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.

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.

Rambling Man

This was another piece written for The Wells Muse, issue 5 (https://madmagz.com/magazine/971515#/), however I did start it last year with just the idea. But when I knew I needed a piece or the issue I decided to finish it for it.

Suitcase in hand, he bent over her sleeping form. Her long red locks that were usually straightened, covered her perfect face and began curling from the day’s intense heat. As he smiled softly to himself, he knew she would hate the fact that her hair was curling, she would die for straight hair.

 

He watched her chest that was modestly covered by the thin silk sheet rise and fall with each shaky breath she took, a bad dream he thought to himself as he sighed. Yet, he continued to watch it rise and fall as he caught his own breath. Why are you doing this? He whispered to himself as she turned over, facing him but with her eyes still closed as her breath steadied. As he let out a long, drawn breath he kissed her forehead and straightened up. She smiled softly in her sleep at his touch. Leaving a folded piece of paper on her drawer, he reached for the handle and exited the cheap motel.

 

The click came quick and strong to stop the snow seeping in, her eyes opened slowly and adjusted to the early morning light. However, she realised that it was too late. The rambling man had left as the bright lights came through the icy windows.

 

Sitting on her bed, she was rereading the letter again, she had thought her love would make him stay this time. Her naivety got the better of her again as she read the letter out loud,

I’m sorry to do this again, but we both know I’m not much of a lover, I’ve always been a runner. I promise if I ever come round again, I hope that I can be the man you want me to be, although I understand if you find the right man before then. But please, babe, remember I will always love you.

 

Crumpling the letter in her hand, she placed it in the drawer. A stack of letters already there.

 

A few days had passed when he sat in a motorway diner, sipping the frothy hot coffee he had just been served. He thought of her and could not help but let that small smile play on his lips. He took one long swig of his drink as he rose from his chair and strolled over to the payphone. Putting the money in, he dialled her number. It rang a few times before it cut to voicemail. Sighing, he said what he should have said in the letter,

“I know you must hate me again, but let me tell you that whilst I may have a gypsy soul, you are the only one that has ever made me want to build and stay. And while it’s not yet, we’ll soon be together and I cannot wait. Please hold on, I feel that we belong.” He placed the receiver back on its cradle while he rested his head against the wall. He knew he must have messed up really big this time.

 

This was another piece written for The Wells Muse, issue 5 (https://madmagz.com/magazine/971515#/), however I did start it last year with just the idea. But when I knew I needed a piece or the issue I decided to finish it for it.

Sorry for not posting this past week, I was away on holiday in Malta. I shall try and be more frequent from now on until University begins next year. Thank you for bearing with me.

A tale to end all tales: The Handmaids Tale

*Mild Spoilers ahead*

What would happen if the world’s population became so scarce and women’s fertility dropped to such a low percentage due to infections and diseases?

*Mild Spoilers ahead*

What would happen if the world’s population became so scarce and women’s fertility dropped to such a low percentage due to infections and diseases? Margaret Atwood answers all these questions and more in her novel, The Handmaids Tale. The novel was published in 1986 and quickly rose to the bestsellers list.

The tale follows Offred, a woman of thirty-three years’ age thrown into a new, totalitarian state which replaces the United States we know today. What drew me to this novel was not only the recommendation from Michael saying that it could be an inspiration for my own novel, but also as I have wanted to read this book for years now but many others came in the way and I just thought, you know what? Yes, I am going to do it.

Atwood’s novel is about women, and how quickly their rights can be taken away from them due to decreasing population and because a new government says so. Offred is one of the Handmaids that high-ranking Commanders use to try to reproduce and increase population. She is not treated like a human, but a breeding mule. However, as the novel digresses, she does get more control over her life again maybe not to the extent she has in the flashbacks she has of before Gilead was formed, but she still gains some. We never find out what happens to Offred, whether she escapes Gilead or not as it cuts to years after Gilead was taken down. A professor talks of her ‘tale’ and how they found it, but not of what happened to her as they could not find that out themselves. Overall, I loved reading this book, it gave me feelings I never thought I would receive whilst reading a book. However, the ending in my opinion was a little bit of a let-down, whilst it leaves it up to interpretation of the reader of what happens to her, I wanted to know what did happen to Offred.

Whilst Atwood’s is sceptical at what time the novel is placed in, though we can see that it is possible that it is set in the 2000’s at least due to its epilogue of the Professors talk,