The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B [Book Review]

Book Reviews

coverEvery book lover has read a book that had such an impact in their life that they can read it over and over again. For me, it’s Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, read for the first time in the 8th grade. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B has the potential to affect a teenager’s life the same way that Speak affected mine.

When Adam meets Robyn at a support group for kids coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he is drawn to her almost before he can take a breath. He’s determined to protect and defend her—to play Batman to her Robyn—whatever the cost. But when you’re fourteen and the everyday problems of dealing with divorced parents and step-siblings are supplemented by the challenges of OCD, it’s hard to imagine yourself falling in love. How can you have a “normal” relationship when your life is so fraught with problems? And that’s not even to mention the small matter of those threatening letters Adam’s mother has started to receive . . .

Adam is a truly wonderful character, a character that you can sympathize with without pitying him. He is a strong, brave boy who not only has to deal with divorced parents, a mother who is getting threatening letters, all of the angst and desire that comes with being a fifteen-year-old boy, but he ALSO has an extreme case of OCD. It pained my heart to read about the amount of times he had to count, or tap his foot, until he “felt right”. Imagine having to feel nauseated by the prospect of walking into your own home without performing a certain ritual. It reminded me of my own OCD tendencies, they can literally take over your life.

Adam, wonderful Adam, deals with all of that and spends the remainder of his day worrying about his mother, his half-brother, Robyn, his father, his Group Therapy friends, and pretty much anyone he knows. He genuinely wants to save everyone and that takes an even greater toll on him than he realizes. Talking is his only form of freedom. When he actually opens up and talks to the group he feels a weight lifted off his shoulders. He finds his voice and the world doesn’t crumble — who’d of thought?

And Adam felt fine. Shockingly, brilliantly fine. Once again, he had told. once again, a relief so pure and powerful rocked him to the core.” (Page 181 of the ARC)

There is something so special about this novel, I can’t even put it into words. It’s the type of story you can’t stop reading. It’s the kind of story that breaks your heart and makes you smile at the same time. I truly believe that every student should be forced to read this book. Every fifteen-year-old should pick up a copy and (hopefully) relate to it enough to let it impact their life.

We’re all unlikely superheroes, we’re all powerful enough to save ourselves.

We’re all free to speak — talking about how we feel and what we’re going through is the only way to get through the hard stuff.

Read this book.

Let it fix you.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Creeps [Book Review]

Book Reviews, Lifestyle/Personal

When a copy of Creeps by Darren Hynes showed up in my mailbox I was ecstatic! I love YA novels, particularly ones that are REAL or depict high school in a true light. Creeps is The Perks of Being a Wallflower meets The Fault in Our Stars meets Invisible — three books that I love dearly, so you can only imagine how I feel about this one.

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Fifteen-year-old Wayne Pumphrey wishes he were courageous enough to actually send the heartfelt letters he writes to friends and family. He also wishes his father would drive on the right side of the street, his mother would stop packing her suitcase to leave, and his sister would stop listening to Nickelback. But most of all, he wishes that Pete “The Meat” would let him walk to school in peace. After all, how many times can one person eat yellow snow?

Then one morning, while facing Pete and his posse, Wayne is rescued by Marjorie, the girl with a dead father and a mother who might as well be. Together, the two of them escape Pete’s relentless bullying by rehearsing for the school play, and an unlikely friendship is formed. As they grow ever closer to one another, they begin to dream of escape from their small town and restricted lives. But Pete now has plans for both of them—and after a moment of sudden violence, nothing will ever be the same again for Wayne, Marjorie, or Pete himself.

Creeps is a tough book to read, in that it hurts you your heart. For a fifteen-year-old kid to feel so helpless and so alone, to be picked on to the point insanity, whose only comfort is writing un-sent letters, your heart bleeds for this child. The language, scenes, and bullying leave very little room for imagination. They are what they are and there’s no sugar-coating it. Some kids go through hell in high school and this novel is a testament to that. It’s an eye-opener for anyone who doesn’t believe that there are real bullies out there. Bullying seems to be worse now than when I was in high school. It’s harder to ft in, it’s harder to stand out, it’s harder to be accepted.

