friendship was a close and happy one. These elements of Marr’s memoir do not prevent him from being frank and honest at other points. Marr admits that he told a journalist he didn’t like Michael’s Jackson’s Thriller album and he describes the Twitter storm that erupted after he forbade David Cameron, the then Prime Minister of Britain from being (or claiming to be) a Smiths fan.
This book is not the most polished one in a literary sense but it is all of Marr’s own work and it is a fun and easy read. Marr is friends with and has collaborated with lots of people. There are stories involving no less than: Hans Zimmer, Paul McCartney, Neil Finn, The The, Talking Heads, The Cribs, Modest Mouse and Electronic, to name a few. Marr has a great anecdote about the time he discussed some important things with the former Beatle that’s worth the price of admission alone. Marr’s stories are interesting to read and are often filled with great advice and wisdom. For example, Marr received some advice from a teacher when he was a school boy and that was: to find something he liked, be good at it and be an artist rather than getting bored or in trouble. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it with the benefit of hindsight.
Set The Boy Free is a must-read for any self-respecting fan of The Smiths. It is Johnny Marr’s direct and grounded account of a wonderful life in music and his forays into the world of fashion. This rock autobiography is a romantic story from an energetic and enigmatic Englishman who isn’t content to just sit back on his laurels. Johnny Marr wants to continue making great music and he’s revved up by fans who know that in Messer Marr there is most certainly a light that never goes out.
Originally published on 23 January 2017 at the following website: http://arts.theaureview.com/books/book-review-johnny-marrs-set-the-boy-free-is-an-honest-fun-look-at-the-energetic-life-of-the-former-smiths-guitarist-and-quintessential-english-gentleman/
Visit The Au Review’s homepage at: http://www.theaureview.com/
01 Jan 2017
in Blu-ray Review
Tags: animated series, basic animations, beer-swilling boob working a boring job, bill burr, bill murphy, blu-ray, bluray, cartoon, cartoon family, comedy, crude animations, dark humour, Debi Derryberry, distasteful jokes, dysfunctional family, f is for family, frank murphy, haley reinhart, honest, inspired by bill burr's childhood, justin long, kevin murphy, korean war veteran, laura dern, michael price, mohican airlines, needs more jokes, netflix series, one-liners, parody, racist, review, reviews, set in the 1970s, set in the seventies, stereotypes, swearing, terrible parent, the murphy family, unapologetic, unoriginal
The letter “f” is at the beginning of a few different words. There’s the animated Netflix series, F Is For Family. There’s also “fail,” “f**ed,” “flimsy” and “forgettable.” It is easy to sit back and say that the aforementioned series about a dysfunctional family lead by a beer-swilling boob that works in a boring job is unoriginal insofar as that description could be used to describe numerous TV shows (Married With Children and The Simpsons are just two that immediately spring to mind.) F Is For Family is not a perfect show but what it does do well is that it is honest and offers no apologies, if it wants to use crude animations, characters swearing and making jokes that were acceptable in the seventies but are deemed racist today then it will take you there for better or worse and whether you want to or not.
The series is created by comedian Bill Burr and Michael Price (The Simpsons.) It should come as no surprise that the series obviously draws inspiration from both of its creators. For Burr it is in the long and angry rants that the Korean War-veteran father, Frank Murphy regularly delivers (a character that is also voiced by Burr.) There are also plenty of one-liner jokes that are quite obviously ripped off of The Simpsons because as South Park once declared, “The Simpsons already did it.”
F Is For Family stars the Murphy family. There is the father Frank, a disgruntled former baggage handler who has recently been promoted to middle manager at Mohican Airlines. There is his long-suffering wife (Laura Dern,) a woman who aspires to be more than just a housewife and a lady that voluntarily sells plast-a-ware (a take on Tupperware) to people. Kevin Murphy (Justin Long) is like a grown-up Bart Simpson in that he’s an underachiever and proud of it. His younger brother, Bill (Haley Reinhart) is a pathetic little wimp and wallflower and a kid who is easily manipulated and taken advantage of by the youngest Murphy, Maureen (Debi Derryberry.)
