Friday, September 19, 2014

Whining about being sick | Book reviews

Hello. I’ve been doing nothing much this week besides willing time to pass (4 hours until Alan gets home. 2 and a half hours until Alan gets home. 17 minutes until Alan gets home, etc.) and reading books. I’m still feeling terrible, and have taken more painkillers over the last 5 days than I took in all of the preceding 12 months combined; I kind of expected the antibiotics to charge in (chanting “WE ARE AGAINST LIFE”) and indiscriminately murder all the ‘biotics’ they came across in my head, but so far they seem to just be laying low and planning their strategy. All that’s been killed so far is my desire to get out of bed and take care of anyone besides myself.

I read a stupid number of books when Moses was a baby. This year I’ve read far less, partly because I’m studying, partly because I have a preschooler as well as a baby, and partly because after some analysis I’ve concluded that I seem to watch TV rather than reading when I’m depressed, and it’s only since the depression’s lifted (a couple of months ago; I’ll write about that soon) that I’ve had any desire to plow through novels again. Being sick has also helped; there’s something about reading a novel that makes me feel like I’m being kind and comforty to myself.

So I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes on Monday (Alan took time off work to look after Hazel so that I could spend the day in bed), which I quite enjoyed (7.9/10). The writing reminded me of Jodi Picoult’s, which may not be a helpful thing to say since I’ve only read one Picoult novel and that was three years ago (how do you pronounce her surname? Is it French [pi-koo] or not [pi-kolt]? I’m sure I could google this but I’m sleepy and my face hurts and therefore I won’t). I keep thinking about the things that vaguely irritated me about Me Before You, rather than the fact that I was hooked while reading it and desperate to know how it ended. It was good. I liked it.

And then I read What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty over the rest of the week (which I counted as the spread-across-four-days extra sick day the doctor prescribed that I’d have had if I was not a mother and didn’t have to rely on someone else taking leave from their work in order for me to be able to take leave from my work) and I LOVED it (9.7/10). I borrowed this one after Sarah Bessey said it was one of her “favourite novels to recommend to women in the tired thirties” with her. I’m choosing to ignore how sad it is that I related to this description and instead be thankful for the fact that it led me to such an enjoyable book. 

The story’s about a woman named Alice who wakes up from a concussion believing she’s 29, happily married, and pregnant, when actually that was her 10 years ago and her life has changed dramatically since then. It’s mostly told from Alice’s perspective, but there are letters written by her sister Elisabeth and blog posts from her grandmother that pop up throughout the book too. Elisabeth is going through IVF and writes about infertility and childlessness in a way that made me cry more than once. I really liked this book. Like, wow.

I found the characters relatable and lovable, and I didn’t want to put the book down; I read it as I made toast and I read it as I peed and I read it as I walked from one end of our apartment to the other to find socks. And it’s Australian! Which is always a pleasant surprise. I start all novels assuming they’ll be American, and I get terribly excited when something comes up that makes me realise it’s set in a context I know far more about (JOHN HOWARD?! He was MY Prime Minister!!!!!). Me Before You is set in the UK, which was also a surprise that required some brain readjustments before I could continue with the story. I highly recommend What Alice Forgot, even if you’re not tired or in your thirties.

I’ve been planning to write a big update on everything, seeing as I’ve just passed my 300th post and was wanting to follow the tradition I’d started, but I’ll wait until I’m taking fewer drugs and feeling less grumpy and lethargic. Until then, I’ll be sneakily reading more of Liane Moriarty’s novels (I’ve just placed holds on three of them at my library), and whinging a lot about my head.


  1. That's hilarious - I read Sarah Bessey's blog and got straight on the library website and reserved as many of the books as I could. I read "Me Before You" first and I was desperate to talk about it with someone - we were probably reading it at the same time! And I'm waiting for "What Alice Forgot" now. I hope you feel all better very soon xxx

    1. I'm going to go write a list of all of the things we must remember to discuss this weekend!