If you’re looking for a good read this month, here are our thoughts on a selection of recent releases
Luckiest Girl Alive
Jessica Knoll Pan Books | 403 pages
Flicking through a magazine and reading an article about the author of this book had really piqued my interest, but the article should have come with a spoiler alert, as it revealed the key hook to the story. It was, however, still a gripping read, and I managed to go cover to cover in a day and a half – on a child free trip, I might add.
We meet the main protagonist, Ani FaNelli, as she’s shopping for gifts to add to her wedding list. Her character is hard to warm to; she’s manipulative, guarded and extremely complex. However, the book slowly reveals that a traumatic event in her past shaped her personality.
The story chops and changes from present to past and back again, creating suspense and intrigue. The author also cleverly builds up and then knocks down your preconceptions about Ani’s character, from steely, successful persona to vulnerable mixed-up kid. Encouraged to take part in a documentary about her past, Ani’s character and her story are slowly shown to the reader.
The documentary filming and impending wedding finally make Ani face up to who she really is, and even up until the last page you’re not sure whether she will crack the façade she’s kept up or hide behind it. Definitely a thrilling read.
– Amy Brook-Partridge
Mud Between Your Toes: A Rhodesian Farm
Create Space Independent Publishing Platform | 324 pages
This is a memoir about growing up gay on an African farm during the Rhodesian Bush War (1964-1979). Having lived in Zimbabwe myself, just after Independence in 1980, I could relate to a lot of this – the place names and lifestyle brought back many memories. But reading it as an “outsider” will paint a picture of a world not many people knew or know about.
This book shows the freedom and the nature (that was considered normal to those of us who grew up in Africa), and the complexity of living in a country as the “dominant race”. But, it also brings up thought-provoking issues about parenting, sexuality and bullying, which are relevant in most societies. It’s written with wit and honesty, and left me wanting to know more. The book is currently only available through Amazon, and bookdepository.com, which has free delivery to Singapore. – Rebecca Bisset
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