This show is a serialised one so we follow the storylines through the six episodes of the first series. Frank begins by trying to outdo his rich and handsome next-door neighbour by purchasing a colour TV that he cannot afford. Frank is not an overly likeable character, especially when he demands a hot meal and peace and quiet from his wife and kids. He also undermines his wife’s chance at a job and he is a terrible parent. Frank invents “Summer in Alaska” in a bid to get his children to go to bed in the afternoon and he offers “helpful” advice like, “Be nice to your sister. Someday you’ll be sleeping on her couch after your first divorce!”
F Is For Family has its moments but it could do with some more jokes. It could also resist the urge to resort to stereotypes and perhaps remove some characters altogether (the family’s German neighbour for instance, is a presumed Nazi but is actually a Holocaust survivor and these jokes often leave a bad taste in your mouth.) F Is For Family is a parody of a dysfunctional family set in the 1970s and is inspired in part by Burr’s childhood. It uses dark humour, basic animations and some distasteful jokes in order to make a point. While this can be rather enjoyable at times, at other moments it feels like yet another dysfunctional family in a sitcom running through the same old jokes on repeat.
Originally published on 28 December 2016 at the following website: http://www.impulsegamer.com/f-is-for-family-dvd-review/
Visit Impulse Gamer’s homepage at: http://www.impulsegamer.com
14 Nov 2016
in Book Review
Tags: activisit, aki, atomic bombing, atomic bombing survivor, book, books, brutal, caren stelson, cautionary tale, decimated, essential reading, exposure, fat man, fundamental chapter, gruesome, hardship, hibakusha, honest, human resilience, ichiro, infomration, informative, maps, nagasaki bomb survivor, narrative, non-fiction, nuclear fallout, nuclear weaponry, peace, perils of war, photographs, radiation poisoning, raw, respectful, review, reviews, sachiko, sachiko and her family, sachiko yasui, story, survivor, symptoms, toshi, tragedy, tragedy of war, war, world war 2 bombing, world war ii bombing, ww2 bombing, wwii bombing
The story of Sachiko and other hibakusha are important, as they chronicle a fundamental part of history. This book also supports Yasui’s work as an activist for peace, as it is a cautionary tale about nuclear weaponry, but also one of hardship and human resilience. At 144 pages there were elements that could have been elaborated on further, but it remains a well-researched piece of narrative non-fiction and essential reading for anyone interested in learning from the perils and tragedy of war.
To read the rest of this review please visit the following website: http://magazine.100percentrock.com/reviews/book-reviews/201611/207492
Visit 100% Rock’s homepage at: http://magazine.100percentrock.com/
24 Aug 2016
in Book Review
Tags: abuse, bitterseet, book, books, colleen hoover, connection, deft hand, depth, emotional, emotions, engaging, excellent storyteller, feelings, fiction, grit, hard lesson, hate, hearts, honest, it ends with us, love, naked truth, new york times bestseller, novel, novels, ny times bestseller, pathos, personal, previous relationships, raw, relationships, romance, ryle kincaid, sensitive, the past
It Ends With Us is a title that hints at a certain sense of finality or ending. But in reality this novel is only the beginning. This bold book from New York Times bestseller, Colleen Hoover is an important one that slowly reveals itself to be a rather hard lesson in love, told by an excellent storyteller with a deft hand and a sensitive heart.
The cover of this book reminds me of Charlotte Woods’s The Natural Way Of Things. Both books are works of fiction but they are also so raw and honest that they often feel as though they could be real stories. They also deal with some difficult subjects that are hard to discuss or raise, so hopefully this gets readers talking about them.
Colleen Hoover has offered us a story about an engaging young woman named Lily. At the beginning of the story she is reeling from the recent death of her father. It’s a bittersweet moment for her because their relationship had been a rather fraught one. At the same time she also meets a handsome neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid. The two connect and he literally sweeps her off of her feet. But the honeymoon doesn’t last forever because Lily also has to process some stuff to do with a previous relationship. It is material that will make her reassess things and challenge what she previously thought. It’s also something we can all learn from.
