04 Mar 2017
in Book Review
Tags: adrian lewinski, australian, australian writer, balanced, becoming a better individual, becoming a better person, book, books, break-up, break-ups, buddha, buddhism, buddhists, change, clever, comedian, comfort, compassionate, considered, dating, dependent arising, essential reading, evolution, fear, fundamental buddhist principles, grief, growth, guide, happiness, heartbreak, impermanence, logical collection, loneliness, love, manual, marriage break down, meshel laurie, navigating negative emotions, positive aspects of a break-up, practical, radio personality, real-life experiences, relatable, relationship, relationships, relationships will end, religion, review, reviews, right direction, self-help, separation, spirituality, television personality, therapeutic, thought-provoking, tv personality, volume, well-explained, well-written, what would buddha do?, writer
There are many people who ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?” but in the case of Meshel Laurie, it was, “What would Buddha do?” The Australian writer, comedian and radio personality was looking towards her Buddhist faith as a way of making sense of the end of her 19 year marriage. Except that there were no self-help manuals on successfully separating, not from a Buddhist standpoint, so she wrote her own and it’s a thought-provoking, relatable and compassionate read.
Laurie’s book finds the right balance between offering her own personal tale as well as the fundamental principles that Buddhists believe. She describes her separation from her ex-husband, Adrian Lewinski in some detail, whilst also offering a template for navigating through the negative emotions of fear, grief and loneliness that are synonymous with heartbreak.
If you’re sitting there dismissing this book as a bunch of hippie nonsense then think again. This book is instead a rather practical and logical collection of different chapters. Early on Laurie has us considering the fact that we will all lose somebody close to us someday: “No relationship – romantic, familial or platonic – is absolute and forever. We will all lose someone we rely on at some point in our lives. Sometimes the other person chooses to leave us, sometimes they’re taken from us tragically, and sometimes we discover that they were never ours to begin with. But one way or another, the relationship will end.”
This means that the ability to deal with the loss of a relationship is a useful skill. Another handy lesson that Laurie offers is to learn about the Buddhist principles of “impermanence” i.e. understanding that everyone and everything is constantly changing and “dependent arising” or understanding that we never actually stop evolving or changing and that this process is shaped by the conditions around us. For Meshel she simply wants us to consider and focus on the positive aspects of a break-up – even if it’s just being able to lie in a large bed and watch your favourite shows on Netflix – you should seize this opportunity for happiness and growth.
Meshel Laurie offers us some very practical pieces of advice in her second book, Buddhism for Break-ups. This combination of well-written, well-explained and considered Buddhist teachings as well as her own real-life experiences can offer some real comfort to readers in much the same was as Chicken Soup For The Soul has done. You can really get a sense that, “If Meshel can do it then perhaps I can too.”
Buddhism for Break-ups should be essential reading for anyone that finds themselves broken-hearted and open to the prospect of learning new things and becoming a better individual. Buddhism for Break-ups may not answer all of your questions but it is certainly clever and therapeutic enough to steer you in the right direction. Namaste!
Originally published on 28 February 2017 at the following website: http://arts.theaureview.com/reviews/book-review-meshel-lauries-buddhism-for-break-ups-is-the-buddhist-dating-equivalent-of-chicken-soup-for-the-soul/
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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/
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19 Feb 2017
in Book Review
Tags: accidents, atmospheric, book, books, clever, em reed-mcallister, emerald reed-mcallister, enigmatic, extraordinary, fiction, first person narrative, girl on the run, haunted house, heartbreak, intriguing, it girl, j.c. grey, jc gray, jc grey, lammermoor, loss, lost girl, love, love problems, marc mcallister, more than your average love story, mysterious, mysterious house, mystery, nicely-paced, novel, past, poetic, problems, relationships, review, reviews, romance, romantic mystery, series of unfortunate events, she had it's all so why did she run?, slow burn, strange house, well-written, wistful
Lost Girl is like a gift wrapped up in an enigma, topped off by a riddle. The novel is a wistful romance by J.C. Grey. It is a first person narrative where the titular character is the narrator. What ensues is a dark and mysterious novel filled with love, loss and heartbreak.
To outsiders, Emerald Reed-McAllister has it all. She’s the “it” girl around town. A successful model and stylist, she’s nabbed herself an adoring and clever husband in the form of a sexy man named Marc McAllister. But all is not as it seems. Em is the kind of girl who runs away from her problems and they don’t get much bigger than the one she suddenly finds herself in the middle of.
So Em seeks sanctuary in the form of a strange, old house named Lammermoor. This building has had a chequered history to say the least. Some of its previous inhabitants have been subjected to unfortunate accidents or other inexplicable things. The locals are scared and convinced that the place is haunted. Em is encouraged to leave but she wants to fix the place up and remains steadfast in her plans.
Over the course of the novel we learn more about the house as well as Em’s own history and the nature of her relationship with Marc and his family. The prose is well-written and nicely-paced and overall it is a rather clever, romantic mystery. The beginning is a bit of a slow burn as things are put into place and the alternating timelines can jar a little bit but if you can see past these things you will be rewarded with an intriguing and extraordinary novel. This book is so much more than your average love story, it’s ultimately a mysterious and atmospheric look at the past and it proves that some relationships are in fact, built to last.
