Book Review: Book by a female author.

The Girl You Left Behind: JoJo Moyes

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I have the priviledge of working in a bookstore and with that I receive many copies of books from publishers hoping that we will love them and read them and recommend them to our customers. We also have a stash of books in our lunch room that have been read and are looking for good homes. This is where I picked up JoJo Moyes The Girl You Left Behind.

The last time I read a romance was in 1991 when I discovered feminism. I loathe romance novels only because of its ridiculous language and heternormativity. Jojo Moynes has won two Romantic Novelist Awards and this particular novel is also about a couple of heterosexual romances.

Synopsis:

So you would probably ask… why did I chose this particular novel? Well, a couple of reasons: I liked the cover, and it centres around a piece of art. I am not a picky reader, and the simple things usually bring me joy.

The first half of the story, set in 1916, tells the tale of Sophie, a strong French woman left to tend to a hotel and a nasty group German soldiers after her husband Edouard has left to go to the war. Artist Edouard’s portrait of Sophie hangs in the hotel, and catches the eye of the Kommandant. All Sophie wants to do is find her husband who she has not heard from in months and stops at nothing to find him.

The second half of the story catches up with Liv, nearly 100 year later who is now the owner of the painting. Liz is struggling with some demons of her own, and the question of the paintings past and rightful ownership put her to the test.

My verdict:

Grade: A

As mentioned, I loathe romance novels. But , I think the cure for the romance blahs is that of JoJo Moynes. I am a believer again. There is so much wit, despair, soul, and fun in this that I could not put it down. As an aspiring novelist I took so many great ideas from her words. This book is full of intelligence and historical intrigue. At some points I wanted to cry, throw up, and laugh. Danielle Steele has never done this for me.

Books Read So Far:

The Lost Prince: Based in another country

The Girl You Left Behind: Written by a female

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Book Review: Book by a female author.

Thank You

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He held on to the podium for balance as he felt unsteady. There was a whitewash of figures dressed in colours one could only get away with in First-World countries. They were waiting to hear the remainder of his speech. He shuffled his papers as he struggled to reclaim his voice. His voice was stuck behind the lump that developed just before he said “the final thing I want to say is..” He turned away in shame.

When he was a child, his father had left and his mother hated him. She told him as much. “You are an embarrassment, a shame to our family,” as she caught him under the tree in the backyard dancing with only a pair of tattered pants and a pink scarf he stole from the neighbour girl. “You will never be a man. You are a sinner, and you alone will go to hell.”

Yet, here he was, in a foreign country that stood for freedom in front of an audience waiting to hear what he had to say. If this was hell, he did not want to go back. He turned back around to face his audience, and something forced him to focus on a man with tears running down his cheeks. He was also wearing a pink scarf. Shame turned into courage.

“The final thing I want to say is, thank you for coming.”

Thank You

Uniform

Uniform

It was the uniforms that I thought would make it all better. Once the uniform took charge, the burrowing under the cotton sheets would subside. The dreams of banging into the wall over and over again would end. That inevitable fear of death and the ache of eternity would no longer be winning. It was the uniform that was supposed to save me.

Visions of controlled environments make that sense of despair turn 180 degrees and bring hope to the forefront, excitement even. Excitement for the future. For the future of the remainder of my days. The future even when I am no longer in this body. Visions of pets I have lost, Grandma, Andrew, and maybe a celebrity here and there to greet me would be a reality. There would be a sense of order and a lack of the absurd, an understanding of how it all makes sense. The controlled space filled with uniforms. The cloth of clarity. The crisp cotton that would save my life.

Tap, tap, tap. My internal demon was awoken. “This is the police, and we would like you to let us in.” The uniform. The demon flew out the window. If I was being saved why did I feel so ridiculous? Why did I not feel like I was going to be saved? The blood, the scars, the yelling, the sleep, the heartache, and the sublime all seemed like yesterday’s news. This wasn’t real.

“She is worried about you.”

“She shouldn’t have left than.”

There were ashes from 100 cigarettes scattered on the table. The razor was still there. The pills were gone, she took them. The cat was sleeping at my feet oblivious to the pain and chaos and the unreality of her home. I wanted to trade places with her. I am not really here.

I opened the door.

“There is the razor!” Flashlights in the home that was once ours. The uniform swooshed, creating a new sound. Was it the sound of my saviour? Was there really a heaven? Would I be like everyone else? This is not how I imagined it. I was scared. Embarrassed. I was not like everyone else.

The neighbours will know. I am not ready to let it be known.

Quick! Tell them you are fine!

“Get in the car please.”

“You have a lot to live for.”

Stares. Everyone was staring. The police, the nurses, the doctors, the paramedics. The uniforms. This where the saving happens. Why was I not feeling safe?

“You are fine.”

You are not crazy enough. You are an idiot. You shouldn’t be here. Stop wasting my time. Here is a list of more uniforms to help you. Get out.

Uniform

Microfiction Part 2: Missing People

Micro fiction - very short story - Nandhini 06

Missing People

“Matt! Where is Sondra?” she asked for the fourth time.

He finally turned around from Sondra’s desk to respond.

“I’m not sure,” he said.

Was that nervousness she heard in his voice?

“Why are you sitting at her desk than?” she inquired as she quickly dropped her purse and office keys down on her desk next to Sondra’s, her eyes never leaving Matt.

“Oh yeah, right. I guess it looks weird me sitting here.”

“Well considering you don’t work here – yah, it looks weird.”

“She called me this morning. Apparently she found a cheque yesterday in front of her apartment building on her way to work and she forgot it here.. She asked me to look for it on her desk and take it home. I swear Marie, that is all I know.”

“Did she say she wasn’t coming in” she asked. scratching her mass of tight blonde curls in confusion.

“No, I swear that was all she said!”

“Matt, I think that we should call the police and file a missing persons report. This is all sounding strange.”

“That’s too much. She would kill us. It’s probably nothing.”

Marie was already on the phone, “Ya, she is 38, long, straight brown hair. Medium build with..”

“Marie! Stop it. this is stupid!” Matt yelled as he jumped up from Sondra’s chair and grabbed the phone from her.

“My friend is overreacting Officer. I just talked to Sondra this morning,” Matt assured them.

“Okay, thanks, I will.”

Marie could feel the burn of rage erupt in her cheeks. “How dare you say that I was overreacting! Sondra is missing, she found a cheque, your here. Why isn’t this strange to you? Wait, how did you get in here this morning?”

“Sondra thought you might ask me that,” Matt whispered as he slowly made his way towards her.

Microfiction Part 2: Missing People