This novel is a bold one from Colleen Hoover and a very personal story. In her author’s note (which you should only read after finishing the book) she reveals her true connection to this tale. This intense book will tug at your heartstrings and thrust you onto an emotional rollercoaster that will take you through every emotion on the spectrum of feelings. To reveal anything more would ruin things but suffice to say the naked truth is that this is one excellent book full of depth, pathos and grit.
***Please note: a free copy of this book was given to the writer through a Beauty & Lace giveaway. To read the original review on that website please visit: http://bookgirl.beautyandlace.net/book-club-it-ends-with-us
25 May 2016
in Book Review
Tags: australian, bold, confronting, controlling, diary, direct style, domestic violence, don't hit me!, dv, eloquent, fragments, graphic, gritty, honest, immediate, important issue, manipultive, no holds barred, non-linear, non-traditional, outspoken, poems, raw, rich, trigger warning, unconventional, unstable man, Vanessa de Largie, vanessa delargie, victim, vignettes, violent man, vivid, vocal
Trigger warning: This post includes information about domestic violence and may be distressing for some readers.
Vanessa de Largie’s book will leave you torn. It’s a diarised account of the domestic violence she suffered from 2001–03. On the one hand you wish this book didn’t exist (and that de Largie didn’t have to live through such pain, horror and terror) but on the other hand it’s good to know that others will have somewhere to turn to if they or someone they know is caught as a victim.
De Largie is a successful actress and writer and in some ways she reminds me of Tara Moss. De Largie is a very eloquent, outspoken and vocal in her views on feminism and female sexuality. In Don’t Hit Me! her style is very direct and immediate, and she commands you as a reader to listen to her tragic tale.
This book makes no apologies about being an unconventional and non-traditional one. The story is made up of different vignettes, poems and fragments, which means that the volume can be read in a non-linear way or in fact however the reader may choose. No matter which method the reader decides to employ, the prose is often very graphic and confronting in its detailing the psychological and physical abuse she endured, and the manipulative and controlling behaviour she was subjected to by one violent and unstable man.
Don’t Hit Me! is a bold statement and also one rich and vivid account of de Largie’s life. It’s a book that is told in an effective, no-holds barred way where it is steadfastly raw and gritty. De Largie should be commended for tackling the elephant in the room head-on and opening up the dialogue on an important issue that is too often ignored or swept under the carpet.
Originally published on 24 May 2016 at the following website: http://arts.theaureview.com/reviews/book-review-dont-hit-me-by-vanessa-de-largie-booktrope-books-2016/
Visit The Au Review’s homepage dedicated to the arts at: http://arts.theaureview.com
01 May 2016
in Book Review
Tags: a story of a dog dealing with cancer, beautiful, big-hearted, book, books, cancer, chemotherapy, chong, dog, dogs, empathy, family, feel-good, friends, honest, inspirational, love, loving, maryly turner, memoir, pets, quinn the rottweiler, quinn the rotweiler - story of a dog dealing with cancer, review, reviews, rottweiler, surgery, sweet, warm
Quinn, the Rottweiler- A Story of a Dog Dealing with Cancer is a charming little book about a beautiful canine. The story is told from Quinn the dog’s perspective and is a nice, feel-good tale in parts (at least when you consider Quinn enjoying his new and happy life with Maryly Turner and her pets). Quinn was originally named Chong and was forced to live outside or in a shed and was regularly chained up. But once he was adopted by Turner (after his previous owner could no longer care for him) his life took a turn for the better.
The story of Quinn leapt off the page. You could imagine this dog with a big smile on his face and wagging his tail as he enjoyed meeting new people and animals and sleeping on a warm bed, eating treats and going for rides in the car. It is sad that Maryly – who was recovering from cancer treatment at the time – would discover a lump on Quinn’s foot that would prove cancerous. We follow Quinn’s treatment as he has painful surgery and chemotherapy and we can feel real empathy for what he endures.
This book is ultimately a warm and big-hearted story that should help us understand our pets that little bit more. It’s a great tale that shows the power of family and family and their ability to help and support others, through the good times and the bad. Quinn is an inspirational character that at times reminded me of Oddball and he is one that readers will come to fall in love with.
***Please note: a free copy of this book was given to the writer through a Goodreads giveaway. To read the original review on that website please visit: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7543053-quinn-the-rottweiler