Big Little Lies HBO TV Series – Review Without Pity

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.

little

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.

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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.

little

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 by Liane Moriarty – Book Review

Big Little Lies placed #1 on the New York Times best seller list.

big little lies

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.

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?

You Will Know Me – Megan Abbott (Book Review)

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.

Megan Abbott

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.

The Wrong Girl – Zoë Foster-Blake Review

wrong girl

Wrong Girl by Zoë Foster-Blake is your average enjoyable rom-com chick-lit book for those who aren’t looking too hard to find purpose in a very, very fictional story.

I’m by no means a book snob. Sometimes I want to read the way I watch TV: without having to think too hard.

What I mean by this, is that sometimes I enjoy watching the Kardashians or The Vanderpump rules show – not because the people are likeable or that the story or characters are incredibly thrilling, but because it serves it’s cheap purpose: entertainment.

wrong girl

Chick-lit books are all similar in storyline and purpose and The Wrong Girl was really no different.

Girl is self-deprecating. Girl has model-looking girlfriends and is considered the odd one out in a circle full of otherwise carbon copies. Girl is quirky, clumsy but apparently also adorable in her awkwardness that is supposed to be the one thing that sets her apart.

Hot, strapping, beautiful species of male turns up and crazily enough has the personality and perfect amount of mature communication skills to boot.

Man sees the beauty in girl and takes on her annoying emotional self-loathe and turns saves the day and turns her in to some strong, independent (lols) take-no-shit woman that because of the way her man builds her up, manages to overcome subplot; this could be kicking away the dead weight friends that make her feel so bad about herself, give up drugs, shopping or other “cute” addiction or even a career advancement.

I pretty much summed up The Wrong Girl in this summary which happens to be the same formula for most chick-lit books. This is written in a characteristically Australian way which sometimes made me cringe and other times made me feel like I was proud of Foster-Blake. It was a cute story that I struggled for a short while to get in to which may have not been due to the writing, but perhaps more to do with personal circumstance.

I liked the characters in The Wrong Girl but couldn’t help but to wonder why her best friend (from the first few chapters) was just long-forgotten after the plot began to unfold. Did the author forget him? Given that they were supposed to be friends for 10 or so years, I was surprised by how quickly the MC gave him the heave-ho. Seemed odd.

This Wrong Girl has been transformed to an Australian TV show that was vastly different to the novel. Given that most books far outweigh the TV/Movie adaptation, I was pretty happy with the TV show. I have to admit I liked it better than the book; perhaps the beautiful hunk that is Jack was played by a stunning indigenous man which doesn’t happen to often on Australian TV.

Overall, I enjoyed the light-hearted book. It wasn’t my favourite read of 2016, but I wouldn’t turn my nose up at another book by Zoë Foster-Blake in the future.

View all my reviews

Twelve – The Things That I Believed At 12.

Twelve Years Old — The Things That I Believed

I saw a twitter tag earlier today and it made me think about how I was at 12 and the things that I believed. I wanted to go through a list of them and I even have excerpts from my diary that have helped me remember exactly some of these colossal misapprehensions.

Here we go:

At twelve years old I believed:

1.That I was emotionally and physically mature enough to have a proper boyfriend. 

LOLZ. What a little moron, I was, dressed in my parachute Nike jacket and my Addidas snap pants with my size 3 (childrens) Nike Air Jordans, that I was so ready for love. So ready, in fact that I kissed about four boys at the end of the year 1995.

I also thought I had a boyfriend on the internet too. The jury is still out on whether or not that was a 52 year old man pretending he was young just to talk sexually suggestive to me.

2. That I was actually going to meet Michael Jackson

Oh wait, so maybe that was something that actually came to fruition that others may have thought I was dumb enough to believe. Surprisingly, I showed enough tenacity, stalking-skills and personal commitment to the cause and made this one happen.

Silly everyone else. 🙂

3. That Hair Mascara, Spice Girls, Sun-in, Slut Straps and Athletic-Wear were all very cool and necessary. 

Let me prepare a visual aid for you:

twelve

This is my best friend and I displaying our very best sports wear. What are slut-straps, I hear you ask? They are those two wispy bits of hair that I’ve strategically pulled out of my ponytail and let hang in my face as if I have bangs. Maybe I even cut them shorter than the rest of my hair. Also, the slut straps were tinged with the remnants of hair mascara.

