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A. Thorn (UK)

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Daughter
Daughter
by Jane Shemilt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I don't care about this "Daughter", 17 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Daughter (Paperback)
I bought this book in Sainsburys while doing the weekly shop, I liked the cover and I enjoy a page-turner thriller which I thought (wrongly) this would be. I have put down and picked up this book so many times and STILL not finished it. I'm about half way through now, and I've come to the conclusion as to why I can't finish it - I hate all the characters and I don't care what happens to them.

Honestly, the children are so utterly spoilt and unlikeable, they're in their mid/late teens and their mum still makes them breakfast? She comes home from a full days work and makes them dinner from scratch? And they still treat her like rubbish. One part I particularly hated was when one of the twins gets in a strop because mum wont allow them to have a party in the family holiday cottage - urghhh!! Middle class kids and their problems, I really don't care! I thought Naomi was selfish and rude, she put everyone in a horrible situation and only cares about herself. The dad didn't seem to give a solitary sh*t his daughter was missing, and apparently it turns out he was having affair which was OBVIOUS FROM THE FIRST CHAPTER ANYWAY.

Other horrors include:
- the banal detail of EVERY meal and how it was prepared
- the shine-yer-shoes-guv working class family who are utterly patronised by the insufferable Jenny
- Jenny and her naval-gazing and martyr attitude, how she puts her unlikeable daughter on a pedestal as some angel which she clearly was not
- the general middle-class sneering undertones at anyone who didn't fit the mould VOMIT

I hate this book and I don't seem me finishing it.


The Other Hand
The Other Hand
by Chris Cleave
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Clever marketing ploy, terrible book., 6 April 2014
This review is from: The Other Hand (Paperback)
I was also taken in by the blurb on the back of this book, thinking it would be a Paulo Coelho-esque fable/parable that would leave me feeling all warm and gooey inside. Ha, no.

The book is so boring I ditchd it halfway through and finally finished it on a long night shift (I can't stand to leave a book unifinished, even if I hate it). The big "thing" which happens on the beach left me feeling a bit flat, like "Oh is that it?" The story afterwards was dull and I really didn't care for Sarah and her privileged middle class life, even Little Bee came across as irritating. And the kid, urgh.

I've learnt my lesson never to be drawn in by such intriguing blurb EVER AGAIN. Hated, hated this book.


The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul
by Deborah Rodriguez
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A poor man's Khaled Hosseini, 25 Nov. 2013
Having read a number of fiction books about Afghanistan (A Thousand Splendid Suns being my fabourite) I was keen to read this book following five women in Kabul. However I came away disappointed ands frustrated with the book and the author.

The first mistake the author made was taking on the challenge of trying to write five believable, well-rounded characters each with interesting and individual stories in a book of less than 400 pages. The author has seriously over-estimated their skills as a writer in my opinion. I found two of the characters, Candace and Isabelle, astonishingly pointless as they added nothing to the plot. Their own storylines seemed under-developed and crude. Isabelle in particular seemed like a character 'taped-on' to the book and the mention of her rape and visit to the "Only Jew in Kabul" was obviously the author separately trying to give the character some legotimacy. Candace came across as deeply unlikeable and jaw-droppingly naive. It was obvious from the first page of her introduction that Wakil was only using her for money yet the author stretched out this thinner than crepe paper story till the end of the book.

I found myself only caring about the Afghan characters of the book, I would flick through the pages until the plot returned to their stories. It felt like the author had no faith in her Afghan characters so introduced the pointless European and American characters to appeal to a Western audience. If she had concentrated on only the afghan characters (including the Hazari coffee house worker who I felt could have been a much more central character wit more of a story line) the book would have been richer, deeper and more interesting.

The authors writing style was irritating, as she's an American I can almost forgive her for the inaccurate use of 'bloody hell' by the British character, but found the use of the term 'thick British accent' annoying. What the hell is a thick British accent? Geordie, Cockney, Scouse? Turns out it was Middle-Class Southern accent, the accent all British characters have in American film and TV. Also I lost count of the times the women touched each other's arms. Isabelle touched Candace's arm, Sunny touched Isabelle's arm etc etc. Bizarrely one of the women but the back of their hand on the others shoulder at one point (why?).

