My Problem with Pooh and Christopher Robin too.

Unexpectedly I came to see the (2017) film Goodbye Christopher Robin which tells the tale of the world famous Playwright and Author A.A Milne but most notably as author of Winnie- the Pooh. First published in the wake on the first world war in 1926, the film follows Milne known to his family as Blue as he returns from the first world war with shell shock or what we now may recognise as PTSD. Devastated by his time at the Somme Blue wants to write a book about war, encouraging peace for future generations; but that is not the story that finds him.

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Thanks to the decision to move his young family to the Sussex country side Blue started to spend more time with  his young son known to the family as Billy Moon and his beloved bear affectionately named Edward  (would later be re-named Winne-the-Pooh). I saw a video with the films director and he talks about how Blue and his wife Daphne were very much of their time, how it wasn’t uncommon to have baby and continue on with life as if nothing had happened only seeing the child for half an hour in the morning and evening. Looking at the relationship of Billy, Daphne and Blue through modern eyes is difficult and it is almost impossible not to judge their relationship. Billy Moon has a nanny Nou whom he adores and as the film unfolds I found myself wondering in a house or family like this when a child has so little access to their own parents who is really Billy Moon’s mother is it Daphne or is it Nou?

In later life a grownup Christopher Robin is even quoted when describing Nou as ‘Almost a part of me’ and they remained close for her entire life.

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Blue and Billy eventually get to bond when both Nou and Daphne are away from the house hold leaving the pair alone together with no choice but to either sink or swim. Blue eventually discovers what a bright and vibrant imagination his son has discovering the names of his favourite toys, which along with Edward Bear included Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore the depressed Donkey. They play together in the long hot summer days just Blue, Billy and his toys and Billy’s imagination that essence of childhood become the inspiration for A.A Milne’s most famous creation, his Winnie the Pooh stories. The Stories were an instant success, lifted up on the back of the tragedy of World War One ‘the country is wounded’ Blue cries to his wife Daphne in the film and with the help of Winnie the Pooh they could remember that life could be good again and life was worth living after all.

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But by writing about his son and his toys  Blue was effectively selling his sons childhood to the masses. The books were an instant stand out success and at one point Christopher Robin who was slowly but surely losing his identity as Billy Moon was named the most famous child in the world. Comparing it not just to today’s standards but famous children throughout history there are very few examples where child stars come off unscathed. Christopher Robin was more famous than his father A.A Milne and his mother was  not only the driving force behind commercialising Milne’s’ books also could see what a commodity her son was becoming. He would do interviews and photographs, signings; all the while Edward Bear had become Pooh and no longer just belonged to him but him and millions of other people all over the world. Billy Moon’s real problems started when he attended boarding school at age nine. It is depicted in the film but the real Christopher Robin had spoken of it many times in his books and interviews over the years that he was consistently bullied for being the child in his father’s books and poems he was pushed kicked and repeatedly pushed down the stairs.  He felt his father had ‘climbed on the back of my infant shoulders’ to forge his career leaving Billy without any identity and with no say in how famous he had become and he was famous for no real reason.

Eventually Billy Moon would shed his Christopher Robin identify all together when he joined the army and became Private Milne. He would survive the war and later marry his first cousin. This would cause great strain on his relationship with his parents one that was already full of emotional entanglements and resentments.

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Daphne and Christopher soon to wife’s father were brother and sister and did not get on and the marriage between the pair further strained his relationship with his mother who was a hard woman at times and is depicted as such in the film. As he grew into a man Christopher seemed to always looking back to his childhood his was filled with a bitter resentment towards the books and what they did to his life and was still angry at his father. He did not speak or see to his father until he was on his death bed and Daphne and Christopher would never reconcile.

Goodbye Christopher Robin did a good job of showing that Daphne and Blue were flawed humans and their relationship with him was fraught. But it ends right when a young Christopher Robin gets home from war, the viewers never gets to know how it ended for the family and how they would never be reconciled. How Christopher would never take a penny from the Winnie the Pooh franchise but eventually when he and his wife had a disabled daughter they were eventually forced to take some money to pay for her care  ‘For Clare’ I read  him say, which is both beautiful that he loved his child in a different way than his he parents loved him but tragic that he had to forgo his principles in the end and his wishes to separate himself from Pooh.

