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Book Reviews

Doddie Smith – I capture the castle

“How I wish I lived in a Jane Austen novel!”

Meet 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain who, alongside her family, lives in a rented castle. They’re poor (no-one earns any money) but they like to dream. The girls dream of love and marriage, the parents of unending days and food. And they feel that their status and their lack of money can mean only ruin in the future unless an appropriate husband is secured.

And what I thought about most was luxury. I had never realized before that it is more than just having things; it makes the very air feel different. And I felt different, breathing that air: relaxed, lazy, still sad but with the edge taken off the sadness. Perhaps the effect wears off in time, or perhaps you don’t notice it if you are born to it, but it does seem to me that the climate of richness must always be a little dulling to the senses. Perhaps it takes the edge off joy as well as off sorrow.

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Book Reviews

Symptoms of being human * by Jeff Garvin

Ever wanted to read a novel about a genderfluid teen suffering from dysphoria?

“The world isn’t binary. Everything isn’t black or white, yes or no. Sometimes it’s not a switch, it’s a dial. And it’s not even a dial you can get your hands on; it turns without your permission or approval” -Riley”

This book is filled with tons of information about the daily struggles of being genderfluid. The issues with being androgynous in a society where you have to be a boy or a girl. Riley is sometimes a feminine boy or a very tomboyish girl. He/she is a sympathetic character and the bullying Riley endures will surely speak to readers.

Riley explains over and over what gender fluidity means, how it makes them feel every day, what it was like being a child in a gendered toy store. It’s so repetitive that I started skipping through the chapters looking for some sort of a plot – a story..  Perhaps it would have made a better short story, rather than a full-length novel. Perhaps it will work for readers who have never heard of gender fluidity and are prepared to read lots of information. For those already open-minded and somewhat informed – it’s a little boring.

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Book Reviews

Prison Diary * Jeffrey Archer (2003)

A Prison Diary is a series of three books of diaries written by Jeffrey Archer during his time in prisons following his convictions for perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Each volume is named after the parts of Dante’s The Divine Comedy. The volumes become progressively longer due to his stay being longer and longer at each prison he went to. The UK prison system is highlighted as very petty, poor with pathetic conditions. In my view Jeffrey Archer and the likes of him should have been fined and given useful community service not banged up with murderers and rapists in rubbishy prisons. Prisons and the Police need thorough overhauls to make them fit for UK purpose.

Contents
1 Volume 1: Belmarsh: Hell
2 Volume 2: Wayland: Purgatory
3 Volume 3: North Sea Camp: Heaven

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Book Reviews

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson – Book Review

Prepare your tissues as this book will not leave you dry-eyed. Full of love and more love and more love and a lot of loss, the book follows two couples who have something in common. Matt has been with both women and both have a baby.

This change-of-pace love story is a powerfully moving novel about families, loss, and new love. When the man Kate loves disappears, he leaves behind a diary, a letter from a new mother to her baby son about how she and the boy’s father met. An unforgettable piece, at once heartbreaking and full of hope. “Compelling… superbly enhanced by Baker’s narration… highly recommended.”—Booklist