…I’ll take the job anyway because it’s good to have somewhere to go and something to do and someone other than the wall to look at and say stuff to.” (Page 59)

Wayne, is a character I won’t soon forget, he is everything I was in high school. The kind of kid who likes the quiet, who writes instead of speaks, who knows that the day will come when he or she has to get LOUD, has to stand up for his or herself. His words and his letters will stick with me for a long time. His fears and his insecurities are things that I would never wish upon anyone. He is a great character that can teach readers many things. He can teach you by showing you. He shows you that we all have problems, even if we try to keep them inside. He shows you what it is to be brave in ‘silly’ little ways. He shows you that you’re not as alone as you think you are. He shows you how big of a difference one person can make.

…he wonders how it could be that yesterday he felt so young but now feels like a man and it occurs to him that something begins at the same time something ends, so he’ll always be in motion, moving towards and away from things.” (Page 180)

With his raw and sincere writing style, Darren Hynes has crafted a book that should be on the TO READ list of every ninth-grader.

Creeps will have you turning pages, shedding tears, and hoping for the best possible ending, because Wayne deserves it.

___

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Red Joan [Book Review]

Book Reviews

If you’re looking for a suspenseful, romantic, and quick read then pick up a copy of Red Joan by Jennie Rooney. If you like a little historical fiction, love affairs, war, and secrets in a novel, pick up a copy of Red Joan. I chose this novel for my second Random House Read for May and although it took me a bit to get into (in all fairness I was on vacation in Vancouver when I started to read it and therefore quite distracted) I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Joan’s voice is almost a whisper. ‘Nobody talked about what they did during the war. We all knew we weren’t allowed to.’

Joan Stanley has a secret. 

For fifty years she has been a loving mother, a doting grandmother and an occasional visitor to ballroom dancing and watercolour classes. Then one sunlit spring morning there is a knock on the door.

It would appear that Joan has quite a few secrets and each page lays the foundation for a new confession, a new realization. Going back and forth from past to present, you get swept up in Joan’s world and all of her secrets. You fall in love with Joan, you sympathize with her, and sometimes you want to shake her and tell her to stop being so naive. I don’t want to say too much about the plot of this novel because I don’t want to ruin it. I want you to get so into this novel that you’re hunched over on the edge of your bed wondering what will happen next. I want you to feel the same concern for Joan as I did. I want you to wonder about Leo — to be cautious of him but undeniably attracted to him. I want you to see the flashbacks happen in black-and-white. I want you to meet Max and enjoy every moment with him. I want you to remember what it was like to be 18 and have your whole life ahead of you.

…she finds that she can still remember the feeling of that year with absolute clarity; the breathless sensation brought on by the knowledge that if she didn’t go somewhere and do something then her lungs might actually burst out of her chest…She is eighteen years old and impatient to leave. There is no particular reason for this impatience other than an underlying sense of life happening elsewhere…” (page 12)

I want you to remember what it feels like to stand up for something, what it feels like to be honest, and what it feels like to do what you know in your heart is right.

I want you to get so into this novel that you don’t even hear your phone ring, just like I did.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

P.S Red Joan by Jennie Rooney comes out tomorrow (May 21st, 2013)! 

**Synopsis from the Random House of Canada website**

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena [Book Review]

Book Reviews

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I finished reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomena on Saturday May 4th, after a three-hour uninterrupted reading stretch. My cheeks were wet with tears, my heart ached and pounded as if I drank too much coffee, my eyes stung with gratitude, and my head throbbed from feeling so many things at once. That is just the physical impact of what this novel did to me. In 384 pages, Anthony Marra discussed and depicted every kind of relationship possible. He brought me into a broken world, a disheveled country, a place where everything is in ruin and everyone is broken, but left me with a lingering sense of hope.