I think I am a bit older than twelve here, maybe thirteen. Yeah, so boyfriend ready!

4. That my parents would stay together forever

I don’t know why I thought this – this was definitely one of my dumbest assumptions ever. When you are a kid, you don’t really see your parents as people, you see them as nothing but your caregivers. You don’t really take it on board when they are unhappy — but crazily enough, the tension in our house was so thick it could have been hacked through with an axe. That’s pretty much the wording that my friend used to describe it to me later when we became adults.

My parents seemed to get along okay, but the days of that lasting much longer were dwindling. They officially split up in 1998, when I was fourteen.

5. That I would grow up to me a famous author and would have lots of books published

This was my absolute dream. I remember when I was around five years old, I told someone that I wanted to write stories and nothing has ever really changed. I just searched for too many years for something that ‘fit’ me because an idiot convinced me when I was 16, that writing was a glam job, not a realistic job. Now I’m 30 and still chasing that dream and it’s not nearly as easy or as simple as I expected it to be.

6. That what people thought of me mattered

If I could go back in time and speak to myself at twelve, I would explain that high school is shit, and everyone is pointing out your flaws because they are trying so hard to deflect the attention from their own. I would tell me at twelve that the people you go to school with will probably not be in your life as an adult therefore, their opinions, taunts, cruel comments don’t matter at all.

As an adult, I have no contact with any of those dipshits that I went to school with, and I wish that someone had of been able to tell me that.

 

What kinds of stupid shit did you think at twelve? 

September Book Haul & Wizard of Oz Creeper

september

Oh, September, I promised I wouldn’t buy anymore books while you were visiting…

But oh well, I lied.

September

Really though, I have no reason to purchase anymore books for as at least the month of October and November … unless they’re at a bargain price…

I’m not the kind of person who reads to a schedule. A lot of book bloggers have their month mapped out in terms of what they plan on reading — but that’s not me, I’m not the ordered and organised type. My blog schedule is a mess, I don’t stick to my own plans, my social media is always in shambles — quite frankly, I’m surprised I can put my pants on the right way round in the morning.

And yet, somehow I manage to.

For that, I think we can all be thankful.

For the past few months I’ve been actively reading two books at a time – ask me a year ago and this would have been unheard of! Mixing characters and plots, sounds so… dirty. And yet, there is a method to my madness.

I use an e-Reader (Kindle, actually) when I read in bed at night so as not to keep company awake (my dog hates it when I leave the lamp on, she can’t sleep) and my vision in dim-light becomes even more impaired (and really, have you ever tried to wear your glasses laying down? Its actually not even an option, ridiculous!) and in the harsh light of day (hisssss!), I read my hardcopy book so as not to annoy anyone or destroy my vision.

I’ll tell you what, though, I bought “When The Moon Is Low” by Nadia Hashimi despite the fact that I’ve already read it (it is a beautiful story regarding Afghani refugees)… but all of these books here cost me well under $100.

So, fact about me; I am a really big fan of anything Wizard of Oz related. I mean, I liked the movie as a kid, but as an adult I’ve really appreciated the simplicity of it. We recently watched it and my boyfriend made fun of how ‘stupid’ it was and I had to point out that 1939 was a much different time – the Wizard of Oz was considered incredible for its time as was Judy Garland. I pointed out that he’s been ruined by movies full of blood, guts, sex and debauchery. Aside from that, I also love any other sub-stories that have been spun from the Wizard of Oz alternate universe.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire is my #1 favourite book. It was one of the first books that allowed me to understand that awful feeling of book grief that many people complain about.

So… imagine how I felt today when I had a quick browse through a local bargain bookshop and saw these three books for FIVE DOLLARS EACH.

september

september

While I said that I don’t read to a monthly / September schedule or a pre-determined TBR list, I will probably read these three books next (maybe with something in between each, I am a glutton for everything that I love, I need to learn to pace myself).

I really, really hope that these will be wonderful books. I have read mixed reviews over at Goodreads, but those reviewers also tried to tell me that Irvine Welsh’s, Sex Lives of Siamese Twins was bad and that John Green’s Looking for Alaska was ah-may-zah-hing, so heh, I know not to trust most of them.

So I’ve read three books already this September and right now I’m in the middle of reading the Amy Schumer biography, Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo. On paper she’s witty, intelligent and interesting – but I find her sometimes to be quite hypocritical in terms of her feminist views and practical approaches to certain issues. However, thankfully that’s not currently distracting from the book. On the kindle, I am reading The Time Travellers Wife finally after it has been recommended to me for years.

