I won’t lie, this book was a bit of a struggle. And by struggle I mean it took me about three months to get through it. It’s an amazing topic, but I found the main character’s voice fragmented, distracted and quite annoying. But this is a result of her the deep trauma you discover as the story unfolds.
The story is an important one. And considering this book won The Man Booker Prize, I think others would disagree with my review.
Current day is set in the 1990s and flashes back to the family’s home in the 1970s, Rosemary tells a fragmented story of her twin sister, Fern, who is a chimpanzee. Rosemary and Fern were raised together and then separated at the age of five – Fern is never to be seen again. As a result, the family is divided.
What I found most fascinating about this novel was this story is based on a series of events that actually occurred in real life – there really were scientists and psychologists putting chimps into homes and seeing how they developed amongst humans. Sadly, what the story demonstrates is that the animal is left in some in between world of never being quite human and never being able to function amongst others of it’s own kind.
The book is a confronting and distressing read – but excellent. I don’t want to say I wouldn’t recommend it… however I probably wouldn’t go back and reread the book.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
By far one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while. All of Me by Kim Noble is the true story of a woman who was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) – a condition where she shares her body with multiple personalities. These personalities share no memory of each other and are each completely individual humans with their own memories, lives, jobs and, sometimes in her past, their own apartments.
Continue reading All of Me by Kim Noble
‘The more clearly one sees this world, the more one is obliged to pretend it does not exist.’
A beautifully written book set in provincial France during the ’60s about a relationship between an American Yale dropout and a young French girl. Salter’s writing is short, sharp and illuminating with it’s descriptions. Unlike other older novels, this book isn’t flowery in it’s wording, which is refreshing.
Continue reading A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter
“In America, killers pump themselves up on rap, but in Secondigliano they go off to kill with love songs in their ears.”
This is a really interesting book about the Camorra (or The System) —the Neapolitan mafia. Written by Roberto Saviano, a journalist and Naples native, he describes seeing his first murder at the age of fourteen.
Continue reading Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano
“In Mongolia, when a dog dies, he is buried high in the hills so people cannot walk on his grave. The dog’s master whispers into the dog’s ear his wishes that the dog will return as a man in his next life. Then his tail is cut off and put beneath his head, and a piece of meat or fat is placed in his mouth to sustain his soul on its journey; before he is reincarnated, the dog’s soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high desert plains for as long as it would like.
Continue reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
This book was given to each of us at work about six months ago by our director. Given we recently went through a 20 per cent staff cut, I’m guessing she might have been trying to give us all a heads up.
Normally, I don’t much go in for the self-help style of book, but this one was pretty interesting. Firstly, it’s super short, I read it all on my bus trip into work. Continue reading Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson
Book club book #7:
If you’ve never read Bill Bryson, you really need to. I first picked up his ‘Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe’ in 2002, right about the time I was planning my own Europe trip. Since then I’ve weaved in and out of his works, never coming away disappointed; he’s a very entertaining writer. A very easy read and hard to put down kind of writer.
Continue reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
“A man should be like prosciutto: not too fat, not too skinny, not too beautiful, not too ugly.”
I’ve actually read this book before, but decided to I needed a good travel literature style book to come along with me to Thailand. Continue reading See Naples and Die by Penelope Green
Book club book #5:
The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice:
Orpheus was the son of one of the Muses and a Tracian princess, he was given the gift of music. He fell in love with Eurydice and they were married. Continue reading Orpheus Lost by Janette Turner Hospital
Book club book #4:
The great thing about book club is reading books you probably wouldn’t normally select to read. The Kingdom of Childhood is one of those, but it makes for interesting discussion over the dinner table.
Continue reading The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman