Review of Windswept and Interesting – 5 Stars!

Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography by Billy Connolly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Autobiography – Celebrity

Windswept and Interesting By Billy Connolly




📖 Billy Connolly reflects on his career, his life, his family and the many remarkable people he has had the opportunity to meet. Unlike other celeb books, this book doesn’t come across as a vanity project although it is indeed Billy’s story, but he intercepts it with jokes and anecdotes, much the way he does on stage. Each story is broken down into separate chapters with a little humour featured even in the darker aspects of his life. He includes a lovely collection of images too.


✍️ This book had it all for me, several pages were just heart-breaking, some were really uplifting and some inspired you to take a walk down memory lane. Some stories I already felt connected to as I remembered watching him do it on various shows and others were a fresh revelation, but both were equally captivating. So many of the stories stay with you long after you have stopped reading the pages.


👓 One of my favourite things about this book was the fact that it genuinely made me laugh out loud. I even found myself copying some of the excerpts and sending them to friends who I knew would find it hilarious too. I read this book in just two days (and could have possibly completed it in one), it was so enjoyable and engrossing I didn’t want to put it down. It was quite strange that you could almost hear Billy’s voice as you read it, which added to the humour.

🗣 I often think it’s useful to see an extract from a book to get an idea of the writing style. Here is a brief extract so that you can see a sample of the writing yourself:

… these days bean-bag chairs are the least of my worries – ANY chair is a big challenge. I get trapped and can’t get up. My physiotherapist taught me to rock back and forth to build momentum, but that’s dangerous, because I fart more than when I was younger. I don’t know why. I just do. And the most acute farting risk is when I’m getting up out of a chair. Bbbbbbbbbrrrrrrggggghhhhhh!!! The rocking just accentuates it. I got myself a leather chair because I thought it would squeak by itself and cover the farting … but nothing covers these thunderclaps. BBBBBRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!

💭 Overall View: Smart, witty, sarcastic, honest, yet still with a positive message and full of love.

📣 I hope you enjoyed my review. Thank you for reading. 😘

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Review of The Last Reunion by Kayte Nunn

The Last Reunion by Kayte Nunn

The Last Reunion – Cover



Genre: Historical Fiction – WWII – Burma – Strong Females
📖 I loved this book. I love historical fiction anyway but it’s not often that I read fiction set in the 20th century. The blurb on this book had me immediately intrigued. The story is set over two timelines. In the modern timeline, Olivia, an apprentice art dealer is sent to the country to try to convince an elderly widow (Beatrix) to sell her most prized possession, a Japanese netsuke. However, gaining the provenance needed to sell the netsuke could prove tricky as Beatrix has a rather interesting past, one which will need to be brought to light if the sale is to go ahead.

✍️ The second timeline is set in Burma in 1945 and tells the story of Beatrix (then known as Bea) and her friends as they sign up for the Wasbies, the Women’s Auxiliary Service. The girls soon find themselves shipped all over and facing long days serving men on the frontline in very difficult circumstances. They learn how to take care of themselves, each other and the hundreds of men to whom they provide food, services and a friendly smile each day.

🗣 I often think it’s useful to see an extract from a book to get an idea of the writing style. Here is a brief extract so that you can see a sample of the writing yourself:

‘You can sleep when you’re dead,’ said Plum, throwing a towel at Bea’s head.
Bea groaned and shaded her face with her arm. ‘I didn’t get a wink last night,’ she complained as Plum and Bubbles got ready to go out. ‘Not the one before that.’
‘You heard what Mrs St John said about morale,’ said Bubbles as she shimmied her hips into a tight-fitting silk dress. ‘It’s expected that we’ll go to dances; help cheer up the troops. I hope Charles won’t mind too much; of course, I wish it were his arms around me.’
So, dancing skills were in fact required. Bea sighed. ‘I’m sure that’s half the reason you signed up,’ she said dismissively.
‘Course it was,’ laughed Plum, oblivious to Bea’s sarcasm.

👫 I think most who read this book will fall in love with Bea. Her character arc is very interesting. In the historic timeline, she is introduced as polite, and straight-talking but rather shy (noting others amongst her friendship group are the life of the party). Yet by the modern timeline, she is an old woman, bolshy, brave and strong-willed. The war has changed her, she knows she is strong, adaptable and not afraid to get her hands dirty.

