Month: March 2016

Book Review: Breakfast with Tiffany

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Breakfast With Tiffany: An Uncle’s Memoir by Edwin John Wintle – Paperback, 310 pages – Published May 1st 2006 by Pocket Books

My teacher gave me a small stack of books to read upon hearing how much I love reading, and claimed that this was her all-time favourite. Honestly, the title is what really appealed to me – clearly, it wasn’t anything to do with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but I appreciated the reference.

This novel, this memoir, is a truthful, brutally honest book about life. I can’t say I know what it’s like to be in the author’s place – I’m not a man, I’m not gay, I am not the guardian of my niece and I don’t even live in America – but the little things are just so real.

Tiffany’s home life isn’t great, and one day her uncle volunteers to take her in. Never did he anticipate so much drama and pain from such a small girl. She’s thirteen when she first moves in with her Uncle Eddy, and despite being a nice girl she is known to hang around with the wrong crowd. No matter how hard he tries, Eddy cannot prevent her from finding similar friends at her new school.

The pair really go through their ups and downs, and Ed himself talks a lot about personal thoughts and issues. He’d tested HIV-positive many years ago, and was also an unsuccessful actor. He broke up with his boyfriend relatively recently, and suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder. Basically, life just has not turned out the way he’d planned.

Living with a teenager teaches him a lot of things. He is reminded of his own youth, and has to get on with his life all while keeping Tiffany going too. It’s not easy. Things do get rough, and he does find himself wondering why he ever got himself into this. But in the end their relationship is good, and they have a lot of fun together.

I did find this book great. It has hints of humour, conveys the bitter truth, and even gave me a taste of what it’s like to be a guardian of a teenage girl. There are definitely references I would have appreciated more had I been older than sixteen, and many of Ed’s problems, thoughts or situations may have been more interesting or important to an older generation.

That being said, I actually kind of loved this book. It isn’t quite in my favourites – but who knows, maybe in thirty years time it will be. I think I can easily give Breakfast with Tiffany: An Uncle’s Memoir 4.5 stars out of the full five.

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WWW Wednesdays

What am I currently reading?

I’m still reading Breakfast with Tiffany, True Calling and Homunculus and the Cat, and I’m also reading Uglies at the moment.

What did I finish reading recently?

I’ve finished The Night Circus and Pride and Prejudice over the past week.

What am I reading next?

Here are this week’s options:

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Book Review: Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Hardback, 284 pages – Published 2003 by Planet Three Publishing Network Ltd

I’ve wanted to read more classics for some time, and had a copy of this lying around. So when I was told it may come up on my exams, I thought it was a great opportunity to start reading it. But, as I’ll be writing about it in great detail sometime soon, I’m going to keep this review short and sweet.

This novel was first published in 1813, and is loosely based on Austen’s own home life. It helps if you know a little bit about the time period and the ways of the people back then; this is set in the 19th Century Regency Period, when women were greatly oppressed and often married for money or reputation rather than love and affection. This is shown with the marriage of Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins; Charlotte claims that she rarely sees her husband about the house, and that she finds the solitude quite comfortable.

Austen is challenging these facts though, with Jane and Elizabeth Bennet. They refuse to marry anyone who they do not greatly admire, and Elizabeth especially is a very headstrong character. You could say that this is an early feminist novel!

Another key theme throughout Pride and Prejudice is the judgement of character being incorrect from first impressions. For example, Elizabeth despises Mr Darcy at first. She hears only of his faults, and does not think to wonder about any context or motivation for his “negative” actions. Eventually, Darcy sets her straight and she finds herself feeling an emotion rather different to hate toward him.

Another of the young Bennets, Lydia, finds herself drawn to a man. Hers is the first relationship, and comes about in unfavourable circumstances. She is the youngest of the five sisters, and has always been a lively, flirtatious character.

Jane Bennet, the eldest and most admired of the girls, goes through a few emotions regarding the man she desires. Mr Bingley quickly steals her heart, but no proposal is made. Jane can only assume that he does not feel any admiration towards her. Little does she know, her sister’s admirer is responsible for keeping them apart.

I’m really not a romance girl, but I still appreciate this book. It can be hard to follow due to the language, but I personally enjoy this sort of thing. It has a nice, happy ending, and is not unreasonable or too far-fetched. It is a novel that requires a fair bit of your attention to really understand, but can really draw you in once you start. I think I’ll give it 4 stars.

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Book Review: The Night Circus

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Hardback, 387 pages – Published September 15th 2011 by Harvill Secker

I’ve been wanting to read this novel for a while now, and I’m so happy I finally got round to it!

I’d never heard of Erin Morgenstern before this book, but she is an amazing author. Her writing is truly beautiful, with a mystical, dream-like quality to it. It was so easy to become immersed in the setting of this circus – the Circus of Dreams.

At the age of six, Miss Celia Bowen is bound to a future challenge by her father, Prospero the Enchanter. She doesn’t know anything about the challenge, but is prepared by her father for many years. She is forced to learn how to repair things, including herself.

Meanwhile, her opponent, Marco, is also being trained. They meet unexpectedly one day, but Celia has no idea who he is. They end up working for the very same circus as each other, which happens to be the scene of their game.

For years, they each take turns making additions and changes to the circus – a room made of ice, a Wishing Tree, the Pool of Tears – but their motives are not limited by the game. They find themselves trying to impress each other, and they eventually find themselves falling in love. This makes things a lot harder when they find out how the winner of the game is dictated.

This is a very intricate book, with tons of little details that entwine together in time. It’s so magical, and really does pull you into this enchanting little world. I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Night Circus, and I can see why!

There’s also a lot of emotion. You really feel for the characters when they discover heartbreaking things, or lose someone they love. And you really find yourself wondering how Marco and Celia are going to figure this situation out. It makes you want to read on and on, to find out how the matter is resolved.

I really did enjoy this book. It’s dreamy and fantastical and exciting and just a great read. A strong 4.5 stars!

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WWW Wednesdays

What am I currently reading?

I’m only half way through The Night Circus, which is my main priority right now as it’s due for return to the library tomorrow. Oops. That means I’m still working my way through Pride and Prejudice, True Calling, Homunculus and the Cat and Breakfast with Tiffany.

What did I finish reading recently?

The only book I’ve managed to actually complete this week is Boot Camp. I really need to get on with some reading!

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What am I reading next?

Here are your options for this week:

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