A haunting novel set in a nearly abandoned hospital in war-torn Chechnya that is both intimate and ambitious in scope. Eight-year-old Havaa, Akhmed, the neighbour who rescues her after her father’s disappearance, and Sonia, the doctor who shelters her over 5 dramatic days in December 2004, must all reach back into their pasts to unravel the intricate mystery of coincidence, betrayal and forgiveness which unexpectedly binds them and decides their fate. In his bold debut, Anthony Marra proves that sometimes fiction can tell us the truth of the world far better, and far more powerfully, than any news story. You will not forget the world he creates—A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and its characters will haunt you long after you turn the final page.

I don’t think I have enough words in me to describe how moving this novel really is, so I’m not going to try. What I will tell you is that A Constellation of Vital Phenomena will remind you what means to be human, what it means to love, and what it means to have hope. You will learn something different from every character you encounter and you’ll probably add them to your FAVOURITE CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME list. You will love Havaa and admire her brilliance, you will hate then love then hate then love Sonja and her broken heart, you will laugh at (and with) Akhmed and cherish him at the same time, and you will marvel at the various ways their lives are connected. The two relationships that had the greatest effect on me were that of Havaa and her father, as well as, Sonja and her sister Natasha. I understood their relationships and saw a piece of my own reflected in theirs. I am that little girl who thinks the world of her father (and mother). I am one of those siblings, there to catch the other when balance is lost, seemingly unaware of how much I need her (and my bother) too.

… her father would have found her performance enchanting, would have scooped her up in his arms…His approval sparked magic into the blandest day, could layer her in the self-confidence and security she otherwise might lack; and without it, without him, she felt small, and helpless…” — Page 44

My favourite thing about this novel? You are taken on a 5-day journey that spans over many years (past, present, and future), and although you are constantly on the edge of your seat, waiting to find out what happens next, by the last page you can bask in the comfort that there are no loose ends. I truly understand why this is one of the most anticipated books of the year and if it sounds like your cuppa tea, you can pick up a copy today (Indigo Eaton Centre has signed copies).

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

P.S. This is Random House Read #2 for the month of May!

** Synopsis taken from the Random House of Canada website **

Finding your voice – The Silver Star [Book Review]

Book Reviews

cvr9781451661507_9781451661507_lgIn March I was sent an ARC of The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls. I truly fell in love with this novel. I love books with strong, young, female characters. Characters that are forced to handle big issues, face huge challenges, falter and stand back up. They remind me of what a sheltered life I’ve lived and make me wonder if I could, in fact, survive if I had to face what they did.

It is 1970. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister Liz is fifteen when their artistic mother Charlotte, a woman “who flees every place she’s ever lived at the first sign of trouble,” takes off to “find herself.” She leaves her girls enough money for food to last a month or two. But when Bean gets home from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz board a bus from California to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying antebellum mansion that’s been in the family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean discovers who her father was and learns many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, so Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, a big man who bullies workers, tenants, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister, inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, non-conformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox.

The author of The Glass Castle, hyper-alert to abuse of adult power, has written a gorgeous, riveting, heartbreaking novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love the world despite its flaws and injustices.

Bean is one of the most loveable and smart twelve-year-old characters I’ve encountered (she kind of reminds me of Flavia DeLuce). Liz is the a smart and exceedingly bright girl who just needs to find her place among outsiders. I felt that I could relate to both of the girls in one way or another and I admired their strength and bravery. Uncle Tinsley is a wonderful and sweet man who needs Bean and Liz as much as they need him. Charlotte, on the other hand, needs to get her stuff together. I didn’t like her character at all, the only thing I liked about her is what she tried to teach her girls whenever she decided to hang around.

“‘Find the magic,’ mom always said. ‘And if you can’t find the magic,’ she added, ‘then make the magic.'”

Jeannette Walls crafted a wonderful story filled with tears and heartaches. The writing was fluid, powerful, and smooth. For some reason this story truly played at my heartstrings. It reiterates the need to find your own voice and never pretend like something didn’t happen. Face it. Do something about it and don’t give up.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

 

** Synopsis from the Simon and Schuster website **

The Aftermath [Book Review]

Book Reviews

coverMy first Random House Read for May is The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook. Before I spend the next 300 words or so praising the crap out of this novel, I’d like to share the synopsis with you.