🗺 As mentioned, this book has two storylines, the second taking place in Burma. Burma is often called the Forgotten war because its operations were often overlooked by the contemporary press and remained more obscure than those of the corresponding formations in Europe for long after the war. Although I have read a few books about the war and watched a few war documentaries, I knew little about this time period and location, this book did such a marvellous job of bringing it alive. The author included so much detail, even the changes in the weather and the hardship that could bring.

💭 Overall View: A great historical fiction adventure from the frontline.

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Review of The Thursday Murder Club

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Thursday Murder Club Cover

📖 I’m always a tad sceptical when I come across these celebrities turned author type books. There seems to be so many of them at the moment (especially in the children’s range) but I had heard good things about Richard Osman’s book, watched/listened to several interviews with him discussing it) and in general was quite intrigued by the premise so when I saw it on special offer I thought I would take the punt and I am so pleased I did.

✍️ The story takes place primarily in a retirement village, where most of the central characters reside. Each week a small group of residents meet up and review unsolved murder cases. When the builder who built the retirement complex and then the owner of it both are murdered, the team find themselves intrigued and soon very much involved in the police investigation. Can they help catch a killer?

🗣 I often think it’s useful to see an extract of a book to get an idea of the writing style. Here is a brief extract so that you can see a sample of the writing yourself:

So it seems we are investigating a murder. And, better still, I have been in a police interview room. This diary is bringing me luck.
It was interesting watching Elizabeth in action. She is very impressive. Very calm. I wonder if we would have got along if we’d met thirty years ago? Probably not, we are from different worlds. But this place brings people together.
I do hope I’ll be of some help to Elizabeth in the investigation. Help to catch Tony Curran’s killer. Perhaps I will, in my own way.
I think that if I have a special skill, it is that I am often overlooked. Is that the word? Underestimated perhaps?

👓 The book switches between viewpoints but the primary character recording the anecdotes is Joyce, a retired nurse and general newbie to the group. Adding Joyce into the mix was a stroke of genius from Osman and I love how her thoughts ramble across the page. I think most people will have a relative that they find is very much like Joyce. The “Club” is made up of: Elizabeth (unknown, perhaps ex-spy, she seems to have a lot of contacts), Joyce (former nurse), Ibrahim (retired psychiatrist) and Ron (ex-trade union boss).

💔 Any Negatives: None really. The only thing I can think of is Joyce seems to be far too sweet and far too nice. I hope she has a really interesting back story or thing from the past that comes out of the woodwork in later books of the series.
The correspondence with the police is perhaps a tad far-fetched at times but I think is needed to drive the story forward and it certainly doesn’t detract from the story.

💭 Overall View: A truly cosy crime mystery. An enjoyable read with a great pace. An interesting cast of characters. I can see this series being around for a long time with the characters’ stories developing and being explored more as the series goes on. I looking forward to reading more from this series and indeed book 2 is on my Christmas list.

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At the time of reviewing this book, it is on sale for £4.50 (2 for £8.00) at Amazon (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3ti04k8

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Review of The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I am very late to discover Jon Ronson and The Psychopath Test which appears to now be a cult classic. To be honest, I’d never heard of it, but came across it in a store and was intrigued by the title, the cover and then the blurb. It was reasonably priced, so I decided to give it a go and I am so pleased I did.

Firstly, this book is non-fiction (I mostly read fiction and honestly when you read parts of this you might mistake it for a psychological thriller).

This story is what it says on the cover, a journey. So, you learn more and more about what it means to be a psychopath and how they are defined (these days). The book starts with a strange hoax that has been sent to a variety of individuals in the world.

Cover: The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
Cover: The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

It then introduces us to The Hare Psychopathy checklist, the standard screening test for potential psychopaths. Suddenly, armed with this material Jon is finding everyone around him seems to have these psychopathic traits (and indeed many do as most people display some symptoms of psychopathy). Jon is particularly interested in the business world after finding out psychopaths are found in greater proportions among CEOs and indeed meets some very interesting individuals in the process.

