After reading a fantastic article about consent and sexual relationships in university students from The New York Times, I felt inspired to write about my own experiences. I wrote a piece that was brutally honest about what my first boyfriend did to me, and I did feel relieved to get that down on paper. However, I couldn’t help but feel reluctant to put that on my blog, because it was so open about bad shit that happened of a sexual nature. I felt a little uncomfortable about putting that out there. So I decided to talk about consent in general, and why on earth do we still need to be having this conversation in 2018?
I had heard so much hype about this book when it first came out, that I just had to give it a try. I bought ‘The Lie Tree’ not too long before I saw Francis Hardinge in YALC, but for some reason or other I haven’t gotten around to reading this fantastic novel until now. I had bought another one of her novels recently, ‘A Face Like Glass’, but thought that maybe I should read this one first seeing as it was the first book of Hardinge’s that I bought. I was not disappointed!
I’m not really what you think of when you consider a stereotypical writer. For one thing I despise tea and coffee, and feel much happier with either a Dr Pepper or glass of water by my side when I sit down to pen a story, poem or other narrative. What makes me less of your stereotypical writer is I don’t toddle off to a coffee shop with laptop in hand – in fact I am very self conscious about writing in front of others, even if they’re members of my own family. “What you writing there then?”, or in the presence of strangers I’m constantly paranoid that they’re looking over my shoulder to see what I’m writing. Irrational, I know, but unfortunately that’s the way my brain works. Though one thing that makes me a very stereotypical writer is the fact I hoard pretty notebooks. SO MANY NOTEBOOKS.
I have been so damn excited to read this book! I’d preordered a signed copy from Waterstones, but then while I was at the Hay Festival I saw some copies stacked on a table. A whole two weeks before ‘How Do You Like Me Now?’ is officially released. And Holly Bourne was right there at the front of the line where I could get it signed. So I picked up a copy, and after Bourne had signed it saying that it was one of the first copies that she’s signed, I just had to read it next. It also seemed a little silly to waste this opportunity to get my review up on here before the book comes out on the 14th June. So I’ve broken with my little habit of posting these reviews up in the order in which I’ve read the books, to get this up here! I’m about 8 books behind in terms of what books I’ve read so this wouldn’t have made it up here for the next two months otherwise.
I had started writing a version of this way back when I first started my blog, after witnessing some year 11 boys having a disgusting conversation about girls in their year back when I was working as an LSA. I didn’t post it because I convinced myself no one would want to read it – but these random opinionated Wednesday blog posts seem to be doing well, so have another opinion!
I have heard no end of hype about this novel, and in complete contrast to disappointments such as ‘The Girl on the Train’ I do think this book really did live up to it. Gail Honeyman has truly found a winner in her character Eleanor – in some ways she struck me as being slightly autistic, as she didn’t quite the knack of social interaction and picking up on social cues. I knew virtually as soon as I slipped into this novel that I would absolutely love it! Eleanor’s narrative was hilarious; though the comedy was equally mixed with sorrow, and this was expertly weaved together to create such a wonderful story.
Hay-on-Wye has always been special to me – I first went to Hay with my Mum and Grandparents, and I must have been around 10 or 11 at the time. We all wandered around the book shops, and my Granddad (Beysey) ended up giving me more money for books even though my Mum had said no. Reading has always been heavily valued in my family, and for me to find out there was this mythical place in Wales that was made up entirely of book shops? I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!
I came back to Hay to see Maggie Stiefvater in 2011 – before I went to uni, and she was promoting her latest book ‘The Raven Boys’. She was doing a talk at the Hay Festival, and I just had to go and see her while she was in Wales. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and was more than a little annoyed that I hadn’t researched who else was there that day so I could spend longer in the Hay Festival.
Since both of those wonderful experiences, I have always wanted to go back to Hay – both the town itself as well as the festival. So when I found out Derek Landy was coming to promote his new book, ‘Midnight’, I saw my chance. Besides, now I only live just down the road from Hay, so it was high time I finally went back. This time however, I did look into who else was going to be there! Margaret Atwood was there on the second May bank holiday, but by the time I found that out the event had already sold out so I couldn’t go see her. There were plenty more awesome authors there on the same day as Landy though, so I wasn’t in short supply of people to go see!