The Wrong Knickers by Bryony Gordon
The Wrong Knickers, first of all what a title, and second of all this had been on my reading list since the New Year so I was dying to read it.
Bryony Gordon, a journalist for The Telegraph, shares the hilarious and very honest stories of her twenties as she struggles to be a grown-up and get her life together.
I laughed a lot. I pretty much laughed from the opening page to the last. If I was reading this on the tube I would have been one of those crazy people laughing away them to themselves either that or one of those trying to stifle a laugh but looking like they are in pain.
Here’s my list of top ten moments from the book:
- Bryony has a one night stand and in the morning is given another woman’s knickers by her ‘lover’.
- Her tooth falls out after kissing her kickboxing instructor.
- Her Indie Barman lover escapes through her bedroom window in the middle of the night and tells her their relationship can no longer continue.
- The Wrong Knickers guy wants to use some butter as a lubricant.
- The kind chap who gave her the wrong knickers phones her some months later to say that he thinks Bryony has given him chlamydia.
- She bumps into the work experience guy at the STI clinic and ends up on a date with him.
- Her first experience of ecstasy results in her passing out by a bin and ending up all alone in her tent at Glastonbury.
- Russell Brand dumped her for Kate Moss.
- She moves to Camden and inevitably attempts to become the coolest indie gal London has ever known even though she hates indie music.
- She has an affair with a married man. Whilst having sex one night he insists they watch Newsnight.
I could go on and quite frankly if this list doesn’t make you want to read the book then what will?
In all seriousness I am nearly halfway through my mid-twenties and don’t feel like I have my life together at all and The Wrong Knickers made me feel like it’s okay. And hey, at least no-one has given me the wrong knickers yet.
Hush by Sara Marshall-Ball
When I was sent the press release for Hush by Sara Marshall-Ball I was intrigued. How would this work – a novel where the central character doesn’t speak. I instantly wanted to know more.
Flitting between ‘then’ and ‘now’ Hush is about Lily and Connie Emmett, two sisters who are battling the repercussions from a distressing childhood. ‘Then’ focuses on the events after Lily and Connie find their friend Billy lying dead on the ground after breaking his neck. Both sisters struggle to process the event and Lily becomes a selective mute, an action which is explained as her way of dealing with the horrific event. She is then carted off to live with her grandparents but when this no longer works she is sent to a mental institution where the professionals try to make her speak rather than deal with her reasons for not speaking. Meanwhile her mother falls apart and becomes mentally unstable herself for reasons unexplained leaving Connie and her father, Marcus, to attempt to pick up the pieces.
Neither child sees a happy day – Connie is bullied at school and so is Lily when she returns. Then, Connie runs away when she sees her mother kissing another man and leaves the family home for Europe. Tragically whilst Connie is away her father is killed in a car accident on Christmas Day.
In the ‘now’ chapters the sisters’ mother has died meaning they have to return to their childhood home and the memories which haunt them. Lily at this time is now speaking however her turmoil is now demonstrated through fainting fits. Her boyfriend Richard suggests moving into her childhood home as a way of combating Lily’s demons. Lily takes a sabbatical from work as a University Lecturer due to her illness and a friendly man named Ed offers Richard a job in the pub, but life never seems to move forward from the day they found Billy dead.
In the last few pages all is revealed – Ed is in fact Billy’s dad and the reason Billy fell and broke his neck is because he saw his father and Mrs Emmett together. Once Lily learns this she feels she can now move forward with her life.
This is a really chilling read and would be perfect for winter nights, the cover is so dark and haunting, it reminds me of Kate Moss’s The Mistletoe Bride. Hush takes a real look at how mental illness is handled and the different forms it can take. I felt it was really thought provoking and it will definitely be staying on my bookshelf.
Hush is released on 25th June by Myriad Editions
Us by David Nicholls
It’s been a while since I bought a bunch off books with the sole purpose of ‘zoning out’. I have felt compelled to read the stack of books on the top of my wardrobe a) because they were given/bought for me and b). because I thought I should be reading something more slightly-high brow.
I’ve not read any of David Nicholls’s previous novels although I do admit I have watched One Day which is probably not a patch on the book itself. There was a huge campaign surrounding Us last year all over London so I decided finally to buy the novel.
Douglas and Connie have been married for a long time, the former believing his marriage is not necessarily happy but is happy to settle. They have a 17 year-old son Albie and both have jobs they love. But Douglas’s life is set to change when Connie tells him in the middle of the night that she wants a separation after their son goes off to uni.
However they still decide to go on their grand tour of Europe that summer as one final hurrah. The situations Douglas manages to get himself in are comical as he tries to make the holiday a happy occasion. From getting chilli in his eye, to being saved a prostitute when a gang of bikers decide to beat him up, to a jellyfish stinging him, Douglas tries desperately to not only save his marriage but himself.
Running parallel to their marriage woes is the rocky relationship with Douglas and Albie. Through flashbacks we learn that the pair have never really been close and there is almost a hint of jealously due to Albie and Connie’s extremely close bond. When Albie and Douglas come to blows on the holiday and Albie runs off around Europe Douglas sees this as the time to make amends and much to Connie’s horror chases him around Europe. This grand gesture does eventually save their relationship and they do develop as close a bond as perhaps they will ever have.
In regards to Douglas and Connie their ending isn’t so happy but perhaps that’s okay. The characters felt so real as though I knew them and we were on this rollercoaster together that it would have ruined the whole novel if everything was neatly tied up and they went walking off into the sunset. Through flashbacks we learn that the pair are complete polar opposites but are absoutely besotted with each other in the beginning but as with all relationships that doesn’t last forever and the dissolution of their partnership is because they never seem to reclaim that spark.
Us had everything – laughter, tears, truth, deceit and most importantly hope.