Alongside this is the story of Tony. Tony committed GBH at the age of seventeen and in an attempt to evade the prison system decided to feign madness. He was then imprisoned in Broadmoor. He then had the difficult job of convincing people he was sane and twelve years on still hadn’t. As he says, how do you sit in a sane way, how do you act in a sane way? With psychologists watching your every move the more normal you try to act, the more self-conscious you become. It becomes a vicious cycle. So, is he a psychopath or not? Well, that’s what Jon tries to figure it.

I often think it’s useful to see an extract of a book to get an idea of the writing style.
GRAPHIC CONTENT
Here is a brief extract so that you can see a sample of the writing yourself:

‘One of my old buds from the FBI was investigating this woman, Karla Homolka,’ Bob had told me earlier. ‘She and her husband had videotaped themselves torturing and raping and murdering these young women. The police were taking her through the house where they’d cut up the bodies, carved them up, and Karla was saying, “My sister would like that rug…”. They took her into the bathroom and Karla was saying, “Can I ask you something? I had a bottle of perfume here…” Totally disconnected.’

As mentioned above, some of the writing and scenes are quite graphic, as you can imagine they would be in a book of this kind, dealing with mental health and violence.

💭 Overall View: I really enjoyed this book. I’ve never really read anything like it before. I did study psychology in college when I was younger so I do have an interest in this topic and understanding how people’s minds work. It’s odd and it’s not the quickest read but it is interesting and I find myself reflecting back on it.

P.s. Jon has also done a TED talk on this book which people may find interesting.

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Review of “The Silent Tide” – 4 Stars

The Silent Tide by Rachel Hore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Relaxation = Book and a bath. 😍

With a small child around I don’t get as much reading time as I’d like but with this book I have found myself squeezing it in at every opportunity. LO watching night garden, hello next chapter. 😉

The book is a dual timeline following the stories of Emily and Isabel. In present-day London, Emily is an up-and-coming editor who is helping a young biographer publish the life of a now-deceased famous writer, Hugh Morton. When mystery parcels begin to turn up at Emily’s work telling the story of Isabel, Hugh’s first wife, Emily becomes obsessed with Isabel’s story and must know more.
I often think it’s useful to see an extract of a book to get an idea of the writing style. Here is a brief extract so that you can see a sample of the writing yourself:

After a week of tense waiting she asked Stephen, ‘I don’t suppose you’ve had time to read that report on Hugh Morton’s book I left you?’
‘Ah, I’m sorry, I forgot to tell you about that,’ Stephen replied with a guilty look, and her hopes fell. But then he said, ‘The author’s coming in next week. I’ll make sure the two of you are introduced.’
‘We’re publishing the book?’ she asked, in surprise and not a little anger. She was used to not being told much, to having to pick up information through opening the post or by correspondence she was asked to type, but she was hurt that he hadn’t mentioned anything about this project.

Starting in 1948 we follow the story of Isabel. Isabel is working hard to find her place and forge a career in a man’s world in London. Having run away from home she is determined to manage life on her own. When she is given extra responsibility at work she relishes the challenge and after meeting a handsome young debut author soon her work and personal life begin to merge. Yet as these worlds merge she begins to struggle to keep her independence and personal identity.

I loved the characters in this book, especially those featured in Isabel’s story. Berec is a particularly interesting sub-character and I liked the hints the author left regarding how difficult someone in his situations life would have been at that time period, yet his jovial attitude was uplifting just when the book needed it. Hugh makes a great bad guy, that’s not all that bad, just attitudes of that time.

I must admit, the 40/50’s is a time period I don’t know much about, being so close to our own (for a historical history novel) it is easy to picture certain things, yet attitudes and opportunities certainly for young ladies, was different and I think the author does a great job in capturing this.

The timeline shifts were handled well with clear indications of the time period and most of Isabel’s story was told through manuscript extracts of Isabel’s memoirs.

This novel also touches on the fragile emotional state of post-natal depression. This can be difficult reading but is nonetheless a fact of life and would have been much less understood in the time period.

Any Negatives? Not negative as such but I did enjoy Berec’s story and think it has a place to be told in more detail (perhaps a little novella). I also found Lydia a strange character, meek at first then emboldened later on. I feel to be more true to life, she would have been less forgiving and more resentful of Isabel’s choices. None of this detracts from the main story of Isabel or Emily though.