The origin story of Winnie the Pooh is a sad one but it got me thinking about the new Christopher Robin movie to be released this year. (2018) When you’re telling the story of an adult Christopher Robin who famously came to hate Pooh Bear shouldn’t how he really felt about his situation be addressed?

Christopher Robin Movie

I get it, this is Disney and this is the sentimental tripe we love, it has echoes of Robin William’s Hook to me and I’m sure it will be a box office smash. But where does the morality come in? The Little boy Christopher Robin is immortalised in book form destined to be playing with his ‘Silly old Bear’ forever but the adult man who grew up and away from Pooh does he stop mattering cause he’s dead? When did we stop caring about truth? Honestly I think that this movie is a morally bankrupt idea, and yes people will love it because it’s Disney but they will be loving a lie somehow I don’t think I will ever look at Winne- the -Pooh ever the same way again and that’s both a good and a bad thing.

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The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer & Annie Barrow (A Review)

 

Both happily and unhappily I have just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, from here on out I shall just refer to it as Guernsey and I think you will understand why.

It has been softly on my radar for a few years now but with no real intention of reading but I’m not sure why. It’s definitely my genre, it had been sat on my Goodreads shelves for awhile now and it’s one of those books that I had seen around in varying covers but had never quite reached for.

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Then I saw the trailer the Guernsey movie and knew I’d been missing out and bought the book without hesitation. The first thing I discovered was this book is a epistolary novel for those who don’t know this book is written in the form of letters, I have only ever read one book in a similar format before Cecilia Ahern’s Love, Rosie and I just didn’t get on with the structure and ended up DNF-ing the novel. But Guernsey is different, it is so easy to fall on love with the characters. The book follows Juliet a young writer and journalist who has been writing fluff pieces during the second world war to cheer up the nation she’s looking for a new and interesting book idea when she get’s a letter from a man in Guernsey who has bought one of her old books that had her contact detail written inside.

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They begin to correspond and he discuss he is a member of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. They enjoy corresponding so much that Juliet begins to get letters from other members of the society and this is where the fun really begins. When Juliet travels to Guernsey and meets the real people she has been writing to, her new friends from her letters and becomes part of their lives. She discovers what Guernsey and it’s people went through during the war, occupied by the Germans, Guernsey was the only part of the British Isles to really have to live with their enemy and Juliet a writer and a seeker of truth is determined to find out what that really means. She also becomes curious about the societies founder Elizabeth, Elizabeth becomes the centre of this story that Juliet becomes determined to write and her love for the island pours out of her and onto every page.

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Guernsey is a book about friendship, loyalty and love, in a period in history when there had been so much tragedy and devastation it shows is the small things that truly bind people together and love will always win out even in the darkest and most brutal of times. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is a beautiful story that everyone should read it is written in letters but the characters feel fully formed and full of colour. The book is so short it was like being on a short visit with great friends, who I already miss.

5/5 Stars!

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WWW Wednesday – 18/4/18

Hi guys it’s Wednesday and you know what that means? It’s time for WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @Taking On A World Of Words, the rules are simple you just have to answer these three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

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I have just started reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This Historical fiction novel is set shortly after WW2 and written as a series of letters between the characters. I have only read one book in a similar format before and that was Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern and really didn’t get on with the writing style. I’m going to see this in the cinema when it comes out and know it’s a very popular novel so hopefully this time round this style of writing will be a hit with me.

What did you recently finish reading?

I have been on a bit of a Angel kick recently and have just finished Fallen by Lauren Kate and Angelfall and WorldAfter by Susan Ee. Reviews for all three on the way soon (promise).

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m really excited to read a few books at the moment, Folk by Zoe Gilbert, The Cruel Prince by Holly Black and Circe by Madeline Miller. What are you guys reading this month? Let me know in the comments.

