Showing posts from November, 2017

Book Review - How Not To Be a Boy by Robert Webb

I have to admit to being a little surprised that I enjoyed How Not To Be A Boy as much as I did, but in my defence, it's just that Robert Webb wasn't really on my radar.
My boyfriend has always been a huge fan of The Peep Show (the show in which Webb starred with David Mitchell), but I could always take it or leave it - I mean really, two gormless human beings trying to navigate the world as "men" - it is, at times, truly excruciating viewing.

But the brilliance of this book stems from that very juxtaposition - what does becoming an adult have to do with being a man? And further, how are we helping our children prepare for their adult lives when we are still perpetuating the boy/girl tropes?

Robert Webb does a great job of navigating these topics in this hilarious, candid and very moving memoir.  His is a story is about how cruel and incredibly crippling the guidelines he was given for being a man have proven - excruciating, indeed.

There is no doubt Webb has a flair…

Book Review - "La Belle Sauvage" Book of Dust Volume One by Philip Pullman

You may have overheard me telling people recently that I think Philip Pullman is the Hilary Mantel of children's fiction.
Too bold?  Or strange?
It's true that Philip Pullman certainly doesn't need any comparisons, he is as beloved a children's author as Hilary Mantel is celebrated for her literary fiction.
But let me tell you why I say this.  You see, it occurred to me whilst reading La Belle Sauvage (the first book in Pullman's new companion series to His Dark Materials series) that their books are akin in many ways.  The broad scope, terrific characterisations and their ability to take the narrative to a dark place, but never lose the humour (droll as it may be) are all compellingly similar.

His Dark Materials started with Northern Lights, in which we meet Lyra and her gyptian friend, Roger, in the city of Oxford.  It is a world parallel to our own, in which human beings are attached to animal daemons by a dark matter known as Dust.  The novels traverse through p…