Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Girls: Book Review | The Small Desk

I am tempted to write to Emma Cline to request that she only allows one man to make a film out of her book and that would be the director of the film, Marshland, Alberto Rodríguez Librero. You only have to watch the trailer to see what I mean about a film that is so beautifully crafted yet deals with an equally violent plot line. The Girls is a book that if made into a film would require a very sensitive adaptation. Yet when I watch an interview of Cline by Vintage books she states she doesn't want have anything to do with an adaptation of the book into a film; she is done with the book, she wants to move on and write something new. I imagine this is because of the subject nature of the book, one must have to create distance in order to stay sane.

This book is written so beautifully well. There were times when it got so harrowing I didn't know if I wanted to carry on reading, but I was drawn back in by wanting to read the way Cline had composed the next sentence. A quote on the front of the book reads 'I don't know which is more amazing, Emma Cline's understanding of human beings or her mastery of language', and I agree. But until I read that quote I had not fully grasped how good her descriptions of the character's emotions were, and how powerful the little relatable lines she had added were that I simply gobbled down on while devouring the story. Unbelievably this is Cline's debut novel; but the publishers knew it was gold and it was fought over ending with a record-breaking debut advance.

The Girls centres around one girl called Evie Boyd. It is set in the summer of 1969 in California. Evie's parents are divorced – she suffers the anxieties and troubles of the stereotypical child of a broken home, but her way of finding solace and a sense of belonging is not through a stereotypical teenage way of rebelling.

Evie sees the girls for the first time in the distance in a park – a vision from afar. Later she stumbles upon Suzanne, the leader of the girls, caught stealing in a nearby shop. From here Evie actively pushes herself into the pack of girls. She is led to the ranch the girls live on with their leader of sorts, named Russell. The story line is very similar to the Charles Manson case that also happened in the summer of 1969: Cline does not dismiss this as a source of inspiration. The girls are described as so floaty and careless yet animalistic and wild, but ultimately puppets of Russell.

What is really powerful about this novel is that it is told from the perspective of both a young and old Evie. We, as the reader see her anxieties grow worse as she ages, and how her experiences haunt her, and never leave her.

It is the type of book you do not forget easily; the type of book where you feel you almost have to say goodbye to the characters out loud; and the type of book that you will recommend with trepidation as the writing is so good but the plot line so harrowing.


Monday, 5 September 2016

August favourites 2016 | The Small Desk

That's it, it's almost Christmas, get the tinsel out, bulk buy that mince meat! Where is this year going!? It's been a whole eight months since I wrote my New Year's Resolutions... what!?

I was reminded of goals and resolutions whilst watching Allison Anderson on YouTube. August has been a month of dithering and going with the flow but whilst working from home today I was feeling very unproductive so started to look for videos with positive can-do messages. I found Allison's videos and boy does she have some really great tips; I would definitely recommend watching her if you're feeling the work slump.

Back to my resolutions though... I've done three out of eight... hmm... oh well! I've been focused more on enjoying myself this month than anything else as I think I deserve it after the whole house buying process! How long can I blame the house buying process for...??

I was initially worried about moving out of London and further away from my work, friends and family. I was worried I could become isolated, however it appears that the complete opposite has happened. Thank G! This month has been choc-a-bloc with socialising. I don't know why I've had quite so many more social events than normal but part of me thinks perhaps I am projecting a more positive attitude now that I am happy in my home.

1. Dinner with an ex colleague
I met up with a colleague I worked with for a really long time and it was so nice to catch up, plus we had Mexican which is always a winner! We actually went out again at the end of the month too for another Mexican!

2. New sofa
We finally got our new sofa. Hurrah! I think we ordered it two or three months ago...

3. Friend's birthday drinks in Soho
Unfortunately the fiancé had to go home early from these as he wasn't feeling very well, but I stayed on for a bit and it was fun to catch up with the girls. Also, I got ID'ed! I was very happy!

4. Austria
This month we went on a family holiday to Austria. There were absolutely beautiful views from the house we stayed in. We got to swim in a mountain lake and do some spectacular walks. It was really nice to spend time with the family too.

5. Dad's birthday
For my Dad's birthday we ordered a takeaway Chinese, always my favourite.

6. Grandparents over
My grandparents came to visit my new house. They are now both in their late eighties, so I was really impressed that they wanted to come all the way down. My parents drove them down but it still just under an hour in the car. My Granddad made me a little herb garden, which was so cute!

7. Rowing
Our friend came down to see the new house and we took him rowing on a nearby canal. Despite almost crashing into two canal boats we had a lot of fun.

8. Got house registry
I don't really know the proper name for this but basically it's all now official and our names are on the deeds of the house. Woot!

9. Two old school friends for dinner
Two of my oldest school friends came over one week night to my new place for dinner. I made them Deliciously Ella lunch bowl, it was good. Also, they both bought me plants, the sunflowers above and the pink plant are from them. So pretty!

10. Out for drinks in Chancery Lane
I met a few of my school friends for drinks in Chancery Lane on the evening of one of the really warm days this month.

11. Fiancé's sister and partner came over
It really has been a month of people coming over to see the new house. My future sister-in-law (oh that sounds weird!) came over with her fiancé and we went out for lunch and played Harry Potter trivial pursuit. She was ridiculously good at it.

12. Friend's housewarming drinks
Another of my old school friends had seven of us over for housewarming drinks and dinner. Her flat is so nice and has a massive balcony so we could all sit outside. I had a bit of a nightmare getting back as the trains were royally screwed.

13. Handyman over
You will probably be seeing more and more home maintenance in my favourites from now on, but trust me, it is the best thing when something gets fixed in your house! We had some curtain rails put up and a light fixed. Party!

14. Bank Holiday stroll
I may have explained before but the fiancé is basically like a dog. He needs to get out of the house, he can't stay indoors all day. So on Bank Holiday Monday I took him out for a stroll that we intended to be 20 minutes but ended up being an hour and a half! It was a really pretty evening though so I did enjoy it.

15. Neighbours
Finally, we went round to our next door neighbours for drinks, and hurrah, they are really lovely people! I am so relieved. The girl even gets free DVDs through work and said we could borrow them, again hurrah!

How was your August? Did you go on holiday, or have a staycation of some kind?

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