Living to the full: Everything Everything

*Mild spoilers ahead*

One thing I will tell you to do either before, during or after reading this novel is to do something you have never done before (even if it is something you are frightened of). The reason why I am telling you to do this is because if you do, then you will truly feel how Madeline feels in Everything Everything.

 

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is a love story, but one that differs to others that are on the market. Madeline is a young girl that has never been outside, she is kept indoors with filtered air because she has the rare condition SCID which means she is allergic to everything. It never bothered her that she did not live like normal teenagers until she met Ollie, whom she soon falls in love with and wants to do all the things her mother stopped her doing before, even if it means she loses her life.

 

The ending is especially surprising and I certainly wasn’t expecting it, though it is satisfying for the reader. Whilst I will not give it away, you will not be disappointed and you will cry (just a fair warning).

 

Madeline is a protagonist you can genuinely feel for and not due to the usual trivial thing you find in novels. As though you may not have her exact condition, you can relate because most of us have some condition (be it mental or physical) that restricts us to doing something. Which is why I told you to do something new, exciting, and or scary that you may or may not have wanted to do before. Ollie is also a character which you can appreciate, understand, and sympathise with, but for different reasons.  The other characters are minor and few but they add their own dimension to the story in subtle but great ways.

 

Nicola Yoon has presented this story in a unique way that I have never seen before. Instead of it all being in prose, she has added in ‘pictures’ in a sense. She added the IM conversations between Madeline and Ollie, the hospital records among other important documents. Whilst it may confuse you to begin with, you soon learn to understand, enjoy and love this style.

 

Overall, the book will make you cry, smile and feel things you may never have experienced or wanted to but in the end, you are happy you went on this journey with Madeline. The story leaves you hanging and wanting more. So all in all, it is another must read.

Anything but small: Small Great Things

*Mild Spoilers Ahead*

*Mild Spoilers Ahead*

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult is anything but small. It is about hard hitting, real life issues such as racism and infant loss. It is about the trials and tribulations of parenthood, and when life throws you the curveball of not being able to raise them. How the colour of your skin affects your life constantly and how you may live it, and most importantly, it is about acceptance or the journey to it at least.

 

The narrative of the story is spilt between Ruth, Turk and Kennedy. The nurse who is ‘held responsible’ for the death of Turk’s new-born son, the father and the attorney appointed to prove Ruth’s innocence and hopefully criminal justice because of her race. All three of these flawed characters hit home and make you truly think about today’s society and whether it is one you want to live in, and raise your children in.

 

Whilst the overarch of this story may not appeal to you, it is a must read. It will leave you feeling sorry but also hating Turk on his journey of justice for his son. You will hate the justice system and the treatment of Ruth and want to help her in any way possible, but have the knowledge you cannot because you cannot reach into the book and alter the storyline. As with Kennedy you both will love her and want to slap her for the treatment of the case and lack of empathy for Ruth, and her case.

 

Overall, the book will make you cry and educate you in law, nursing, and empathy. It will show you that though we have come in leaps and bounds from when we enslaved black people and used them as our own pets, but we have not in other ways. Such as complete animosity towards them and still are enemies to some, for example, the white supremacists.

 

Finally, the comparison to it being a modern day To Kill a Mockingbird is true, for while times have changed, so has the ways to persecute those who do not form to the Americans lifestyle, or anyone else’s.

One Shot

This was a short story originally written for my year one composition class at university and was later published in the The Wells Muse.

I remember that day. The day I wanted to make her feel beautiful, loved and special. I woke her up with kisses all over, sex and of course some toast and tea. Then I made her wash and get ready. Once she was done I blindfolded her and guided her down the long and winding corridor into her study. After spending the night on it, I had transformed it into a makeshift studio for the day. My old camera and lights were set all around, though unfortunately I could not afford the white screen. Maybe that was why she turned into a miserable bitch. Maybe it was all my fault.