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Page to Screen Series: Episode Two- A Cuckoo’s Calling

Hey guys and welcome back to the second episode of my brand new Page to Screen series launched only last week. The basic premise is that I will talk about books that have been adapted for the big and small screen but in a more in-depth way than when I just do a standard review. I don’t hold back in these discussions but I will try and do this as spoiler free as possible as I know many people still have series this on their TBR.

Here is Episode one where I talked about Atonement.

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If you have dropped by my blog in the last week you may have noticed I have mentioned the Cormoran Strike Series a few (okay many) times. It all started when I binged the BBC adaptation and then began reading the first book. As someone who is not really a lover of crime it was a surprise that I have completely falling in love with this series and it’s characters.

Based on the Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowling) novel of the same name A Cuckoo’s calling stars Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger they play the one legged private investigator Comoran Strike and his new assistant and temp Robin.

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Strike is the son of a model and rock star and internally has been dealing with his mothers murder for years he also lost his leg while serving in the army. So when he meets Robin on the morning he and his long time girlfriend Charlotte break up after a blazing row he has been through a lot.

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Robin has moved to London to be with her boyfriend Mathew and has been temping, an intelligent university graduate Robin is capable if achieving more than she has been doing and at this point in her life she knows she has been floundering. But it’s only when she walks into Strike’s office and he nearly kills her by knocking her down the stairs that she starts to feel a sense of gravitational pull and knows that working with Strike is where she’s suppose to be.

Although her Fiance Mathew hates her doing the job and that friction is felt between them as he desires her to work in a more corporate environment. The reader can feel his dislike of Strike, it just flies off the page and this has been translated brilliantly on screen. Strike who really is just a quite loner, he lives for the job and is busy building his fledgling business but Mathew dislikes him,  just as much he dislikes the fact that working for him makes Robin a low earner.

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Together Strike and Robin have been hired to re-examine the case of Luna Landry a model at the height of her fame when it appeared she jumped from her penthouse. The Celebrity world comes easy to Strike and washes over him like nothing but it’s exciting for Robin moving in these glamours but ultimately tragic circles.

Luna, it’s reveled was adopted and had been investigating her biological family and for a time it’s thought that this could be the reason for her death.

Luna Landry

I really like Rowling’s writing for adults, I’ve said before that Harry Potter wasn’t really part of my childhood it somehow managed to pass me by until about three years ago when I read the whole series. I should say I enjoyed the Harry Potter books but I think when you consume something whether that be books or music or movies as a child or in your teens it has a different effect on you than when you just  experience it as an adult, a huge part of that is the nostalgia factor.

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Reading Rowling’s writing as Robert Galbraith has been a really lovely experience she invokes some interesting discussions including race and disability. I am thrilled that the Strike series is continuing with the adaptation of Lethal White I just hope the book comes out soon!

I hope you enjoyed Episode two of my page to screen series, I love reading your comments especially if you have opinions on the books or the series, I’ll see you next time!

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North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – Review

 Spoiler Free

As a reader picking a classic to read is hard, they feel and read differently from modern novels and if you’re not used to reading them or have just read something contemporary a classic can be a lot to jump into.

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I have a had a few classics on my TBR for a while, but North and South has always been one my eye as been drawn to again and again. The idea of a young woman pulled away from her home in the South of England and moving across the country against her will to northern England in the mist of the Industrial Revolution was an appealing concept.

North and South follows Margaret Hale, a strong-willed young woman who hasn’t lived amongst high society but is has hardly struggled either- her father is a parson and she has grown up amongst the luscious but slow English Country side with her cousin Edith and friend Henry.

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When Margaret’s father gives up his parsonage following a crisis of faith he moves his whole family to Milton- a city many believed to be based on the real life Manchester. Milton is not like Helston where Margret has grown up it is not green or slow but a busy vibrant city filled with smoke and industry but also there are many poor people. This is something which Margret has been sheltered from in her former life. The people and culture are so different and Margret is referred to as a foreigner more than once, these are two separate worlds that lie next to each other within the same country.

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Margret’s father begins teaching a much lower paid job than his former profession reducing their circumstances considerably but this is how she meets Mr. Thornton her father’s first pupil. Mr. Thornton is a master at a prosperous cotton mill and he and Margret see the world very differently, particularly this new world that she is inhabiting and its people. I don’t think I can continue without spoiling the book all I can say is go and read it now.

Spoilers

I have read a lot of Jane Austen so I suppose with North and South that’s what I thought I was getting a simple love story but North and South is so much more than that. It takes a strong young woman and places her in a world amongst people she doesn’t understand and watches how she negotiates them which I find fascinating. Margret isn’t the kind of character who is interested in making social connections she someone who is interested and passionate about social justice. She can see the awful situation the poor are in and their choices are so limited strike or die, die or strike and that’s why in my favourite scene in the book when the strikers come to Thornton’s mill she begs Mr. Thornton to talk to them, reason with them even through their actions are driven by starvation and desperation. She has hope that all men can just be spoken to and no matter how bad things get they can be resolved.

Best Bits 

Other than Margaret who I’m obviously quite a fan of particularly from a feminist perspective, Mr Thorton is such a well-written character. Thornton is a brilliant business man and a man of incredible morality, and most of all he loves Margaret, amongst all the political angst in this book it was a really great love story to watch unfurl.

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Thornton is a brilliant businessman and a man of incredible morality, and most of all he loves Margaret, amongst all the political angst in this book it was a really great love story to watch unfurl.

Overall I would give this 5/5 stars and it has to be one of my all-time favourite classics, I look forward to reviewing the tv adaptation (which can be found on Netflix) very soon.

I hope you enjoyed my North and South review I’ll see you next time, goodbye!

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The Greek God Tag!

Hi guys,  I am here today bringing you The Greek Gods Tag originally created by Zuky @ Bookbum! I am currently reading The Secret History by Donna Tart and thought this is a great time to talk about all things, Greek Gods (and Goddess!).

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Rules:

  • Pingback to Zuky @ Bookbum (so she could see your post) 
  • You could use Zuky’s graphics, but you don’t have too. 
  • Tag as many people as you want, but please, share the love 

ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS – YOUR FAVORITE BOOK

How can any reader have just one favourite book? I have so many but at the moment with the release of the third Court of Thorne and Roses book coming this May I’ll say A Court of Mist and Fury. Sarah J. Maas provides drama dramatic ships and A Beauty and the Beast re-telling like no other.

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 HERA: QUEEN OF THE GODS – A BADASS FEMALE CHARACTER

Claire Fraser- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

If you haven’t read Outlander then seriously, what are you doing? Go, read it now! (Then go watch the show) Outlander is Historical fiction and time travel fiction at its very best. Claire is a strong, independent woman who is from the 1940’s and still head strong when it comes to embracing her career. ‘Jesus H.Rosevelt Christ’ she takes nonsense from no one!

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Outlander- Review

JANUS: GOD OF BEGINNINGS – YOUR FAVORITE DEBUT(S) 

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The Girls by Emma Cline- I read an arc of The Girls just over a year ago now; if you haven’t read The Girls it is the debut from Emma Cline loosely based on the Manson Murders in 1969. When I read the book my knowledge of the murders was extremely limited, I was aware that the book was fictionalised but it did lead me to research the real events and find out what happened. A Very interesting thought-provoking debut.

The Girls- Review

ATHENA: GODDESS OF WISDOM – YOUR FAVORITE NON-FICTION BOOK

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan is short stories and essays published posthumously from the young writer’s teachers, friends and family after she died in a car accident. Beautifully written but with a tragic undertone.

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APHRODITE: GODDESS OF LOVE – A BOOK YOU ADORE AND RECOMMEND EVERYONE READ (OTHER THAN YOUR FAVORITE BOOK!)

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Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes – I love this book so, so much it’s one of those books that came along right at the right time for me so I’ll always remember it for that. I know this book has been talked about and has been surrounded by controversy since the movie came out. But I loved reading Lou and Will’s story along with its sequel After You and I look forward to the third book which should be coming sometime next year.

Me Before You- Review

After You- Review

HADES: GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD – AN EVIL BOOK YOU WISH DIDN’T EXIST

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Look, I think evil’s a bit strong, quite while ago I read Tyringham Park by Rosemary McLoughlin and I really didn’t get on with it. The ‘protagonist’ IF you can call her that is so unlikeable but at the same time I have remembered this book and would love more people to read it so I can hear their opinions and see if they are anything like my own.

Tyringham Park- Review

POSEIDON: GOD OF THE SEA & EARTHQUAKES – A BEAUTIFUL & GROUND-BREAKING BOOK

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On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves– When you hear a book about a teacher and a student falling in love, it does have the serious ick factor to it. But all I have to say is read this book and do it with an open mind (oh yeah and bring some tissues!)

APOLLO: GOD OF THE ARTS – A BEAUTIFUL BOOK COVER 

Splintered by A.G Howard, Shatter Me by  Tahereh Mafi, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lanini Taylor all have awesome covers.

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Splintered- Review

HYPNOS: GOD OF SLEEP – A BOOK SO BORING YOU ALMOST FELL ASLEEP

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How I live Now by Meg Rosoff – The premise of this book intrigued me that’s why I picked it up in the first place but the writing style just seemed to slow the book down somehow. What can I say this one was just not for me and it just felt like just another Dystopian YA novel.

HERMES: MESSENGER OF THE GODS – A BOOK YOU SPED THROUGH

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Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare- Any regular reader of my blog knows I am a huge Cassandra Clare fan and always look forward to her new books being released *cough cough* Lord of Shadows. When Lady Midnight was released I swear I almost swallowed it whole!

I hope you enjoyed today’s Greek Gods Tag! All my nominations are below- see you next time!

Nominees 

Book Addicted Reader

YA and Wine

Reads and Reels

The Bookish Wanderer

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Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies- Review

 

Before the Rains has been on my radar for quite some time after spotting a copy at my local Waterstones. The blurb seemed to really jump off the page and offer the reader everything you could want in a historical fiction.

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Before the Rains is set in 1930’s India, an India still being ruled by the British and surrounded with political unrest and India’s desire to be independent. The story follows Eliza, a recently widowed young woman coming out of an unhappy marriage and has come to India to find a career for herself as a photographer. In the 1930s when this book is set women had far fewer options than they do to today and Eliza knows how limited her options could be. So when the opportunity arrises for her to follow her dreams and head back to her childhood home of India Eliza grabs it with both hands and does not let go.

India holds many secrets for Eliza even though she doesn’t know it. She’s commissioned to take photographs of the Royal Family including the Maharaja and his awkward wife Priya and it is while at the palace that she meets the Maharaja’s younger brother the handsome and charismatic Prince Jay.

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What did I think? ( Slight Spoilers Ahead)

I haven’t felt this conflicted about a book in quite some time, I loved the majority things about Before the Rains particularly how feminist the book is. Eliza is a strong young woman who comes from a difficult family situation and although the era she is brought up in and the fact she is a woman isn’t in her favour she wants a career she knows from her previous marriage that she doesn’t just want to be someone’s wife and to live on the sidelines that won’t be enough for her, she wants more and she gets it and becomes a photographer not just in England but in India.

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The book is filled with some great, strong female characters all different and diverse with an important role in the story. Because the story is set in a British-run India the fact that Eliza is English is hugely significant when she arrives she thinks she knows who she is but after spending time with Jay in India her political views surrounding Britain’s presence in India start to change and the deeper Eliza gets with Prince Jay the more she forgets who she is and what she is doing, Jay is set to rule if his brother Anish were unfit or were to die. Oh yeah did I mention interracial romance? Well, I’m mentioning now and it’s pretty swoon-worthy too.

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Rating

Overall I would give this book 3/5 stars I could have rated higher as I enjoyed reading about India and the political situation during that time period and really loved the characters of Eliza and Jay. But I felt the writing style was quite undeveloped and unsculpted and I found the ending a little unbelievable, I would love to hear thoughts from anyone else who read this book.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Before the Rains I’ll see you next time!

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