Hamburg, 1946. Thousands remain displaced in what is now the British Occupied Zone. Charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city and the de-Nazification of its defeated people, Colonel Lewis Morgan is requisitioned a fine house on the banks of the Elbe, where he will be joined by his grieving wife, Rachael, and only remaining son, Edmund.

But rather than force its owners, a German widower and his traumatized daughter, to leave their home, Lewis insists that the two families live together. In this charged and claustrophobic atmosphere all must confront their true selves as enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.

The Aftermath is a stunning novel about our fiercest loyalties, our deepest desires and the transformative power of forgiveness.

The Aftermath is officially in my top three favourite historical fiction novels of all time, tied with The Purchase and The Aviator’s Wife. It is a wonderful story about forgiveness, loyalties, and giving into your deepest desires. Rhidian Brook has created a complex story with unbelievably real characters, characters you can feel sympathy for, characters you can have a connection with. Each character experiences some kind of loss — a loss so heartbreaking that none of them know quite how to face it. This story is as much about trying to rebuild a nation, as it is about rebuilding relationships and having sympathy and compassion for your fellow human beings.

A huge part in my love for this novel has to do with the flawless writing. It’s smooth, concise, descriptive, and wonderfully thought-provoking. I love how Rhidian Brook allows you to see and understand so many sides of the same story. The way his writing shows you something extremely important about humanity: that we all feel pain and we all heal differently. That forgiveness can literally save lives.

What else can I say about this novel? Well, I don’t want to say too much or I’ll ruin it for you, but I will say that there were so many twists and turns I could barely keep up. I was literally on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, waiting for something to happen (or not happen). I strongly suggest that you add it to your “to read” list — it comes out on May 7th 2013.

He could see  a whole new city growing out of the desolation. A fine city fit for children, parents and grandparents, lovers and seekers, for the broken and the fixed, the missing and the missed, the lost and the refound.”

Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

** The synopsis is from the Random House of Canada website **
** The quote is an indirect quote from page 321 of the novel **

Debt, Divorce, and Mount Pleasant [Book Review]

Book Reviews

Today, Mount Pleasant by Don Gillmor comes out and although I don’t usually start my book reviews this way I will: YOU SHOULD read this novel. That said, let’s get on with the review…

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I’ve never picked up a novel that threw me so far into reality that I got anxiety. Money runs the world, according to Harry Salter. Harry Salter is in debt, a mountain of debt that only gets higher, that seems to be gaining momentum, no end in sight. To top things off, his marriage is going through another rough patch — 20 years of marriage and divorce is knocking at the door. The only thing that can save Harry is his father’s estate. An estate that ends up being a measly $4,200 — nowhere near what Harry was expecting. All of his father’s money is gone and Harry is willing to go on a wild goose chase to find it. Money will solve all of his problems, money will save his marriage. Right?

Now, why should you read this novel? Well, for starters it is real. It documents the life of a middle-aged man and all of the anxieties that go along with it. At first it kind of depressed me, I thought THIS is what I have to look forward to? and then I got so into the writing, so into the story, that I forgot all about that. There’s a little fight left in Harry Salter, there are moments in which I hated him and his wife, Gladys, and moments where I loved them both. They are wonderfully complex characters that emulate reality. Their story is daunting but I couldn’t put it down. Their secrets are haunting but I felt relieved when each one was unleashed. The money, the chase, and the suspense surrounding his father’s estate fuelled my need to read on. Oh, and the writing was amazing. Funny, smart, and suspenseful, just the way I like it.

“Life can’t be resolved. If it could, it wouldn’t be life. Relax, Harry, laugh when you can. You don’t get another shot at it.”  (Page 97)

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

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SYNOPSIS (FROM THE RANDOM HOUSE OF CANADA LIMITED WEBSITE)
In middle age, debt has become the most significant relationship in Harry Salter’s life. He was born to wealthy parents in leafy and privileged Rosedale, at a time when the city was still defined by its WASP elite. But nothing in life has turned out the way Harry was led to expect. He’s unsure of his place in society, his marriage is crumbling, his son is bordering on estranged, and on top of it all his father is dying.
As he sits at his father’s bedside, Harry inevitably daydreams about his inheritance. A couple of his father’s millions would rescue him from his ballooning debt—maybe even save his marriage. But when the will is read, all that’s left for Harry is $4200. Dale Salter’s money is gone. Out of desperation and disbelief, Harry starts to dig into what happened to the money. As he follows a trail strewn with family secrets and unsavory suspicions, he discovers not only that old money has lost its grip and new money taken on an ugly hue, but that his whole existence been cast into shadow by the weight of his expectations.

The Most Intense Dinner I've Ever Sat Through [BOOK REVIEW]

Book Reviews

I just finished reading The Dinner by Herman Koch, my first February book review for Random House Canada. This is probably the most difficult review I’ve ever had to write…

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I found The Dinner to be an exceptionally difficult read for the first 100 pages or so. Why? Well because I didn’t really like any of the characters…and yet I thoroughly enjoyed the book. How is that possible? To be honest I didn’t think I would ever get through a book with characters I didn’t like but it’s an enriching experience. I found that I paid attention to them more, I wanted to dig deeper into who they are and what they bring to the story. I needed to understand why they were written the way they were. By the end of the novel I had a deeper appreciation for Paul, Claire, Babette, Serge, and Michel. I understood the demented and uncomfortable purpose of each of them, as well as the satirical nature of this novel.

The Dinner reminded me immensely of Wild Girls by Mary Stewart Atwell and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It took me a little longer to sink my teeth into but once the appetizers were over I couldn’t wait to get to the next course — I mean that literally since the book is made up of  five parts (Aperitif, Appetizer, Main Course, Dessert, and Digestif).

I must admit that the writing and the way Herman Koch compares and explains people, emotions, and situations is absolutely brilliant. Like the way Paul describes how different Babette is when he greets her at the dinner,

“Yet there was something else, something different about her this time, like a room where someone has thrown out all the flowers while you were gone: a change in the interior you don’t even notice at first, not until you see the stems sticking out of the garbage.” (Page 31)

See what I mean? You can literally SEE the changes in this woman who you have just been introduced to! Brilliant. As the novel progresses the writing keeps getting better, the characters become more interesting, and the plot gets thicker. The Dinner is probably the most thought-provoking, intense, and shocking novel I’ve read in a while. On the surface The Dinner is just a story about a family trying to find their own happiness but it becomes so much more than that.

“…we would be able to go on living as a happy family. A scar would remain somewhere, true enough, but a scar does not have to get in the way of happiness.” (Page 149-150)

Love Always

Vanessa Xo 

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SYNOPSIS (FROM THE RANDOM HOUSE OF CANADA LIMITED WEBSITE)
An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives — all over the course of one meal.
It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse — the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.
** THE DINNER COMES OUT FEBRUARY 12th! **

"'Dangerous killers on the loose!' The words which every amateur sleuth lives in eternal hope of hearing."

Book Reviews

I have loved Alan Bradley’s writing since I read The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie in November of 2010. His writing is vibrant, compelling, suspenseful, and smart. I’ve read each instalment (except #4, which I need to get my hands on) of the Flavia de Luce’s mysteries and cherish them all. So it’s no surprise that when choosing my Random House reads for January, I made sure Speaking from Among the Bones was on my list.

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Flavia de Luce quickly became one of my favourite literary characters of all time. Her strength, determination, wit, common sense, and endless curiosity are simply inspiring. Thankfully, the fifth Flavia de Luce Mystery did not disappoint, in fact, it highlighted all of my favourite things about Flavia. It made me think, it make me question, it make me CURIOUS. Curiosity may kill the cat but it’s got nothing on little Miss Flavia de Luce, an eleven-year-old self-proclaimed detective and self-taught chemist.

Probably the best thing about each de Luce Mystery is the subtle life lessons, one-liners, and thought-provoking sentences that make you to sit back and contemplate your life. They help you relate to Flavia and they make you feel like you’re not alone. Top that off with one heck of a mystery, a pinch of history, a dab of scientific experiments, and you’ve got yourself a delightful read.