While I was on my bargain book shop, I also picked up this coffee table book for my Mum. She loves these comics and she doesn’t use the internet as much as she used to, so I figured a hardcopy version might give her a laugh or two.

September

After all that, I suppose more than posting about my book haul for September, I really probably just wanted to talk about how much I love Wizard of Oz alternate universe-based books/media.

Fun fact: I went through a stage where I was so obsessed with the Wicked Soundtrack, I made my fantasy Broadway actor cast for it in my head every day as I drove to work and of course I’d be the leading role of Elphaba and would choose the beautiful Fiyero to be played by the one and only Rent / Law & Order / The Flash broadway sensation, Jesse L Martin, and we’d sing the entire soundtrack together over and over and over — and ultimately fall in love on set and fly away on a broomstick together… and I’d stay home raising our children while he went back to the Central City precinct to help catch more Meta Humans with The Flash (yes, reality and Oz universe collided, made love and then took a giant dump here, I honestly don’t make a lot of sense of the fantasy either…).

September

Jesse L Martin

What I am basically saying, is that I sang the soundtrack to an audience of no one on a daily basis as I readied myself for work, drove to work, drove home from work and ultimately cried tears of, my life is so very, very small.

jkjkjkjk.

Sort of.

So yeah, there’s my September book haul that got kind of weird toward the end.

#sorrynotsorry.

What you got on the cards for September, baby?

September

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall-Kelly [REVIEW]

lilac girls

I read a really important book this week: Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly and I recommend it to anyone who has the will to learn about history and to become engulfed by some purely wonderful reading.

Three girls from three different lifestyles from three different countries cross paths during the rigours of World War II.

From Goodreads:

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten

Review:

I could not put this book down – I read 350 pages of it in one Sunday afternoon sitting (it did help that I have been sick and almost bed-ridden). I am a sucker for a good historical fiction any day of the week, but Martha Hall Kelly smashed this one right out of the park.

This book was written beautifully and from the perspective of all three women throughout important and poignant stages of their lives. As I read this book, I began to realise, without knowing too much, that this story was built on true events and actual people. I began to read some, research some and so on … I was so excited to realise that socialite, Caroline Ferriday was a real person!

I felt so connected to each character and so entranced by each of their stories and felt the heart break of both Caroline and especially Kasia. I had to keep turning the pages to see what would happen next, as well as cross referencing the actual historical version of events.

Martha Hall Kelly wrote the horrors of what the Nazi’s had subjected the Lilac Girls to, how the healthy young body’s were defiled and violated. She added colour and tone to facts and events that took place at Ravensbrück concentration camp as well as the Neuremberg Trials where Herta Oberheuser met her fate for the crimes that she had committed against humanity.

The portrayal of Caroline Ferriday was beautiful and easily imaginable. At first her chapters felt a bit dry, but as her plight began to unravel, I fell in love with her heart – the way she used her social standing for her cause and her unrelenting loyalty to those who were in need. I learned the most about Caroline Ferriday while researching for myself and saw that who she really was, is very accurate to how the author of Lilac Girls portrayed her.

lilac girls

The real Caroline Ferriday with the real Lilac Girls

I feel like this book was so cleverly put together and have an immense respect for the commitment and research that Martha Hall Kelly put in to make this book as beautiful and as brilliant as it is. Not only did I become engrossed in the story, but I also learned things about World War II that I didn’t know without it feeling like an overwhelming block of wordy information.

Over all, this has got to be one of the best books I have ever read. I was so grateful to receive an advanced readers copy from the legends over at Penguin Random House Australia – probably my most favourite book that I’ve received since beginning this blog. I don’t generally give books 5 stars, but I’ve been incredibly lucky to have read what have been two consecutive five star books.

I am going to recommend this book to everyone starting right here! Thank you Martha Hall Kelly for bringing the story of Caroline Ferriday and the Lilac Girls to light — another important story of devastation, bravery and heroism from the past that really needs to have more of a spotlight.

Girl In Pieces – Kathleen Glasgow: Book Review

You can check over my reading history – you’ll see that it’s rare that I give anything a 5 star rating.

I don’t give things five star ratings in most cases because I am a no-shit, hard-to-please bitch.

