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Profile for Ms H. M. Conner > Reviews

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Ms H. M. Conner "where Mary Poppins meets Attila the Hun" (downwind of Bournville)
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The Autograph Man
The Autograph Man
by Zadie Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking in the best way, 26 Sept. 2011
This review is from: The Autograph Man (Paperback)
This taught me things - pretty major things - about two major religions that I thought I was already knowledgeable about. I'm a bit of a religion buff, having been looking for some years for some way to make sense of what people do in the name of religion, so that surprised me. I know most people go to a novel looking for things other than education, but I find that a bonus.

Yes, I did - often - want to slap the main character for being quite so self-centred and obtuse. But I sighed with relief every time his friends found a way to deal with him, or he stumbled his way towards doing the right thing, usually unobserved and unrewarded.

In a world where few good deeds go unpunished, a novel about the odd persistence of decency and affection - that's worth treasuring, I would say.


Leaving Atlanta
Leaving Atlanta
by Tayari Jones
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent child's eye view of the world, 12 July 2011
This review is from: Leaving Atlanta (Hardcover)
Tayari Jones captures these things perfectly - that as children, we don't fear rational danger nearly as much as we fear hurt feelings from our peers and parents. That we internalise harsh, sometimes thoughtless judgements until we learn to judge ourselves more harshly than anyone.

That's not the way an adult would react, and adults learn to dismiss the reactions of children. But it's foolish to expect children to become, emotionally, tiny adults - and given that most children who are murdered, die at the hands of someone they know, I would say that it's the child's response that's apt, not the adult's.

I wanted to shake the grown-ups in this. Carrying around their own memories of being hurt children - not looking to see what they're passing on. Some of them got so close to actually looking their kid in the eye and seeing the person there, not the obligation or the thing to be moulded into just the desired shape.

'Never child born that wasn't a miracle, albeit miracle sometimes unwanted or unseen'.

'The most obscene phrase in the English language is 'unloved child''.

I look forward to reading many more books by Tayari Jones.


Vox
Vox
by Nicholson Baker
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully treads the line between erotica and porn, 18 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Vox (Paperback)
Perfect fiction for anyone with a healthy libido which is nevertheless always - every single time! - trumped by their sense of humour. Go to, read it from cover to cover, enjoy!


The Wrong Sort of Wife?
The Wrong Sort of Wife?
by Elise Chidley
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Almost stopped reading this - glad I didn't, 18 Jun. 2011
I have a really low wince threshold - she almost lost me with the clingfilm, and after I'd bravely dived back in, the tanning debacle - more for Tessa than Lizzie - made me skip about two pages, because it was just too hideous to bear...

But that wasn't because either scene was unrealistic or not true to life - rather the reverse, they brought my own skeletons jangling to the front of the wardrobe. All those times when you fervently hope you'll look back and laugh, while suspecting you will never attain quite that degree of distance from the debacle.

Also, I kept wanting to punch James for being such an unbelievably un-understanding, stuck-up, pain of a man. Which, again, resonating with my own unbelievably un-understanding, stuck up, etc, etc.

Evelyn would really have got on with my first m-in-l - who, to the bitter end, called me 'the cheap date'. Mm.

It's a rare and to-be-treasured thing to feel quite so completely sisters under the skin with a fictional character that you wish she was real enough for you to check if her email address was genuine.

And the ending is just right. Picture perfect, with a little twist...


Crowboy
Crowboy
by David Calcutt
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and ambiguously beautiful, 22 May 2011
This review is from: Crowboy (Paperback)
I'll definitely read this again - it's a book that dragged me through, unwilling, wanting much better for most of the characters (much worse for one!).

I didn't get any of the endings I hoped for. But I'd read it again.

And it won't be a book I give to my children, but I hope they find it.


Narrow Margins
Narrow Margins
by Marie Browne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.50

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dream of downsizing that works under pale northern skies, 18 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Narrow Margins (Paperback)
I stole this from my husband while he was still reading it - I'm that kind of person, might as well get it out of the way... and therefore had to read it under my desk at work in the hopes of getting it back to him before he'd really noticed it had gone - yep, that person too...

My boss is now three chapters into this book, and seems to be enjoying it enormously. I'll update you when my next performance review rolls round.

My only question - when can I have the cardboard cutout kitchen that allows you to feel virtuous and lose weight while living on chinese & pizza...?


The Boys Are Back In Town
The Boys Are Back In Town
by Simon Carr
Edition: Paperback

0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars read this with 'the stork club' by freely, 29 Feb. 2008
Which is about a man who drives away two wives by being, basically, the bloke in this book. It's fiction, written by a woman, and tends to be described as 'over-the-top' by women I know who haven't read this yet...

And then they realise: not so much 'over the top', more 'under the bottom' (just don't open the padlocked box in the basement...)

Not for the squeamish or faint-hearted - however, me and my girls loved it altogether.

Boys are *so* much nicer when you can leave them flat without worrying about their spine breaking...

Helen


The Stork Club
The Stork Club
by Maureen Freely
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this with 'the boys are back in town',, 29 Feb. 2008
This review is from: The Stork Club (Paperback)
Which is the autobiography of a man whose first wife divorced him, and whose second wife died, leaving him to cope, not entirely alone, but with sole authority over two boys. I go into this level of detail because, for women, it's *hard* to understand how men and boys work. Same as, for men, it's *hard* to understand how women work.

And yet, we do all work. The opinion 'all the people I know and trust work like me, so all people who want to be known and trusted should work like me' is one of the dumbest on the planet.

Having read this immediately after said autobiography, I found this enlightened and impressive, as a picture of how people from one culture can get sucked in, turned around, and spit out by a culture they're not prepared for.

And, yes, I know all the arguments for and against cultural relativism. It's hard to get along with people who see your most heartfelt & cherished beliefs as flimsy opinions. And it's even harder to get on with people who justify that by holding up *their* heartfelt & cherished beliefs, and calling *them* flimsy opinions.

I met a Dutch couple once who were shocked silly by me munching my baby's stomach, and calling her 'Sausage'. Genuinely, solidly shocked. And I was shocked by them being shocked...

Nowt as queer as folk.


Grotesque
Grotesque
by Natsuo Kirino
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't like the narrator - or anyone else, 24 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Grotesque (Paperback)
The narrator's philosophy of life is both bleak and unforgiving. And since we experience this world through her-tinted glasses, it doesn't matter that her sister is Holly Golightly, or that her best friend is Cameron Diaz, or that her teacher is that guy from Battle Royale.

What matters is that I bought the book half price on offer with Charlie Wilson's War, and if I had the time over, I'd have bought a second copy of Charlie Wilson's War. Full price.


Spacehunter: Adventures in Forbidden Zone [DVD] [1983] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Spacehunter: Adventures in Forbidden Zone [DVD] [1983] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One villain, two heroines, three bimbos & some trick glasses, 5 Aug. 2005
Molly Ringwald, playing feisty red-head. The real heroine they saved for the prequel, and then never made it - shame, really. I'd sure watch it.
It's in a 'verse with gritty spaceships, which are my favourite kind, and machines that sometimes pass the Turing test, human beings ditto.
The three bimbos being, of course, exceptions.
Did I mention the 3-D space battles....?


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