***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-lost-girl#comment-286418
25 Oct 2016
in DVD Review
Tags: aafrin dalal, Aysha Kala, beautiful, Blake Ritson, british rule, challenges, colonial rule, colourful, cynthia coffin, drama, dvd, dvds, english rule, henry lloyd-hughes, india, india's history, indian history, indian summers, Jemima West, Julie Walters, life, love, love triangles, marriage, moral dilemmas, Nikesh Patel, nostalgic, period drama, pleasant, politics, ralph whelan, relationships, reunions, review, reviews, rich, romance, significant, sooni, sprawling, sumptuous, t.v. series, television series, tense, tensions, the jewel in the crown, tv series, unhappy marriage
The chapter in India’s history when it was subject to colonial rule has been shown on our screens before. It was the theme in The Jewel in the Crown television series and there have been countless films and things about Mahatma Ghandi. Indian Summers is a TV series that covers this well-trodden path. It may not be the most original rendering of this story but it is one pleasant, beautiful and nostalgic drama.
The second series begins some three years after the first one left off. Some things have changed with respect to the characters in this time. The most noteworthy is that civil servant, Aafrin Dalal (the gorgeous, Nikesh Patel) has become a rebel and is promoting terrorism. The private secretary, Ralph Whelan (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) is married and has designs on the viceroy’s role. Whelan’s sister, Alice (Jemima West) is shackled by an unhappy marriage to one angry and careless man named Charlie (Blake Ritson) while her heart is somewhere else.
This series deals with a number of different storylines and threads including matters of the heart and the state. Club owner, Cynthia Coffin (Julie Walters) is as manipulative as ever while Sooni (Aysha Kala) is the most inspiring. The plots also throws up a number of different moral dilemmas. Over the course of ten episodes there are a few deaths, one marriage and some reunions. The series is supported by a great cast who capture the full gamut of different emotions. Indian Summers also succeeds at chronicling an important chapter in India’s history and maintaining a certain pace while keeping the tensions high.
The setting is absolutely stunning. The story and series is set in Simla in the foothills of the Himalayas but Indian Summers itself is shot in Penang in Malaysia. We can forgive this artistic licence when we consider how much care and detail has been applied to the creation of props and the wonderful costumes. All of these things add up to make a sumptuous period drama that is like pure eye candy. The special features include an adequate making of featurette that reveals some good insights into how this show was made, but there was also room for more information.
Indian Summers is a colourful drama that is brimming with some spice and so many different threads that at times it feels like a tapestry. This is not the most crucial series you’ll ever watch but it does cover a significant part of India’s history as it seeks independence from the British rule. This serial is an interesting look at the politics and the personal proclivities of the locals and individuals living abroad as they face all manner of different challenges that life throws at them. In short this is a sprawling story told in a way that is as pleasant as a stroll through the English countryside.
Originally published on 24 October 2016 at the following website: http://www.impulsegamer.com/indian-summers-season-2-dvd-review/
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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
04 Jun 2016
in DVD Review
Tags: Abby Kohn, adaptation, Alison Brie, Anders Holm, comedy, Dakota Johnson, dana fox, dating, dvd, dvds, episodic, film, films, How To Be Single, Leslie Mann, liz tuccillo, love, Marc Silverstein, new york city, online dating, Rebel Wilson, relationships, review, rom-com, romance, samantha on steroids, sex, sex in the city, shag, single white females, snog, straight white females, vignette
How To Be Single should be renamed, “Single White Female” or “Straight White Female”. The film is an episodic one about four single heterosexual pals in New York City (does this sound familiar?) It’s an unoriginal film that isn’t excellent but it’s also not as bad as you’d expect.
The film was written Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein and Dana Fox and it shares a certain style and feel to the group’s other works (He’s Just Not That Into You and Valentine’s Day). The story is actually an adaptation of a novel written by Sex In The City writer, Liz Tuccillo, meaning comparisons between the two seem inevitable. But How To Be Single also tries to tackle some new dating phenomena (emojis, internet dating) while ignoring others (Tinder). At its heart it tries to answer the question of why people always tell their life stories through their relationships while presenting four independent women at work, rest and play and a lot of the time it seems to show said women pursuing either a relationship or a casual hook-up (or the kinds of things it was supposed to be rallying against!)
Dakota Johnson from Fifty Shades of Grey stars as Alice, a girl that was restless in her long-term relationship with the man she met at university. She tells her boyfriend that the pair should take a break in order for her to do some soul-searching. Except that this journey of self-discovery actually involves being taken under the wing of an obnoxious and drunken hedonist (Rebel Wilson at her most irritating). The latter’s character is like SITC’s Samantha on steroids and while she does offer some brutal advice here, often the context is all wrong because she is too over-the-top and ridiculous to really matter. (I’m sure we’d all love to work at a legal firm where you can arrive three and a half hours late and introduce the new girl to the office environment by showing her all the best places for a snog or a shag).
Alice’s sister’s story is actually a lot more interesting. Meg (a sweet, Leslie Mann) is working as a doctor delivering babies but she does not want a child of her own. One day she changes her mind and decides that she needs to have a baby stat and she will go down the IVF route. This story could have been a touching drama between the two sisters but instead it is too lightweight and trying too hard to be funny in other parts. Lucy (Alison Brie) has nothing to do with the other girls but she is an online dating obsessive who often finds herself in the company of a womanising bartender (Anders Holm) because she resorts to pinching Wi-Fi in the bar downstairs from her apartment. The special features on the DVD are disappointing and include only some deleted scenes.
How To Be Single is a film about identity but it’s a little unsure about what it actually wants to be. It can’t decide whether it wants to empower women or play into the cliché-ridden status quo of society- or whether it wants to be fun and comedic or make some serious, social points. In trying to be so much it often fails to do anything really well. It means it’s pleasant but ultimately a forgettable chick flick. In all, this unoriginal, straight and conventional rom-com could have been sassy and clever but instead feels like a second-rate Sex In The City where the big in this big apple is the overwhelming number of characters, plots and themes.
Originally published on 4 June 2016 at the following website: http://www.impulsegamer.com/how-to-be-single-dvd-review/
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