After reading a few books that required concentration, I decided I wanted something quick and trashy to read, so the Kardashian Dynasty seemed to tick all the boxes for all the wrong reasons.
I know this may come as a surprise to many of you, but I have dabbled from time-to-time in the watching of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and some of the many poor spin-offs that were made. I justify it to my boyfriend like this; I don’t watch TV to learn things, I read books to learn things, I google to learn things, I watch YouTube to learn things — when I watch television, I want to absorb something that is so insipid that I am suspended from my own reality.
So I don’t have a great deal to say except that this story begins with Halperin delving in to the family background of Robert Kardashian and Kris Jenner — and I found that to be interesting, but that’s where it ended.
The writer reads like a FoxNews tabloid reporter (anyone remember Roger Freidman??) who got his sources from a junkie in an alley. He often referred to himself and name dropped contacts — if he wasn’t name dropping contacts he would refer to a “friend of mine”, “a girl I dated that once knew a person who knew a person who met them once”. I began to grow irate and tired of the fact that he referenced that he lived in Florida and often seen the Kardashian, or .. like, someone who he knew might know them.
Then, my friends, Halperin got particularly seedy. He refers proudly to how he went ‘undercover’ to a trans meeting to infiltrate to see how the community felt about Bruce Jenner’s transition and if it was positive or not. I mean, was this truly necessary? Couldn’t he have pulled out a surveymonkey like all self-respecting uni-students and investigative journalists do? Couldn’t he have taken a poll on Twitter? Did he really have to make a mockery of a support group that are dealing with very real issues?
He went further; infiltrating the same surgeon who helped with Bruce Jenner’s transition surgery. He tried to get the staff to fold on some information and got nothing.
Seems like a lot of work for nothing. And man, its seedy.
What I learned from this book that I didn’t already know was not a great deal. Anything inside the folds of Halperin’s book could have been learned from watching the Keeping Up With The Kardashians. What we know is that they are spoiled. Kris is a savvy, if not, gross, manager of her family who carefully and manipulatively works to keep them relevant (by media standards). We know Kim is different to Paris Hilton because she is more clean-cut, actually does work hard (at whatever it is that she does)– and the rest reached the success that she did based upon association and not much else.
What I learned about this most of all is that Halperin is a poor “investigative” “journalist” who dabbles more on the seedy tabloid side and I’d never pick up another one of his books… Oh, did I mention how he kept referring to himself at least twice or three times as a NY Times Best Selling Author?
Anyway, 2 out of 5 from me! Also, it didn’t satisfy my hankering for a good trashy non-mummy-porn book. So, suggest one, pls.
Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon was one of the best autobiographies that I have read for years. With her brutally honest story-telling and close-to-home truths about dealing with mental health issues, I found myself laughing, crying and feeling, if I’m honest, a little bit blue throughout the time I spent reading this.
Bryony Gordon is a British Journalist, who for years led a double lifestyle, trying to quiet her mental health issues with addictions and bad lifestyle choices. From a young age, Bryony shared what it was like when intrusive OCD thoughts began to occupy her normal, logical thinking brain and what brought upon a downward spiral of alcoholic and drug use.
With so many opportunities and prospects, Bryony found it hard to cope with the pressures caused by the thoughts, compulsions and obsessiveness that OCD can bring.
Mad Girl hit home for me in a number of different aspects; finding the right kind of mental health care can sometimes prove to be even harder than dealing with the symptoms themselves. Bryony tried a number of different methods, including an outright charlatan, doctors who weren’t truly prepared to listen and eventually services that worked for her that was able to see a positive change within her life, rather than constantly chasing away the feelings with substances or unhealthy vices.
In my own experience, finding someone who will truly listen and want to treat the intrusive thoughts and compulsions is hard. OCD is a very, very broad illness with compulsions that pop up like a game of whack-a-mole. When a symptom or compulsion passes, a new one might pop up. Even when you find someone who will diagnose, sometimes its hard to find someone who will actually know how to treat it correctly.
Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon is a bitter-sweet story of growing up with so much potential and talent and so much struggle. Compulsions that Bryony faced were also some of the one’s I’ve also faced (have not faced POCD Thank God) and the intrusive thoughts may never be the same as what I’ve experienced but they all take on the same tone and generally the same result. Perhaps that was one of the reasons why I enjoyed this book so much; for solidarity purposes.
Here are two examples of Mad Girl that have run in to my own life;
Pictured above is my bathroom and the photo that you will find dozens of times in my phone’s gallery. What’s the point? OCD can create a fake memory, or at least it is an intrusive thought. Sometimes I am one hundred percent sure that I have turned off my hair straightening tongs and have unplugged them from the wall and touched them thirty six times to make sure that they are cool, but my brain can make me second guess myself to the point that I have left the house more than two or three times “just to be sure”, so I began to take photos — photos can’t lie… or yet, can they? And so, with that idea, I sometimes take the hair straightening tongs with me in the car because it leaves me a lot more relaxed than having to obsess all day long over them. I take photos of light switches, oven dials, iron plugs — whatever else bothers me on the particular day.
The passage from the book;
“Some mornings, I take the iron to work in my handbag because that is easier and more time efficient (if not energy efficient) than having to spend hours checking that it is properly switched off, and I do not think this is weird.”
If there is a better, more well-explained book regarding OCD, then I suggest that you tell me, because this is succinct.
When I was 12 or 13, I found myself repeating things in my head over and over again to prevent myself getting sick “again” or worse, my grandmother dying even though she had cancer and that was always going to be the end result. These obsessive rotations of thought are a child’s way in an adult mind of having control over situations that you have otherwise no say over.
I was impressed with Mad Girl because it gave me hope and it made me laugh — both things that are incredibly important when dealing with any kind of mental health issues. The fact that Bryony Gordon was brave enough to air all of her dirty laundry and still manage to laugh about it at the end of her book says something to me; that it’s not all bad and that even in the bad there can be some beauty and hopeful moments.
Bryony has developed a UK organisation called Mental Health Mates and hosts a podcast that recently had Prince Harry talking about his experiences with mental health issues. I recommend this book for sufferers of Mental Health Illness, if only for a laugh and a smile at all the things you will be able to relate to, and then also to those who struggle understanding the whys and the hows behind Mental Health matters.
Holding Up The Universe book Review by Jennifer Niven
I have a lot of emotion attached to this book even though I am going to concede and say that it was probably too young for me. I am going on 34 years old this year, but I was really excited for Holding Up The Universe.
I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) from the lovely people over at Penguin Australia and was really excited to tear in to it around October last year. It also happened to be a time when I was really busy with this blog, posting reviews every other day and basically reading in every instance.
After I started reading this book my own world started to crumble and my Mum was admitted to hospital after a massive seizure caused by her end-stage of cancer. I remember sitting in the shitty hospital chair beside my Mum while leafing through the pages reading and rereading each page over and over again because I was unable to absorb the story.
One of the important points to make in this story was that Libby, the protagonist’s mother had died unexpectedly and her whole world seemed to stop. I related to that – as I, too, felt like I was holding up the universe.
Needless to say I had to put the book down. In fact, I put all books down until my Mum’s funeral and passing was all done and dusted by Chrismtas last year. I’ve been reading but not reviewing like I was and I decided that it was time to pick it up again and open up the blog properly again.
So, Holding Up The Universe, as I said was probably a bit young for me, but for the loser at high schooler in me would have loved this suspension of reality. Libby is an overweight teenage girl who, after being removed from her house by a crane on her death bed, finds herself leading a regular life again. After shedding some of the weight and addressing some of her problems she is happier and confident and already has her heart set on joining the school’s dance troupe.
Enter-in Jack Masselin, school jock who has a rare neurological issue that causes facial blindness. He hides this disease from his family and manages to keep his secret along with his jock friends. As a prank, his friend dares him to take part in a “fat rodeo” where he is required to straddle Libby and stay on for as long as he can.
Defensively, she punches him and soon they both end up in after school detention.
The two make an unlikely connection that neither of them can deny as a buddy romance.
I’ve read Goodreads reviews that have torn this apart for its unrealistic look at high school relationships. I can concede that the chances of the jock / bully becoming sympathetic and even loving toward the underdog, but that doesn’t really make this book any less special.
Books for us are a suspension of reality — for me, these past few months have been about busying myself and avoiding my grief for as long as I can in any way that I can so as to fill the void of my mother’s passing. In this story, Libby chose food to fill the loneliness, I’ve chosen other ways to avoid feelings and largely, I found myself relating to the sadness that she feels deep within.
The teenager that lived within me that felt a huge level of anxiety and social ineptness can only ever dream of a boy like Jack Masselin seeing them and wanting to fall for them. It’s not very realistic especially when I consider the assholes who I went to school with, but that’s the joy of a book and that suspension of everything that we avoid in life.
I am able to applaud the confidence and ability for Libby who is able to shrug off the constant bullying and taunting and for her ability to spread a clear message when so many were unable to look past her size.
Holding Up The Universe was sweet and easy to read and the message, you are loved was clear and prevalent throughout the entire book.
I recently did a guest post for my long-time friend from New York, Isha. I talked about my experience meeting Michael Jackson in 2002.
MJFanGirl Blog is a really cool little corner of the internet that is well thought out and full of very cool information about Michael Jackson’s career. What sets it apart is not the fact that its not full of saturated adoration and tangents about how beautiful MJ is (which let’s be honest, we all think he was, lol, but not the point) its the kind of blog that allow us to learn more about the small details of his career that a casual fan probably wouldn’t know about.
Big Little Lies is an book-to-TV adaptation made for the HBO network which in Australia is exclusive only to Foxtel or Apple iTunes. If you haven’t read the book or watched the TV show, you should probably read this review of the book first.
I would like to start this review by saying that on a whole I enjoyed this TV series. I binge-watched it on my day off work a week ago and I enjoyed it after I got through the first episode where Nicole Kidman has noisy/violent/weird sex with Alexander Skarsgaard. It is also important to note that I enjoy watching Real Housewives of Sydney and I have been known to dabble in an episode of the Kardashians or other such spin offs.
In addition, I think Game of Thrones is boring, so… my recommendation should really come to you with a grain of salt or little-to-zero trust.
Disclaimer aside; I would like to say that the casting was strange.
I can’t really take Reese Witherspoon all that seriously since I’ve seen her bend and snap and act like a giant bimbo in the movie about her chihauha and pink clothes blond hair and law, or whatever it was. Or that one movie where Selma Hyak and her brother Ryan Phillipe got it on. She was cast as Madeline, the most highly strung of the three mothers. In the book Madeline comes across as about as old as Nicole Kidman — a bit of a wise mother-bear who takes Jane under her wing. She is slightly annoying at times, but is overall a very likeable.
Reese Witherspoon as Madeline made me want to shove a fork in my eye. How’s that for irony!? (C’mon, you have to be able to see what I did there). She was rude, obnoxious, reactive, spoiled, selfish and had absolutely no self-awareness. She played a comical version of the serious Madeline from the book — a little annoying.
Aaaaand Nicole Kidman — choose an accent and stick to it, woman — you’re either pretending to be American or you’re Australian. She plays the role of Celeste. Celeste is painted out to be a young and effortlessly beautiful woman. I’m not saying that Nicole Kidman is not beautiful, because she is… in that same kind of way that Tilda Swinton is. Her husband Perry is played by Alexander Skarsgaard who’s last performance I can remember was in True Blood where I saw his naked arse more times than I’ve seen my own. So, you have two very fair people having very very pasty white, violent, weird, loud, is-she-in-pain-is-she-enjoying-this sex.
Together their scenes caused so much glare that I picked up new radio signals.
Weird match. Oh, and also, she played a cougar.
Shailene Woodley played Jane and I have nothing snarky to say about that, she was probably a perfect pick.
The guy that played Madeline’s husband was a guy who I have only ever seen playing obnoxious comical characters in Will Ferral movies, so there is that.
The show itself was very good and while it may not have been minute-by-minute accurate to the book, it was still quite enjoyable. Madeline’s daughter Chloe was played by a cute little girl who had a lot of attitude. The character was precocious and I would probably take an instant dislike to her if she existed in real life.
Ziggy, Jane’s daughter was adorable and he played his role very, very well.
The opening credits of the show are weird and comical with all the women dressed up as different versions of Audrey Hepburns — it seemed like it was the opening for a satire show.
My biggest annoyance was the way it ended. I won’t spoil anything, but the ending was completely rewritten. A revelation occurred that changed the way the truth came out. The way it was written in the book made much, much more sense than the way it played out on the show. I believe if you have watched the show for the first time and aren’t paying complete and utter full attention, you won’t pick up the realisation that registers with one of the characters and for me that was the entire crux of the book.
What I think was the best thing about the entire TV show is actually the sound track. To download/buy/stream, the soundtrack comprises of about 12 mediocre songs, when if you search a couple of articles that last all the songs by order of episode, you can put together a very, very cool sound track.
That’s what I did!
I still recommend this show — but I recommend the book first. I’m not the sort of person that cant disassociate one from the other, but I feel like if you read the book you can get the broader picture of the story but still enjoy them both.
Big Little Lies placed #1 on the New York Times best seller list.
I have to admit, that I am not the kind of person that takes notice of hype — I think I have mentioned before, I am kind of a hype-avoider as a general rule.
However, Big Little Lies interested me based on the title alone. When I read the blurb, I thought it would be an easy read that would interest me based on the stupidity of school mums– that competitive nature of women who all seem to judge each others choices. As a childless woman in her 30s, I always marvel at how ridiculous and unrealistic that world seems to be (however, I have been assured that it is very, very much a ‘thing’).
Big Little Lies is about the blooming friendship between three women who are lead very different lives but who come together by chance and sheer luck of where their children go to school. Jane is new to town and is mistaken instantly as a nanny by one of the working mothers. Madeline is the comical breath of fresh air — the kind of mother bear who will look out for others and who really takes pride in stopping at nothing to defend those that she aligns herself with. Celeste is portrayed as a trophy wife who is the mother of twin boys with a husband that is enviable to those around her.
The story unfolds after Jane’s son is accused of hurting another child — the ramifications of the accusation and the defence of Jane’s son divide the parents at the school, escalating to an untimely murder.
Each chapter shares a different view of each of the three mother’s lives — unraveling their secrets and lies right up until the death of a parent who is not identified.
The book is written in chapter form with experts of police interviews with all of the mothers and father’s present at the time the death took place. Everyone’s interpretation of the event varies from comical to ridiculous, magnifying the kinds of stereotypes of judgmental mothers that exist in the day-to-day politics of the school Mum0sphere.
I loved this book.
I couldn’t get enough of it. It did take me a little while to get through but I was so happy with the ending — it wrapped up nicely without feeling like another ‘happily ever after’ ending.
Imagine my surprise when I realise that there is a Big Little Lies HBO series on Foxtel that has brought this book to life?!
If you want to know how the two compare, brace yourself for my ‘Big Little Lies without pity’ post at the end of the week. It will be part of my book vs movie/tv show blogs once a week (or as often as time allows).
Did you read this book? How did you feel about it?
I have had this blog window open since lunch time and its now 7pm and til right this second this is the first thing I have written.
I desperately wanted to get back to life a short while ago, probably around Christmas time — really convinced that I was ready to start acting like everything was fine again. I was really back in to writing my novel and thought I was healthily processing everything that life was throwing at me. However it turned out that that wasn’t the case and if anything the now that I’m living in has been harder.
I have regressed back to old habits of procrastinating and that time of keeping myself busy to avoid feeling the motions has fallen by the wayside.
However, I don’t really want to be blogging about my mother’s death every single time I come to my site, so I’m going to try to get better at living and not procrastinating anymore… so I want to talk a little about the things that I have been doing.
I’ve scaled back the reading — I am not obsessively reading like I was last year which is probably a good thing. I am no longer avoiding things for the most part. However, I am finding that reading does help from time-to-time. Perhaps I’m reading to enjoy the story, not to pass time.
I have upped my art stuff and have been trying my hand at new art mediums. I have been working a lot with resin and bought some cool molds to work with that I started seeing better results with. The only shitty thing about resin is that you have to wait a full 24 hrs before it all cures fully and I’m really impatient. I finally made some pendants today that I feel are up there in terms of some of the better things that I have made recently.
I have found a lot of very good suppliers of wooden jewellery from Australia that have helped me organise some very cool and retro designs for a market that I want to do. I have a lot of things that are really starting to crowd my office, so I am going to do a market to free up some of that space and financially its a difficult time for me since the funeral, so I need to make some money.
I have become more social — I am really starting to develop some friendships with girls that I work with or past workmates that I see on a regular basis and I know that can only be healthy given all the time that I spend alone.
I am working on this cute little Michael Jackson side project too — its no big deal, but I have started an account on Instagram where I post images and quotes for 365 days. It’s interesting because I haven’t been an active fan since I was around 25 or so and even then I was interested only in finding out news and music, not so much in the community. Since his passing I’ve learned a lot about fans from the perspective of an adult; young people are bat shit insane and so childish. Its hard to reconcile that a lot of Michael Jackson’s active social media following fans are around the age that I was (11-15) when I was at my craziest over him. That means to say that most of them were barely alive when he passed — and theyre plaguing twitter and instagram writing the kind of shit I would really like their parent’s to witness. They don’t know much about him and share a lot of quotes that aren’t real quotes (notice this is a thing? there are a lot of fake Bob Marley, Marilyn Monroe, etc quotes on the internet that they never actually said)… and have some very strong opinions… It just is like another world that puzzles the shit out of me. I like musicians that are dead or who have been long gone, but I couldn’t imagine being obsessed with one to the point that these kids are. Not judging, its just… a different world lol.
The one thing I’ve struggled with is writing my novel. I was in a really good groove for awhile but its fallen away because of my issues with procrastination, but I am going to try so hard to get back in to the habit because I want to finish it and I’m proud of my work thusfar. I don’t want it to not see the light of day. All I need to do is start writing and I’m sure it will be okay. It’s just getting in the proper headspace where I am uninterrupted. I keep making excuses as to why I should be doing other things. Or else I’ll begin a checklist and because writing is the most time consuming, I will have it at the bottom of the list and won’t work on it.
I am still looking for some readers so if you’re interested, let me know. 🙂
There is no measure of time that it will take for a person to overcome the grief of losing someone who is directly related to them; this I have learned first hand.
It has been almost four months since my Mum passed away. Four long months since I saw her face, heard her laugh, teased her with something totally inappropriate or since she commented on something she saw on one of her favourite TV shows. This seems like forever ago, yet there is a conflicting passage of time that makes it seem like yesterday that she was at full capacity and we were shopping together, having Wednesday lunches together or that I was staying at her house most nights of the week so we could watch Masterchef together where I would live tweet her hilarious commentary.
It seems like not that long ago that I was doubled over in pain, food poisoned or suffering a severe case of gastro where she was taking care of me, loaning me money to afford a “real” (non medicare) doctor at the end of my pay cycle and shuttling me to and fro and making me food until I felt better. The normal comforts of having a mother that loves you unconditionally.
It has been almost four months since my Mum passed away and all I know is that the pain of that loss has hit me with a weight that I can’t quite aptly convey to anyone else that’s in my life. No one can ever understand the love between my Mum and I because they were not part of it. I regularly dream of her and sometimes they end in nightmares and other times I wake up feeling thankful that I’ve had the chance to see her and that she hasn’t faded from my memory. I am thankful that I haven’t yet forgotten how she smelled or how it felt to be comforted by her.
Sometimes I feel that when I talk about her, people become glazed over because they kind of expect that because it’s almost been 4 months, I should be ‘almost’ over it — or that my pain should have dulled at least.
The truth is that I don’t think I will ever feel less pain about my Mum’s passing. The guilt of what I ‘could’ have or ‘should’ have said or done will never pass (despite the fact that I did a lot and I know she would never accuse me of any different). Four months may have almost passed by quickly, but the immediacy of her passing required me to be level-headed, emotion-free and diligent in planning a funeral, taking care of bits and pieces, letting everyone know, and allying everyone else’s sadness by pretending I was totally okay with the new reality of a life, motherless.
Because of the fastness in which my Mum passed, I can see how shell-shocked we all were in hindsight — perhaps that was attributed to all the denial we faced about her condition. Nevertheless, the three weeks of work that I took off didn’t really give me the time I needed. Again, in hindsight, it might have been smart to go back to work immediately and rather take the time when I began to feel the weight of losing her — like now.
I try to recall the good memories; but they even make me sad with the reality that we will never have the chance to create anymore.
Along with the other monsters in my head, intruding upon the normal functionality of a brain, I go to sleep with this sadness every single night and wake up feeling the weight of the loss as I try to turn the music up to drown it all out as I get ready for the day. When I get in the car and in those moments that I am alone, I find myself either having to listen audio books, or else endure the tears and the stupid guilt.
As a result the silly thoughts begin and I have to try to bargain with myself with a routine or compulsion just to ease it off; like a superstition. It starts with one thing and it domino effects in to a thousand things and before I know it, I can barely get out of bed, wracked with grief, depression, intrusive thoughts and feelings that not another person will ever be able to ease save for the presence of my Mum who was really the only person I trusted to tell me the truth without getting angry or frustrated with me — even if it was sometimes cutting and blunt.
It isn’t that I don’t feel like I can’t talk to people about it, my family and my friends have been so good — but I find it hard to talk about it without being aware of their discomfort or lack of words that will make me feel better. Nothing makes it better and I don’t think it ever will.
Just this week I have felt off — unsure if it is just stress of grief or genuine sickness, I took myself off to the doctors three times and each time a different outcome ensued. Yesterday I had a blood test and had to wait for the results. After hours my doctor called me back and I missed the call by around 4 minutes so she left a muffled voice message that I couldn’t distinguish and something about coming back but also the word ‘mild’ was heard somewhere — regardless of the logic that bad news wouldn’t have been allowed to be left in a voice mail, I went in to melt down. Because it was after hours, I couldn’t call back without it going to an answering message service and I lost my shit for a good hour.
I suppose the point of this is to just acknowledge the fact that there truly is no allotted time that one must adhere to when it comes to grief and its okay to lose your friggin’ marbles for as long as it takes to feel better again.
In fact, when the funeral and the flowers and the well wishes and the shock dissipates, the gravity of the loss hits hard. As funny as it is, I feel like this quote is apt and it’s from Michael Scott so I know my Mum would approve:
..I mean, if we were talking about trying to put it in to words and all.
The other things I’ve learned about grief and loss is that people do say some stupid shit to you. The nurse taking care of my Mum immediately after her passing told me this as she comforted me and I knew it was true in the moment but I didn’t know just how true until someone tried to tell me to stop talking about my Mum because I was torturing myself.
I’ve learned that talking does help sometimes but in my case, writing is a release too and so if you are reading this wondering why I’ve done a violent overshare of emotions, then I will tell you it is because it is good for me and at this point in time, I am taking care of myself because unfortunately despite my age, my mother isn’t here to help me do that anymore.
Also, grief sometimes doesn’t show up immediately. For me, I didn’t feel it; didn’t get it. I didn’t cry after leaving her that night. I didn’t cry at her funeral, really. I was able to smile and laugh and joke and continually tell everybody how chill I was about my Mum dying. And for a little while, I truly believed my own hype.
Until of course, the grief did hit…
Moving on from the loss of someone is actually impossible, but adjusting your life to a lifetime without an important person in it, is possible with time. The pain won’t ever pass, I don’t think. And there are days that I’m sure in 10 years time that I will take to just cry and remember her, but I am hoping that what I am going through currently will pass in its due course.
But right now, I miss my Mum so much that it is painful to think about her and thinking about her makes it literally hard for me to breathe.
(She is probably wishing she could give me “a clip ’round the earhole” as I write this).
So yeah, that’s where I am at. Now I’m off to avoid life by nose diving in to yet another book.
Megan Abbott is a Goodreads fan-favourite so I picked up this book on a whim between another book that I’d been struggling with.
Devon is a teenaged Olympic Gymnastics hopeful. Her parents are heavily involved with a very tight-knight group of gymnastics community, but no other gymnast is as as talented as prodigy, Devon and Kate and Eric Knox have stopped at nothing to help pave her way to success.
The gymnastics community is rocked when the young, good looking boyfriend of an assistant coach meets a violent and mysterious death and suddenly Kate and Eric Knox are finding out things about each other, their friends and their children that they are shocked to learn.
Honestly, I didn’t even know what this book was about when I started to read – I actually thought it was going to be a young adult novel but I was wrong. It was a beautifully written mystery thriller that was from the perspective of Kate Knox, Devon’s mother. I wasn’t sure that I could keep track of the large circle of characters at first and it did take me some time to figure them all out — most become periphery characters and the main ones become quite clear very quickly.
You Will Know Me was a great little surprise and my introduction to Megan Abbott as an author. I have heard a lot of buzz around her work and have generally tried to keep low expectations when it comes to hype — but I feel like her writing style was fantastic and kept me wanting to know what was going to happen. Even if I had all but figured out what was going on before it unraveled, I was still able to enjoy the wrap-up of the mystery.
This is a very short review, but there was really nothing bad that I had to say about it.
I would recommend this book to anyone except for maybe my friend, Belinda because her line of work would just leave her picking at plot holes that might not be obvious to anyone else reading 😉
Let it be known that I have since purchased three other Megan Abbott books.
I’m sure its been mentioned once or twice, but full disclosure: I am a huge Michael Jackson fan. So huge in fact, that I met him a couple times in the 00’s by traveling across the friggin’ ocean just to catch a glimpse of him (and thankfully they were much more than just that).
After he died, I would say my fandom died a bit. Well, I didn’t/don’t love him any less, but there is really nothing to “follow” and I wasn’t one of those fans who transferred my feelings for him on to his children. I have been fairly uninterested in his children and all of their endeavours because I really feel that MJ wouldn’t have wanted their lives splashed around the press until they were old and mature enough to deal with it.
Clearly things didn’t work out that way and over the years I’ve briefly read things about his daughter (mostly) and can’t help but to feel for her. I have a soft spot for that tiny little girl back in 2002 who slept soundly on her Daddy’s chest as he pressed his finger to his lips and waved me over to his car (before I got knocked on to my arse by some… er… matronly German girls who proceeded to scream in his face and motivated him to wind up his window entirely) as if I was silently promising to not wake her.
Paris Jackson is a gorgeous 18 year old now and while I don’t frequently read Michael Jackson websites anymore, I often have read comments judging her tattoos her boyfriends her clothes… everything — coming from MJ fans themselves. It is no secret that after a suicide attempt, she got sent away to a turnabout school for troubled or problematic teens. I don’t understand that while knowing that she has dealt with mental health issues, people still think it is okay to continually judge from behind their keyboards without realising their weight of their words; as if she could never possibly read the things people feel the need to tag her in on social media.
This morning I read an article for her latest Rolling Stone magazine spread and felt a great weight of compassion and sadness for her; the solidarity of going through the rest of your life without the person who loved you the most; who was the entire world to you. Granted for her, it has been much harder, losing a parent at an early age would be catastrophic.