I have so many things to say about this book and I’m not gonna lie to you, they’re mostly good and they’re real things and maybe it’s going to be personal, so if that’s gonna make you uncomfortable, stop reading now.

To quote the words of the only woman that I would ever truly turn officially gay for, Mariah Carey; Thank God, I found you I was lost without you. My feelings for Girl in Pieces are that real.

pieces

Kathleen Glasgow is amazing. She is amazing for a whole bunch of reasons, but I think we should celebrate the most important reason and it is this; she was brave enough to write something so raw and what would be so personally challenging and probably emotionally exhausting.

Girl In Pieces was about a young girl, not even an adult, who by circumstances, finds herself in situations that no person should have to endure; her coping strategies are self-harm which is where the book begins, 17 year old Charlie’s stay in a mental health facility, trying to deal cope with all of her issues and struggles.

This book reads like the mind of anyone going through a mental health illness and I have read similar books of the same nature that are written in the same way — it is pretty much an accuracy of dealing with mental health issues – it’s how the mind works; fleeting thoughts, repetitive feelings, anger, sadness, upset, calmness; rinse, wash, repeat.

I have read a few previous reviews for Girl in Pieces that angered me; I’m not looking to disrespect anyone, but all I’m saying is don’t do the book a disservice by rating it low because you don’t ‘connect’ with it. You’re not ‘connecting’ and you’re pulling it apart and saying that it’s too much bad stuff, because you haven’t dealt with real, debilitating and serious mental health issues because if you have/did, you would understand, that as Glasgow put it to me over twitter (yes, I know, I was a little fangirly about that) ‘some girls do not have an easy life.’

It’s true.

Girl in Pieces was realistic and an accurate portrayal of someone who is struggling with and who has struggled with mental health illness and still requires help after the hospital stay is over, after the doctors have concluded that you are no longer a threat to yourself. Girl in Pieces is about how sometimes we think we are going so well but can’t see the tiny bits of backsliding that are slowly but surely happening. This book is about the process of recovery – about how it isn’t and will never be perfect and that a cure is not within the realm of possibility.

Thank God for this book.

pieces

It brings truth and comfort to those who suffer mental health illness.

I have been on the search recently for fictional books that will accurately describe mental health issues and I have read a few that I didn’t bother reviewing based on how disappointed I was. Mental health isn’t a journey whereby the person is only sick until someone comes along and saves them and carries them off in to the fairytale sunset.

Whatever struggles encumber you, you will endure probably for a long time — it is just that with constant care and recovery, your coping skills become better and you live on the hope that all the things that you see in others will become a part of your life too; calmness, joy, happiness, laughter and a rational sadness that won’t spiral out of control.

As if it couldn’t get any better, I came across this quote and almost cried with relief;

“There’s nothing wrong with you, Charlie. Not one thing. Can’t you see that?”
But that’s a lie, isn’t it? Because there are so many things wrong with me, obviously and actually. What I want Mikey to say is: There are so many things wrong with you and it doesn’t matter.”

Fuck. Yes.

Sometimes this is the only reaction I want. For someone not to disregard flaws or fears or imperfections; to address them but to accept them unconditionally anyway. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is wrong; it’s truth, it’s not okay to pretend they’re not there to avoid discomfort.

This book had a realistic ending; not a fairytale ending.

And the personal authors note at the end of the book sealed the deal. Kathleen Glasgow was honest about her own experiences and offers hope and advice to those who are struggling.

Girl in Pieces is a hard read, its a dark read and it probably isn’t the book for some; it could even present as a trigger to someone going through something; but if you have mental health illness and you want to feel like you’ve been understood and fairly represented in terms of thoughts and feelings; I recommend this book to you. Maybe it won’t speak to you the way it spoke to me, but I hope that it will.

Five friggin’ stars.

My Secret Life Inside Scientology – Jenna Miscavige Hill

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing EscapeBeyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR THIS IS JUICY AS SHIT.

scientology

…. Actually not really. See what I did there? I totally excited you for a moment and you thought you were going to read something that would shatter everything you know and thought about scientology right here in this review right?

Wrong.

And that’s kind of how I felt about this book. Got me all excited to read things that I didn’t already know about scientology and how exposing this would be– and don’t get me wrong, there were things that I read in this book that made me furious and confused and frustrated — but never shocked.

