A BOOK THAT YOU SHOULD NEVER READ

two-of-us-9781471142437_hr

You might think this a strange title, considering that I loved this book.

But I only tell you not to read it because I worry.

I worry that you will cry as much as I did. I worry that you will laugh as much as I did. I worry that you will lose two days of your life as I did, hiding in bed in bed for hours until you reach the very end. And I worry that you will love it as much as I did and pass on its precious secrets to someone who will turn it into an oh-so-predictably-not-as-good-as-the-book film.

I became friends with Fisher as soon as Andy introduced me to him. I thought that London provided the perfect backdrop to this story. I loved that I didn’t particularly fall for Ivy. I understood the need for Switzerland. I liked that the plot line was nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, it’s so ordinary that you may have shared many of the same experiences as the couple. But that’s what makes this read such a success: you are drawn into the honesty of the characters and simplistic charm of Jones’ writing.

But who is Andy Jones you ask?

Well, he’s soon to be one of your favourite authors. The writer of one of your favourite stories. A man you fell in love with. A human who broke your heart. But you’ll have to read his words to find out why because I refuse to divulge anything here. The Two of Us, much like life, will take you by surprise. And that’s exactly the way it should be.

David Nichols and Graeme Simson are my two favourite authors. Andy Jones has now been added to this list.

I look forward to his second creation later this year. Will keep you posted.

GIVEAWAY!

The lovely people at Puffin have sent me two fantastic books to give away to my readers: ‘Hold Me Closer’ (a signed copy- shush!) written by David Levithan and ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ written by both Levithan and John Green.

unnamed (3)

‘Hold Me Closer’ is a story told by Tiny Cooper written in the form of a musical. Different, I know. But it works. “Filled with humour, pain, and ‘big, lively, belty’ musical numbers, readers will finally learn the full story of Tiny Cooper from his birth and childhood to his quest for love and his infamous eighteen ex-boyfriends.”

The book is a follow on from ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’, which is about “Two guys with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, and culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high-school stage.”

If you love John Green, like most of us do, you are guaranteed to enjoy both of these books. And I promise you won’t weep as much as that time you read ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ in public.

‘Maybe there’s something you’re afraid to say, or someone you’re afraid to love, or somewhere you’re afraid to go. It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna hurt because it matters.’ – John Green

To enter, all you have to do is tweet me telling me something that you have accomplished that you are proud of (this giveaway is in conjunction with Pride, after all). If you’re not a fan of Twitter? Simply comment below. You can tell me something that you have achieved yourself or, if you would like to nominate a friend, then tell me what they’ve done to make you feel proud today. I’m starting to feel a bit like Heather Small, so I’ll stop now.

Once everyone has submitted their celebration, I will then choose a winner at complete random and have these two little golden nuggets sent out to you STAT. You have until 31st July.

Best of luck!

THE SHOCK OF THE FALL

shockfall

I first heard of The Shock of the Fall at university. I only got round to reading it last week. And by Jove, it’s good.

A decent way into the book, I was convinced that it wasn’t for me. However, when a handsome chap on the tube asked what I thought of it, I felt like I had to smile and say, “Amazing, yeah”, mainly because of his eyes. But also because everyone had raved about it so much. But yeah, mainly because of his eyes.

So as I continued to wade through conversation after conversation about how great it was, inside I felt confused about why I hadn’t clicked with Matt – the ultimate untrustworthy narrator – and why I was decidedly unbothered about where his journey would take him.

Until about three chapters from the end, where everything clicked for me. I can’t say why it did, but I urge you to read it and find out.

It might not sit comfortably with you at first (because, why should it? it’s a story about mental illness and we’re still not over that taboo just yet) but hold out until it does and it will be worth it. Even for this quote alone:

“‘Really Matt. You’re your own worst enemy.’

That’s a strange thing to say to someone with a serious mental disease. Of course I’m my own worst enemy. That’s the whole problem.”

It’s very difficult for someone who has never suffered from mental illness to really get it. But think of it like this: as humans, we are used to fending off attackers and fighting to survive; it’s in our nature. But what happens when you are fighting with yourself? Not like cancer, where we can zap the bad stuff out and people can see what’s up. But when what you are fighting is inside your head where nobody except you can see it or hear it? I won’t insult those who do suffer by saying that I get it. Because I don’t. But what I will say is that it scares me and I would like to do all I can to at least try to understand it.

Set in Bristol, The Shock of the Fall is a story of guilt, loss and, most importantly, mental illness. Not only does Filer do what Haddon does in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and create a voice for a voice in a head, but he sheds light on the reality of the struggles of someone suffering on a daily basis – from the very real effects of NHS cuts to mistaking a helping hand for something else entirely – a refreshing perspective and far cry from straight jackets and asylums.

Matt’s journey takes us from the point of trauma and ends somewhere between acceptance, freedom and succumbing.

By the final few pages I was sobbing and smiling. And I don’t cry.

Let me know what you think of it. I think it’s great.