“The Burning” by Laura Bates

Thanks to Simon and Schuster UK and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

When I heard that Laura Bates of Everyday Sexism was writing a novel, I was really excited to read it. Her work is often discussed in the school in which I teach and the website and Twitter feed are used by pupils when looking at issues around sexism, social media, gender bias and peer pressure. I was keen to see whether a fictional approach would be able to tie in with the topics we’ve explored already.

Continue reading ““The Burning” by Laura Bates”

“They Were Her Property” by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers

cover155799-medium

Thanks to Yale University Press and NetGalley for providing me with an Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is an important book in a much-overlooked topic. All too often in historical writing we see white women being given a free pass when it comes to their culpability for the horrors of slavery. This book seeks to set the record straight and change our assumptions about antebellum women slave-owners.

Continue reading ““They Were Her Property” by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers”

“Notes to Self” by Emilie Pine

Thanks to Penguin Books UK and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I actually finished this book a few weeks ago but felt I needed some time to ruminate about it before writing my review. This book deals with some really tough subjects and issues that have also affected me. It’s raw, unflinchingly honest and personal and I think many other women will feel the same affinity with the author whilst reading it. Continue reading ““Notes to Self” by Emilie Pine”

“Lost Children Archive” by Valeria Luiselli

Thanks to Harper Collins UK and Netgalley for the Advance Review Copy.

I tried with this book, I really did. The premise was interesting and there is some good buzz around it.

This novel follows a family on a road trip from New York City to Arizona. The mother and father document sounds…? The sounds of life and the city? Or something. To be honest I was pretty much lost and confused from this point onwards. The narrative is intersected with migrant children’s experiences and attitudes towards indigenous people. Continue reading ““Lost Children Archive” by Valeria Luiselli”

“Mother Country” by Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff

9781472261908

I’ve read numerous pieces of Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff’s writings in various publications so was keen to read this. Thanks to Netgalley and Headline for providing me with a review copy.

This book is a wonderful collection of the stories of the families of the Windrush generation. The Windrush issue is currently prevalent in the media and although most have heard about it, many may not understand the background and why what is happening to those affected by it is injust. I will hold my hand up and say I too was in this camp, but this book enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of the situation and how it has impacted the people involved.

This book also gave me an insight into a different culture, one that is unfamiliar to me. Growing up and living in rural Scotland does not always give me the exposure to other cultures but by reading this book I was able to gain a glimpse into the experiences of others. I particularly appreciated the focus on women’s stories, something the author highlighted had been largely absent in other collections.

The book chronicles the sacrifices made by many and the families that were often broken as a result. The sacrifice made for a country that invited them and then years later tried to devalue and deny their contributions. There are heartbreaking anecdotes of racism, and the determination to hold onto their culture despite the hostility they faced. However, there is also joy, humour and a quiet dignity from the mix of celebrities and everyday people who have contributed their stories to this book.

For teachers and other educators, first hand accounts are invaluable in helping students to really empathise with the impact governmental decisions can have on the lives of those affected by them. I would recommend this book as reading to anyone wishing to explore these issues with their classes.