I feel a little bit bad saying negative things about someone’s biography because you’re basically bitching about their experience. What you’re saying is, “your life experience is boring, make it more interesting!” so I’m not going to do that. This book is not boring by any means, but given the title, I think I expected to be shocked.

The thing is, what we as a collective community already know about Scientology is this;
L Ron Hubbard is a fraud.
Scientology is a giant pyramid scheme whereby the people at the top are the only ones seeing the money.
Celebrities buy in to Scientology because they have entirely way too much money and didn’t spend enough time at school discerning shit from clay.
Tom Cruise is an idiot.
L Ron Hubbard reckons that some Xenu from the planet he made up in one of his books is going to come back and help them all out.
They don’t believe in psychiatry (I know this because Tom Cruise said so, lol).

The rest of it seems far less ridiculous in comparison.

Jenna Miscavige is the neice of Dave Miscavige who had the job of taking over when L Ron Hubbard died. This book is the account of her moving with her family to become a part of the secretive “Sea Org”. Jenna and her brother were split from their parents from a young age and were forced to do manual labor as part of their contribution to the sea org and in most ways become responsible for themselves.

Children were give adult jobs and responsibilities and no real compassion was afforded to them from the higher up members.

This was probably the most alarming part of the book for me — children forced to grow up like little robots without all the things that children require to become well-adjusted adults. Given that Jenna and I are the same age, I was especially angry and frustrated reading how atypical her upbringing was from mine.

The clear and most evident thing from this book is how the church of scientology play divide and conquer among people who are not complying to their every whim and rule. The self esteems of those who didn’t follow the rules were entirely eroded until they had no choice but to ‘recognise’ the error of their own ways.

Given that I have grown up from my late teens and in to my adulthood as a mostly practicing Christian, I find it strange that this church is so secretive. If something is so wonderful and so good, why are the members so unwilling to speak loudly and proudly about the church? I don’t necessarily like get-in-your-face-preaching Christians, but I am not ashamed of my faith nor have I ever been unopen to critisism where it is due.

Jenna Miscavige was an incredibly strong-minded individual who had to be such in order to endure and accept the treatment that she was given within the church. She was equally lucky to meet someone within the confines of the divisive walls of the church who was able to see it for the fraud that it was.

I admired her will and her ability to stand up to those in charge in times of turmoil and solitude.

If you are looking for explosive stories, this probably isn’t the book for it, but if you are looking to read about whole the secretive sea org functions and are interested in learning about the church, then it’s a good read.

I liked it, but I felt at times it was a little tedious — as I said though, this is someone’s experience and it’s not really my right to critique that.

And lastly, can we revisit that scientologists think psychiatry and medicine is not a real thing? And that they know better? That they know that more than what we do when it comes to mental health? (And by we, I mean scientists who dedicate decades to their work on helping those live with mental health illness?)

scientology

Also, Tom Cruise is a dick.

Make-up Purse – My Daily Wear as per request

makeup

Make-up, Make-up, Make-up — it’s my other favourite thing to buy when I am not spending all my money on books. Buying clothes send me over the edge with self-esteem issues and so I just focus on letting my actual face say more than my unfashionable attire ever could.

But, I’ve been asked a few times what kind of make-up I wear. And they say like, oh my gosh, Jess, you are so lucky to be blessed with the genetic lottery that most parents could only dream of. No but honestly, I’ve had about four people ask me about my make-up. While I could probably just send the four of them a mass email, I figured I’d share some of my favourite make up products right here.

Also, it should be noted that my “make-up purse” is not so much of a purse as it is an entire bathroom vanity with used make-up wipes, products, earrings, hair pins / clips and combs strewn about messily — you know, a typical female boudoir. And it should also be noted that I am by no means a specialist of the make-up world. I have had no formal make-up lessons. I learn the very little techniques that I know from a couple of friends who are make-up artists.

This is a product post only (and I am not getting paid or endorsed by any brand, FYI).

So, I work in a day job that requires me to be in a first-point-of-contact type role so it’s probably better if I don’t scare the masses off by coming in to work without troweling my face on in the morning… so my daily look is something like this;

make-up

Yeah, that’s right. I totally made myself in to a GIF. I waited years for this to happen to me. Only, I didn’t really consider that I would be having to do the work myself; I figured it’d be at the hands of some kind of offensive comment I’d made in private to a BFF that would turn viral when she turns her back on me and shares it with a friend– who then shares it with two more friends and then that friend of the friends of my BFF post it online and then- oh, I think I made the point. I had to make the GIF myself.