Overall I found this book in need of at least half a dozen rewrites and a removal of two characters at least to be classed as a good read.


Snow Flower and the Secret Fan [DVD]
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan [DVD]
Dvd ~ Li Bingbing
Price: £7.34

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed - a choppy, shallow and badly scripted adaptation., 31 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have not read the book that this film is based on, but I have read other Lisa See novels. If you were to watch this film unaware that it was based on a novel - it would soon become apparent to you that it was. There is obviously so much in the book that the writers wanted to capture in the film, that the whole thing ended up feeling very rushed and under-developed.

The film chopped clunkily and too often between the historical and modern day stories, none of the characters were well formed enough and it was hard to feel this so-called sisterly bond between the modern day characters in particular. The script was quite awkward and some of the phrasing was a bit obvious in its effort to sign-post where the story was going.

The scenes set in the past were a thousand times better than the modern day scenes, as the Chinese actresses were speaking in Mandarin and appeared more comfortable. They inexplicably spoke English a majority of the time in the modern day scenes, which sounded odd to the ear and affected their acting (in my opinion, as they didn't seem as comfortable acting in a foreign tongue).

This film could have been improved by focusing mainly on the historical angle of the novel, maybe having the modern scenes at the beginning and the end to tie it up nicely. The producers of this film have fallen down in trying to adapt the novel as faithfully as possible, but in the end we're left with a shallow under-developed and rushed film.


Peony in Love
Peony in Love
by Lisa See
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Great expectation, but not impressed., 8 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Peony in Love (Paperback)
I had great hopes for this book but found the story a little disjointed and depressing. None of the characters were particuarly likeable, and thus I found it difficult to understand why Peony was obsessed with this man. A bit of a let down.


Strangeland
Strangeland
by Tracey Emin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful journey, 24 May 2009
This review is from: Strangeland (Paperback)
Like many, I never knew much about Emin apart from what was portrayed in the media. This beautiful memoir, recorded in capsule memories and feelings, is wonderful.


Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
by Jung Chang
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book!, 24 May 2009
I feel a lot of the 5 star reviews sum up what I want to say about this book already, and much more eloquently then I ever could.

All I will say is, this book takes you on a rich cultural journey through the tapestry of a changing China. It is terribly moving, and Jung writes in an emphatic and engaging way. I urge everyone to read this book.


Hokkaido Highway Blues
Hokkaido Highway Blues
by Will Ferguson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Through the eyes of a Gaijin, 24 May 2009
This review is from: Hokkaido Highway Blues (Paperback)
I found this book savagely funny as well as informative and endearing. Ferguson obviously has a great love of this country, yet has not been blinded by naiviety and still picks out some of the less lovely sides of modern Japan. This was one of the first books I ever read about modern Japanese culture and found it easy to access and immensley informative.

A wonderful read with moments at which I laughed out loud as well as almost cried.


Autobiography Of A Geisha (Vintage Original)
Autobiography Of A Geisha (Vintage Original)
by Sayo Masuda
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle, moving and melancholy., 24 May 2009
This autobiography of an onsen Geisha is subtle and tragic. Her story of immense and unrelenting hardship is told in a terribly powerful and moving way. The onsen geisha are the less glamorous side of geisha life, and a side we may never have known about without this book.


Geisha of Gion: The True Story of Japan's Foremost Geisha: The Memoir of Mineko Iwasaki
Geisha of Gion: The True Story of Japan's Foremost Geisha: The Memoir of Mineko Iwasaki
by Mineko Iwasaki
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

4.0 out of 5 stars A great book, though insight needed., 24 May 2009
I bought this book after hearing about Mineko in Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha. After the book was published, there was a dispute over Golden's portrayal of Geisha life and after reading this book I was shocked at how misleading Memoirs had been. HOWEVER, since then I have done extensive research into the Geisha myself and have no qualms with Goldens representation of Geisha. Kyoto geisha (geiko) are the top of the pecking order and look down on other geisha who are not from their geisha districts, stating that they are not in fact geisha at all. Although I enjoyed this book immensely, please be aware that Minenko may be portraying what she wants us to think about Geiko rather than the actual reality. Especially with the lack of reference to mizuage and danna's. I recommend the studies into Geisha by Liza Dalby and Lesley Downer for a more thorough insight.


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