Overall View: A really interesting book. A strong and engaging storyline that really had me reading at every opportunity. It was a compelling and addictive read. I can’t wait to read more from this author.

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Extract - The Silent Tide
Extract – The Silent Tide

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Review of A Dreadful Murder by Minette Walters – 5 Stars

A Dreadful Murder: The Mysterious Death of Caroline LuardA Dreadful Murder: The Mysterious Death of Caroline Luard by Minette Walters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Genre: Historical Fiction

Introduction: I really enjoyed this little book it is part of the quick-reads collection. The idea of this collection is exactly as it says on the tin (or should that be cover), a shorter than normal book by world leading authors. One of the things I quite like about these books is that they force the authors to cut out a lot of the waffle that sometimes goes on in books. This keeps the stories quite fast paced with a lot happening in less time. This seems to be what has jarred other readers (the use of simpler language) but I didn’t find it detracted from the novel at all. I’m proud of authors who take on the challenge of writing these books so that they can be enjoyed by all even those who aren’t keen readers.

Premise: Based on the true story of the shocking murder of Mrs Caroline Luard, which took place in Kent in August 1908. Caroline Luard is shot dead in broad daylight in the grounds of a large country estate. With few clues available, her husband soon becomes the suspect…But is he guilty?
Minette Walters tells the story of Caroline and her husband’s stroll through the grounds of the estate on the morning of the murder and then branches out to the story of Superintendent Albert Taylor. Albert Taylor follows the clues but is shocked to see how quickly the town turns on Caroline’s husband Charles as the prime suspect. Soon Charles is receiving threatening notes from an anonymous writer. Yet, Taylor is becoming more and more convinced that Charles is innocent. Will proving his innocence matter if the entire town has turned against him?

Reason for the 5 Stars:

Minette Walters writes this book very cleverly. You follow the steps of the inspector but whilst you are keeping track of one thing another happens (e.g. a note arrives). You do find yourself trying to figure out the truth and coming to your own conclusions. Would Charles have had time to kill his wife and sprint back to the house (with the dog)?

I thought it was interesting that this was based on a true story and I really enjoyed the author’s foreword giving the facts of the actual case.

I am a big fan of these quick reads collections and think they are great for giving you a taster of an author’s writing style without the invested time of much larger books. I had heard really good things about Minette Walters, it was nice to enjoy a shorter snapshot of her writing in this novella before going on to read one of her larger thicker novels (which I most certainly will be doing now).

I often think it is useful for readers to see a brief extract as they would in a bookshop so here is a little passage from the novel:

‘It’s a public event. Anyone has the right to attend.’
‘Not if it’s to revel in a lady’s death, the don’t. I wouldn’t mind so much if they’d listened to what was said instead of making up so-called evidence afterwards. A man can’t be in two places at the same time…though you wouldn’t think it to hear the nonsense that’s being talked in the village.’
‘What sort of nonsense?’
‘Every sort,’ she said crossly. ‘It makes me so mad. They whisper behind their hands when they see me coming. But not one of them has ever asked me what I think.’
‘And what’s that, Jane?’
She glanced towards the drawing-room door. ‘The Major-General’s lost without his wife. He’d have died in her place if he could.’

I would have liked it more if the foreword had been an afterword instead. Although I really enjoyed reading this, it would have been nicer to have read the fictional account finished with the factual account. It being a foreword it almost felt like a spoiler to the actual story. I fully acknowledge this is a personal preference but my advice to readers would be to skip this and then go back to it.

Summary: A brilliant little book. Highly recommended and a great taster to get you started with this author if you have not read her works before. I will definitely be picking up more of her books in the near future.

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Review of Eight Ghosts: The English Heritage Book of New Ghost Stories – 5 Stars

Eight Ghosts: The English Heritage Book of New Ghost StoriesEight Ghosts: The English Heritage Book of New Ghost Stories by Rowan Routh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is pretty much as the cover describes, eight authors were given after hours access to eight English Heritage sites to create this new series of ghost stories. The book immediately peaked my interest, I have been an English Heritage member for many years and I am always intrigued by the histories of the properties. I also enjoy a good ghost story, so this book seemed to offer the best of both worlds.

The collection of stories is really quite interesting. Some of the authors chose a historical slant, whilst others chose a more psychological approach, and some even chose alternative histories. All in all a great variety of ghosts. The actual mixture of properties is really interesting too. I would fully recommend York Cold War Bunker to those that haven’t been, this is an easily overly looked site but so interesting with a great guided tour.ghosts-gespenter-spooky-horror-40748.jpeg

The Authors and Locations are as follows:
• Kate Clanchy, Housesteads Roman Fort
• Stuart Evers, Dover Castle
• Mark Haddon, York Cold War Bunker
• Andrew Michael Hurley, Carlisle Castle
• Sarah Perry, Audley End
• Max Porter Eltham Palace
• Kamila Shamsie, Kenilworth Castle
• Jeanette Winterson, Pendennis Castle

There were two stories that really stuck out for me. Mark Haddon’s tale at the York Cold War Bunker was really eerie and so descriptive it felt a little too real (which is only a good thing I think when it comes to ghost stories). Stuart Evers tale from Dover Castle is brilliant and had such an unexpected twist I was kicking myself that I hadn’t seen it coming. There were a couple of stories I didn’t enjoy quite so much but that is the thing about a collection it means there is a bit of something for everyone.

I must say one of my favourite things about this book is the end section entitled “A GAZETTEER OF ENGLISH HERITAGE HAUNTINGS”. This is a collection of hauntings and sightings that have been reported to staff at various locations around the country and makes for a really interesting read. Poor staff! I’m not sure many people would want to continue closing up on a dark night after hearing some of these tales, but they do make for entertaining reading.

I thought this was a great concept and hope English Heritage choose to offer more of these collections. It would be brilliant if they actually opened up late night visits to English Heritage members and invited them to do their own creative writing based on the experience, (maybe with publication of the best entries in the magazine that they send to members). I am sure many would jump at the chance.

Overall a really intriguing collection, the fact that you can visit the locations written about is the cherry on the cake.

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Review of “Pirates” by Celia Rees – 5 Stars

Pirates!Pirates! by Celia Rees

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know technically Celia Rees is classed as a YA author and after jumping over that thirty hurdle I probably don’t fit that bracket anymore *sigh*. However, that doesn’t stop me enjoying a good book. And Celia Rees certainly knows how to write those, regardless of your age group! Her writing style is just so-damn-readable, she keeps you turning page after page long after you have told yourself a dozen times “just one more page and then I will put it down”.

So, what is ‘Pirates’ all about (apart from Pirates of course)? For me, this book was about determination to decide your own destiny, no matter the obstacles. The story is told by Nancy Kington, a Georgian heiress to her father’s fortune (much aggrieved by her brothers). When her brothers plot against her to marry her off and keep their father’s business and fortune for themselves Nancy has to find a way out. When she finds Minerva, her friend and slave, being assaulted Nancy accidentally kills the attacker. So with many reasons to go and few to stay the girls make their way into the worlds of piracy.Pirates Cover

The easily forgettable and incredible thing about this tale is it is actually based on a true story. Minerva Sharpe and Nancy Kington were real people. I think the author portrays a real homage to them in this book and it is clear that they spent a lot of time learning and researching both the pirate’s lives and the time period.

As mentioned above, I really enjoyed the authors writing style. It is very clear, yet very emotive. I quite like the extract below:

 

“I’d be the one to decide what was, and was not, to do with me. I felt anger growing inside me, fuelled by all the things I’d seen since I came to this beautiful blighted country. I felt it bloom into fury as I brought the candle round to see what he had done. The scars on her back were not new. Fresh stripes glistened in long streaking criss-cross patterns across a back where the flesh was ruched into sharp ridged peaks so rucked and buckled that it no longer resembled flesh at all.”

This moment is one of my favourites in the book, it is an empowering moment for Nancy to find her inner strength and confront those that do her wrong. Although Nancy has peaks and troughs of confidence throughout the book, when she finds her moments of strength as the reader you think “Yes, go on girl, show them what you are made of!”

Pirates - internal image
Internal Pages from the book: Pirates

I really enjoyed this book and will certainly look out for more of this authors work. Empowering, engaging and entertaining story with swashbuckling thrown into the mix – what more could you want?!

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Review of The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez – 4 stars.

The Oxford MurdersThe Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martínez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Firstly, I am surprised this book I only 3 stars on Goodreads. There is very little to dislike about this book. It is a strange mix of mystery and mathematics which may seem a little heavy going at first (but stick with it people), you soon get loads of twists and turns that will keep you guessing all the way through which for me is the best bit about a mystery novel.

This story follows a young mathematician who having won a scholarship has relocated to Oxford. Soon after his arrival, his landlady ends up dead from a suspicious death. When he meets Arthur Seldom a mathematical hero who was a close family friend of the deceased he is immediately in awe and the two start to work out the murder as if it were a mathematical puzzle. When more murders happen close to Seldom it appears the killer may be targeting him, testing just how clever he is and testing if he can solve the murders before someone else dies.

sherlock

I do agree at times this book is a little maths heavy with multiple theories flying around. I didn’t dislike this and found it quite similar to Sherlock Holmes logic puzzle with Moriarty always one step ahead. Smart, questioning, quick-paced writing which makes this book irresistible to put down.

For what it is worth I absolutely loved the hospital Buzzati theory about the floors circling down to death. I have no idea if this is a real thing or made up for the book but it was very clever. If you go on to read the book I am sure this bit will stand out to you. The book is written with a rather formal writing style (possibly to exaggerate that the narrator is not English-born?), but the writing is still quick flowing.

 

 

“Now that the police have been informed? I don’t know. I suppose he’ll try to be more careful next time.’
‘You mean, another murder that no-one will see as a murder?’
‘That’s right,’ said Seldom, almost to himself. ‘Exactly. Murders that no one sees as murders. I think I’m starting to see now: imperceptible murders.’
We were silent for a moment.”

Overall this book is an intellectual thriller that will appeal to those who like logic puzzles. Fast-paced, clever narrative, interesting characters, all with the beautiful Oxford backdrop.
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Review of Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman – 5 stars.

Orange Is the New BlackOrange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like everyone else that comes across this book these days, the main reason I was attracted to it is that I love the TV series. However, it is important to note this book is not like the show. The TV series primary function is entertainment mainly in the form of humour. This book is a memoir, therefore like life, there is some humour but a fair whack of heartbreak and struggle too.

I really wish I had read the book before I watched the series as I did find little bits distracting, my mind drifting off on its own wondering such things as I wonder if Pop is the character Red in the tv series (I am pretty sure the answer is yes btw, feel free to let me know otherwise XD). This being said – the book is brilliant.

So, what’s it about. Piper Kerman, at twenty-something, gets bored of her plain white life ends up shacking up with a woman who works as a drug runner. Naively she underestimates the seriousness of this until a time she is asked to carry cash for the drugs trade. Not long after Piper gets out of the relationship (and the business) but as is usually the case her past catches up with her many years later when she is living a quiet comfortable life with her devoted boyfriend Larry. When she ends up with a custodial sentence her world becomes a very different place and Kerman recalls the stories of the women who help her see her prison time through.

I often think it’s useful to see an extract of a book to get an idea of the writing style. Even more important for a memoir as you are committing to read someone’s life and if it’s droll you will soon lose interest. Kerman’s voice is very readable, here is a brief section which I think is a beauty:

“I never understood why laundry soup was the one free thing provided to us (other than toilet paper rations, which were passed out once a week, and the sanitary napkins and tampons stocked in the bathroom). Laundry soap was sold on commissary; some women would buy Tide and give away their eight free soap packets to others who had nothing. Why not soap to clean your body? Why not toothpaste? Somewhere within the monstrous bureaucracy of the Bureau of Prisons, this all made sense to someone.”

I learned a lot reading this book. For example; Kerman was sentenced on a US drug conspiracy charge so her sentence was based on the total amount of drugs involved in the operation, not her small role in it. A stark warning for anyone in the trade.

So, all in this is a pretty great book. Really it’s a story about staying strong and about appreciating the inner strengths of others too. Everyone has their own battles, strengths, weaknesses, secrets and successes. Kerman captures such a variety of those beautifully and writes about them with both empathy and respect.

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