I chose this gif over a photo because the video is what prompted the first two people to ask me about my make up and the one I got most compliments on. (You can see the video here)

I spend the most time making sure my eyes are perfect. Liquid eyeliner is my bestfriend. I’ve never been able to achieve the full “flick” that I want to, but I feel like I don’t need to figure that out unless I’m going to some rockabilly party (let’s be honest, this is never going to happen, I don’t know any rockabilly people that might invite me to one). My other favourite staple make-up piece is red friggin’ lipstick.

I used to be sooooo self-conscious about wearing red lipstick for all its smudging and bullshit, but I since discovered long-last/shine lipstick that is the key to making it work. (This sounds like an infomercial now: “I used to hate going out in public for fear of people noticing that I had taken a shit in my pants, ever since I got this adult diapers, I can shit my pants allll day long and nobody has to know!”) But more about that later.

The Products:

Face Moisturiser: I use this because I have particularly dry skin at times. I don’t have a preference of which one to use, but I am a big fan of Soap & Glory moisturisers for dry skin. I put this on my t-zone first just so that my BB cream doesn’t flake off during the day. Nobody likes that look…

BB Cream / Foundation 

I used to always say that if the product is cheap, I won’t put it near my skin. But that doesn’t explain why when I wear anything from MAC as a foundation, I wind up looking like an oompa loompa under natural light — or why my pores smell MAC foundation and break out at the mere intention of using it. I won’t touch anything from Maybelline, Revlon, etc — I went through a (misguided) phase where I thought using Napoleon’s foundation stick was okay (it was not) or that liquid foundation from Benefit was okay (again, it was not, looked orange, every time). So, one day while buying some products in the Chanel Emporium, I was given a sample of Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra Light Skin Perfecting Make-Up (Beige Rose for anyone interested). In Australian dollars, I believe its around the $80-90 mark.

make-up

It’s beautiful. You can wear it incredibly lightly or you slap it on with a trowel if it pleases you and it wears all day.

However, since it’s too beautiful and expensive to wear every day, I decided to try out this BB cream phase everyone is carrying on about. I just took the plunge and bought a NYX BB cream on a whim one day and it cost me around $18.95 — and huzzah! It is great! It gives me light or heavy coverage, depending on how awful my skin looks for that day.

Best of all? Neither of these make me look like a giant mud face who hasn’t taken a bath in a week. Even if I haven’t taken a bath in a week.

make-up

Blush: 

I hate bronzer. Bronzer is the devil. It makes mud faces look even more muddier (IMO) and when people don’t use it properly, they just look like they’re in the middle of contouring their face to look like one of the Kardashians. I am ALL about the blush! I love having cute rosey cheeks.

I wear a blush by Chanel – Blush Horizon de Chanel. I only need a tiny bit and over a year I’ve barely made a dent in it. It also comes with an awesome compact mirror so I can check my fine self out all day long to make sure I don’t have a stalk of broccoli caught in my teeth or something. I also have a nice blush from The Body Shop too, but I think my Chanel one has superceded it.

chanel_blushhorizon001

Eyes:

My eyes are important. I reckon if your eyes look great, it can change the whole look of your face. Like, I feel like my face looks dirty when I have clean eyes. So the eye products should be like a friggin’ whole post on its own.

Primer: MAC paint. I know I gave MAC a bit of a gentle jibing (dragging) above, but honestly, I like most of their products, its just that their Mascara and Foundation has been a let down for me in the past. Before MAC became the international sensation that it is now, I had heard about it from an American friend that was living in Australia. She had me go and pick up some products for her on a particular occasion. I remember at 21, balking at the price. Shortly after, I returned home from a trip to the U.S.A and while I was killing time in duty-free, I stumbled upon a MAC store and found that the products in Australia was up to two times more even after the currency conversion. I picked a whole bunch of different things — mascara, pigments, paints, eye shadows and so forth — the miracle I found was actually the paint.

make-up

Honestly, it’s been more than 10 years since I discovered this product and I still have found nothing that works quite like it. People have recommended a primer by Urban Decay, but since I don’t live anywhere near a Sephora or anywhere else that retails UD, I am sticking with what I know best. Mac Paint can be used sparingly. A little bit goes a very, very long way. I have bought it three times in 10 years and wear it on an almost-daily basis. It glides on (I am so uncultured, I use my fingers) easily and it allows your make-up to remain crease-free all day. Once I actually went to bed without taking my eye-make up off (lol, let’s not lie here, I’ve done this more than once) and when I woke up, my eye make-up was still perfect. The colour that I use is Blank Canvas (not pictured) which is a neutral base colour.