When we began the shoot she was all smiles and laughter as we utilised the room and the beautiful, smooth ivory canvas. Yet as the day progressed and I could not quite click the right pose, her lovely grin faded to be replaced with a frown and misery. Maybe she got bored. Maybe that was the moment she fell out of love with me. Or just maybe that was when she realised she would rather be shagging him. All I know is my favourite photograph from that day was her naked body and face, a flower in her hair and her face as miserable as sin.

Her long physique was in his tall and muscular one. Their lips were so closely intertwined as they were slowly eating each other’s faces off. He hurriedly unzipped her dress as it fell to the sand revealing her bare shoulders and red lacy underwear. I could see the shiver that travelled down her spine but instead of showing it to him, she had removed his shirt and was un-zipping his pants. No sooner had he unhooked her bra and removed her knickers. I could see the breasts that once belonged to me, the ones I used to caress and kiss to make her moan so passionately by doing only that. Now he kissed and caressed them. All whilst I looked from a distant dock. My heart was ripped open in two. I rose the gun up that was by my side and shot twice.

The naked bodies were removed by noon. Her outline was drawn out on the sand and the coppers had put police tape all around the place. But yet people came that did not really know her, only the brutality that had befallen upon them, they had placed roses in her outline, claiming they were her favourite flower. Yet I knew the truth. Her favourite flower was a lily, not bloody roses. I knew she was meeting him to shag him. I knew she no longer loved me. I knew that it was me that fucking killed that whore and her playmate.

When I got back to the flat, the gun was left by the door, I went in. As I gathered all the pictures together from that morning, I emptied the bag I brought back with me on the table though most of the glass had smashed. Yet I still placed the photos in the broken frames. While I collected the hammer and nails from the closet I heard sirens, I carried on with the task I started. I ended up whacking my fucking thumb a couple of times as my ears were pierced with the coppers shouting “Come out with your hands up.” I ignored them and carried on hanging the pictures up until the entire room was full of them. Her face was all around me. Once done I slumped back on the sofa. My entire body felt numb. Before I knew it the coppers had broken down the door and somehow, I was in the back of their car but still I felt nothing.

This was a short story originally written for my year one composition class at university and was later published in the The Wells Muse. It was created by looking at a series of photos and writing a small paragraph on each and then mashing them together and adding a few bits in to make it flow more. I was really happy with this piece because it was out of my comfort zone and something I have never written before.

Four Tales: A Monster Calls

*Mid Spoilers Ahead*
Follow Conor O’Malley on his journey of self-discovery and encounters with the Monster in Patrick Ness’ novel, A Monster Calls.

*Mid Spoilers Ahead*

Follow Conor O’Malley on his journey of self-discovery and encounters with the Monster in Patrick Ness’ novel, A Monster Calls. The novel centres on Conor who is going through the turmoil of his Mothers cancer consciously rearing its ugly head and we see how Conor deals with this, which is summoning the Monster. We also see how he deals with the monster, which he thought was an extension of his nightmare, but this monster is real and was called upon because of that. The boy finds comfort the unlikeliest of ways in the end.

 

Reading this book in the sky whilst flying helps add to the atmosphere and the world of Conor O’Malley and his monsters as the clouds around you may be the mist around Conor in the evening, the turbulence could be the Monster coming for you and the ear popping could be your ears telling you that you need to scream. And whilst I am not telling you that you must fly whilst reading the book, but doing something out the ordinary before, after or during this book could enhance the reading experience.

 

Whilst I am yet to watch the film (I am one of those that prefer to usually read the book then watch the film or TV show) I believe that if it is anything like the book, then your heartstrings will be pulled and you will hate those pesky onions even more than you did before. The book delves into life problems of cancer and what would happen to a young boy if his mum dies, would he stay with the grandma who is very orderly and clean or the absent father who is only seen every so often as he created a new family. Some of the serious issues that are apparent is today’s society, but they make it more young adult/child friendly with the added twist of fiction of the monster.

 

From the issues raised I see it as being a great source of information and comfort for those children who face this problem every day in the bereavement of a parent as it shows them that it will be okay and that you will survive.

 

Overall, I would recommend this book as it is spellbound, tear jerking and heart-warming in a sense. I could not help but read it entirely in the three hour plane journey.