She spoke about being thrust in to school after being home schooled her entire life – where she began using drugs and hanging around with bad influences and was suffering anxiety and depression – even touching on a sexual assault that happened at 14 and I can’t help but to wonder where the hell her guardians were and what on earth they were doing? After the death of a parent at 11, why wasn’t there counselling for the kids? Why weren’t they correctly supported? Why was a 14 year old left to her own devices? Why at 18 is a young woman tattooing herself to cover track marks left from heavy drug use after being clean for a number of years? (Honestly, what the fuck?).
Perhaps her story is similar to so many that I know and love — I found it heart breaking to read — at the base of the article a very young, lonely girl resides trying to find a place in the world just like the rest of us were at 18, with the added peppering of world-wide judgment from not only the general public, but from Michael Jackson sycophants who think they know what he’d want for her; who care so little about her feelings that they let their own perceptions of who Michael Jackson was, shape who they think she should be.
I loved and followed Michael Jackson since I was 5 years old and my fandom was intense until the very day the man passed- but I was never fooled, I didn’t know him. I had a perception and an idea of who he was and I am sure he was that person genuinely, but he was also multi-faceted and real. He was someone’s brother, someone’s son, a little girl’s father and a father to two other boys — based on the fact that he was both a little and big brother, I can imagine that at times he was a shit-stirrer and a petulant asshole. He was probably a good friend but if you upset him, he would have probably written you on to his shit list forever — that’s human. He was human. And his most humanifying job was being a father.
I don’t have an issue acknowledging that he probably had mental health issues — that Paris has obviously dealt with (if not dealing) with mental health issues – but that doesn’t give people a right to question her decisions or to assume everyone in her life (her boyfriend, manager, friends) is trying to lead her down a garden path or that they are ‘bad news’. It doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t embrace the opportunities that present themselves to her.
This morning I saw this video of Paris being mobbed and harassed about her father’s death and it absolutely gutted me;
What the very fuck is wrong with people?
My mum passed away in November 2016. If a single fucker ever dared ask a single question in such a way about her passing, I would have knocked a person out. And then, at the end there is some soft-voiced bitch making a comment about how it’s okay Paris. Condescending, rude, punch-worthy. Salt a wound and tell her how to act….
And so today I remembered why not to read the comments section — questioning her sexual assault; not being able to get over the fact that she considers herself to be bi-racial and the biological daughter of Michael Jackson. There were comments saying that if she should be used to the limelight or that she should have expected this kind of backlash after being interviewed by Rolling Stone.
Victim blaming is okay when it applies to people who have notoriety, is it?
It kind of shocks me. Do those same people question their best friend when they say they’ve been assaulted? Do they snort and chuckle about hairy predicaments that their loved ones have gotten in to? Do they take glee in seeing other people fall? Paris Jackson grew up in the limelight, but she was not in the spotlight – it was her father and a child would entrust her safety wholly in to that guardian.
Do I think Paris Jackson is ready for a career within the showbiz industry? If I’m going to make a judgment based solely upon the paparazzi video above? Probably not – however, just like my fandom and perception of Michael– I saw one single facet of who he was and same goes for Paris. I am sure there is more depth to her than one can gain from social media posts or moments of tumultuousness when she is simply in transit. She seems so sensitive and easily upset — that is not a bad thing to be, but it might not be a great mix with fame. Would I judge her decisions as if I know her or her family? No.
I just watch all this from afar feeling empathetic toward an 18 year old who looks as bewildered and lost as I felt at 18 (though I don’t think I had a real reason to feel like that) and I feel shame for the rest of these despicable humans that feel like they should all get a say or a piece of her for the sake of being funny, seeming knowledgable about MJ or for their photographic pay day.
I hope if Paris does decide to extend herself in to the limelight – that she will take it on with great armour and know that people are assholes and that opinions of both MJ fans and the wider public don’t matter – that you can’t make everyone love you. It is my hope that her ups and downs will resonate and be able to help others by continuing to be herself and being the voice for those who have been through similar losses and issues that she has endured.
I think that would be something her father would be incredibly proud of.