Shadow-wise, I’m a bit boring. Gone are the days where I used to get around wearing bright-ass colours (my favourite was green). I now use a copper pigment made by MAC. Yep, can’t beat the MAC pigments. I have been wearing them again for over 10 years and again, a little tiny bit goes a very long way and perhaps when used with MAC Paint it is the reason why it lasts so long without disturbance.

make-up

Also, on a trip to Sydney earlier in the year, I did make a stop to Sephora with my friend and I needed to buy a couple of different eyeshadows. I tried out a few things (it’s weird that in Sephora no one helps you apply make-up, that instead they point in the general direction of the applicators and tell you how to go with it — umm, thanks for your lack of help, this really makes me want to buy something…. or maybe I wasn’t hot or young enough to get the right service? Don’t they know that a person in their 30s has way more money to spend than the teenager with her gaggle of girlfriends? Who knows!) and came away with the Kat Von D Shade & Light Palette

This Palette is highly pigmented and has been a great add-on to my daily make-up. If I feel like doing things a bit more special, I use one of the darker colours at the 3rd quarter of my eyelids and then use a brighter colour in my eyelid crease and blend it all together and it is really quite easy to apply. I’m not an expert, so I figure if I can handle it and not look much like a clown, anyone can. My favourite colour in this palette to use is the very bottom left colour.

make-up

Eyeliner – I don’t have a specific one that I use — I feel like I can’t go wrong using any kind of liquid eyeliner. I am using the NYX fat marker at the moment and I go between that and a Loreal one I picked up on special. I also use a pencil for my water line on the bottom. With liquid liner, I like them in pen form and the brush has to be soft or else I’ll look like a child colouring their eyes in with a crayon.

make-up

Benefit Roller Lashes

I used to use Benefit cosmetics in my early adult years but it just appears like a teenage girl brand and I guess I strayed away from it purely for that reason — I’m ready to be proven wrong of course if anyone can recommend anything, but I don’t know how I feel about this one, to be honest. It works nicely and does give my eyelashes a nice lift, but it has the potential to get very gluggy if you don’t apply it with just the right amount. I bought this cos it was a cheap alternative to the Chanel one that I use and friggin’ adore. It does it’s job I suppose but I don’t think its anything that special. I also received a sample of this from Sephora, I think that’s the only reason why I bought it. I think next time I will try a mascara from NARS.

benefit roller lash

Chanel Rouge – Double Intensite Ultra Wear Lip 

This is amazing. I love this lipstick so much. It fetches for around $50 but I don’t care. I own three of them and I love them so much! Like the MAC Paint, I’ve gone to bed with this on and woken up with it entirely undisturbed. I have to use some lip conditioner or a make-up wipe for oil-y skin to get this off and that’s just the way I want it. It’s a double ended lip gloss with a shine finish that doesn’t feel tacky once it dries.

I am a big fan of reds, so I have three different shades of red in this. The range isn’t incredible, I wish they’d release more (bright pinks, nude pinks, etc) and I hope they never retire it. I put this on before work and its still there when I get home and you don’t have to worry about it smudging over the course of the day cos it doesn’t happen. The only thing that will cause this lipstick to wear, is anything oil-y. I don’t have to worry about that cos I rarely eat oil-y foods during the day (I wait til I’m alone to shove bs food in my pie-hole). 🙂

chanel double intensity

 

I want to give an honorable mention to two other products–

Chanel no 5 Perfume –– my boyfriend bought this for me a few Christmas’ ago and it is my favourite fragrance. I wear it in special occasions now because I am running low.
Chanel no 5 Hair Mist – The. Best. Thing. Ever. It’s essentially perfume for your hair. It’s a love or hate fragrance. I love it. I want to walk around sniffing my own scalp all day ….

Use all these products and you can look like a giant n00b like me 😀

make-up

Upon scrolling up, I realise this mostly reads like an advert for Chanel… but its not, its just my taste for make-up so far. So, there you have it — it turned out to be a more involved post than I earlier expected… now I must dash.