“It’s at moments like this that you find out what you’re made of: moments when everything you’ve ever been taught is fighting against your heart.”(Page 129)

I’m no sleuth, or chemist, or private detective finding corpses and solving mysteries, but we all face moments that DEFINE who we are. Moments that tug at our hear strings and change us completely. Moments that scare us and challenge us to the breaking point. Moments that show us exactly what we’re made of.

I’m just beginning to experience moments like that.

I’m just beginning to find out if I have what it takes to overcome my fears.

I’m just starting to feel like Flavia de Luce — fearless, curious, and brave.

Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

P.S. If you’re a Flavia fan, book number five is a MUST READ — it leaves you hanging with quite possibly the most intense turn of events. I’m desperate to get into book number six!

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**Book on sale January 29, 2013**

*Blog title from page 285 of the novel*

SYNOPSIS (FROM THE RANDOM HOUSE OF CANADA LIMITED WEBSITE)

In the fifth book of the New York Times bestselling series, featuring Flavia de Luce, Alan Bradley pens his most chilling mystery yet, and introduces a new character into the mix whose actions will have lasting consequences on Bishop’s Lacey, the de Luce family, and especially Flavia herself.

When the tomb of St. Tancred is opened at the village church in Bishop’s Lacey, its shocking contents lead to another case for Flavia de Luce. Greed, pride, and murder result in old secrets coming to light—along with a forgotten flower that hasn’t been seen for half a thousand years.

“…people should concentrate on their jobs and not all that ‘I want to be a celebrity’ shit”

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

I’ve never been much of a memoir, nonfiction, or biography reader and the only reason for that is my all-consuming love for fiction. Grace – A Memoir by Grace Coddington, my second Random House Read for November, just might have turned me on to a new genre.

“…here I am doing something I never imagined I’d be old or interesting enough to embark on: writing my memoirs.” (xxxi)

From the very first sentence of the introduction to the very last line of the book, I found myself completely obsessed with Grace Coddington, her life,w and her sassy writing style. Her personality and independence are inspiring. I found the constant changes in her career, her business partners, and her husbands/boyfriends more interesting than jarring – I took it as a reminder that life is full of changes, full of surprises (good and bad).

By the way – the book itself is BEAUTIFUL. Grace’s illustrations are wonderful and add extra character to her memoir.

Grace Coddington’s independence from a very young age blew me away. Her move to London at the age of eighteen with the prospect of becoming a model got me thinking about how strong-willed and independent she must have been. Sheesh, compared to her I’m much more dependent on comfort and people than I once thought. My life is practically a bubble and I’m standing inside with a pin constantly debating what I’ll do with it.

A picture I took of the book – page two.

Apart from her independence, I admire the balance she always tried to bring to her life, the balance she aimed for in her personal relationships. I admire her willingness to learn and to fail and to always do better. If someone who “would become nauseated and physically sick around too many new people…” could become the Creative Director of American Vogue magazine, what canwill I become?

What I’m trying to get at here is that Grace Coddington’s memoir is an inspiring read, as well as an in-depth look at a world I never paid attention to. I will now look at clothing a little differently and I will pay attention to the story that a magazine spread is trying to tell.

I now really really really want to attend a fashion show.

I now want a subscription to British and American Vogue.

I now feel as though I can dream a little bigger, thanks to Grace Coddington.

Love Always
Vanessa Xo
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Synopsis (from the Random House of Canada Limited website)
Grace Coddington, at age 70, has been the Creative Director of Vogue magazine for the past 20 years. Her candour, her irascibility, her commitment to her work, and her always fresh and original take on fashion has made her, after Anna Wintour, the most powerful person in fashion. Acquired after an intense auction among every major publisher, this woman who became an unwilling celebrity captured the hearts of everyone when she was revealed in the movie as the creative force behind the throne at Vogue. Having grown up on a backwater island in Wales, she came to London just in time to be discovered as a dazzling model by the famous Norman Parkinson, then went on to shape the pages at Vogue for 19 years where she worked as Creative Director with many luminaries including the young Wintour. Lured by Calvin Klein to run his New York operation she then jumped back to American Vogue when Wintour returned to America in 2003. She has been there ever since.