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Unexploded by Alison MacLeod – a review

Unexploded is set in wartime Britain, in the south-coast town of Brighton. It takes place between May 1940 and June 1941, during which time the threat of Nazi invasion hands over the town. Bombers fly overhead, mostly en route to and from blasting London to pieces, sometimes dropping bombs on Brighton. Life goes on as normal, with characters going to …

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Book Review: Parenting With Purpose by Nina Garcia

I hadn’t got far into Parenting with Purpose before I knew that I was going to like it. In the first page of her introduction, Nina Garcia says: “We’ve got this discipline thing all wrong. We assume discipline is about punishment… We mistakenly believe that the main purpose of discipline is to stop tantrums at all costs, as quickly as possible.” …

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Mothering Through the Darkness – a Review.

Review of: Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About the Postpartum Experience, edited by Stephanie Sprenger and Jessica Smock My first attempt at reading Mothering Through the Darkness stopped after three essays. The weight of these women’s struggles seemed overwhelming, and I wasn’t sure I could carry on. It didn’t help that I am in the midst of writing …

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The Kindness of Enemies by Leila Aboulela – a Review

Leila and I met over 20 years ago when we were taking a creative writing class. The day I first noticed her, she told the class she was delighted to have just finished writing her first ever short story. Since then, Leila has written many more short stories, including The Museum, which won the first ever Caine Prize for African …

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Why I Recommend “Kindness Wins” by Galit Breen

The book description on Amazon for Kindness Wins by Galit Breen says it is, “An indispensable 21st-century manual of manners written for 21st-century parents and their children.” That is true, but I would say it is much more. The book’s target audience comprises parents, teachers and coaches of children Grade school and early Middle school. My daughters, at fifteen and seventeen …

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“Them and Us” by Arthur Deikman – a Reflection

A few months ago, I typed, “politicians as parental figures” into a search engine and Arthur Deikman’s book: Them and Us came up. Those of you who regularly read this blog, may have noticed I’ve referenced him a few times recently, and now I want to reflect more fully on the book. Deikman, who died in 2013, was a professor …

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This Side of Forever by Jo Chandler – A Review and Interview

When author, Jo Chandler, posted a comment about her novel This Side of Forever in a Goodreads group, I was immediately interested. She described her book as about alcohol addiction and redemption. Those of you who have read my first novel will know it contains the same themes. The similarities don’t end there – both books have female protagonists whose …

The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler – a Review

“The strangest thing about my wife’s return from the dead was how other people reacted.” I don’t think I could start this post with anything better than the opening sentence Anne Tyler chose for her novel, The Beginner’s Goodbye. Occasionally an opening comes to me fully formed and never needs changing, but more often, I find openings the hardest part …

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On Writing by Stephen King – a Review

I have never read any of Stephen King’s novels and as far as I am aware, I haven’t seen the film version of any of them either. So you could probably say I’m not a fan. In a way that’s good when it comes to reading and reviewing his book On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft, …