Tag Archives: british

Funny Girl | Review

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Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

Funny Girl is the story of Barbara from Blackpool who dreams of being a female comedian, a la Lucy from I Love Lucy. She moves to London after giving up the title of Miss Blackpool, wanting to get out and pursue her dreams. After only a few short months, her beauty lands her an agent, and she goes out on an audition for a terrible comedy, “Wedded Bliss.” Of course the men creating the show, the writers Bill and Tony, the co-star Clive, and the producer Dennis, fall immediately in love with her and rewrite the show for her. Barbara, now Sophie Straw, is the title character in the new BBC comedy, Barbara (and Jim).

barbara-titleThe book, while focused mostly on Sophie and her experience on the show, and then later, her looking back on her life while in her golden years, is really more of an ensemble piece. The story focuses on each of the core five characters from Barbara (and Jim) throughout the course of the novel, and it explores the nature of relationships, both working and non, and these characters really breathe life into the story.

The story itself is fun if you’re a fan of television, particularly ‘60s British sitcoms, and it’s enjoyable to watch some of that firsthand. It’s also a parody of not only that era of the BBC and British television, but also the musical Funny Girl, about a funny girl who isn’t that attractive and wants to be taken seriously as an actor. The writers are constantly bickering over the story becoming too “stale” and “boring,” and others complain that entertainment is taking over the world and filling it with junk rather than intellectualism.

Also, I listened to this on audiobook, and the narrator epitomizes that classy, British woman from the 60s. It definitely helped my enjoyment of this novel.

Sure, not a lot happens and much of it is predictable and happy, but it’s an enjoyable read overall.

3/5 stars

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All I Know Now | Review

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All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher

You may know Carrie Hope Fletcher from her YouTube channel, It’sWayPastMyBedTime. Or you might know her from her portrayal of Eponine in the West End’s production of Les Miserables. Or perhaps you know her brother, Tom Fletcher, from the bands McFly/McBusted. Or even her sister-in-law, Giovanna Fletcher, author of British chick lit such as Billy and Me. However you know her, if you do, you know Carrie is a phenomenal person with a good heart, values, and a “big sister” to many. If you don’t know her, you should.

All I Know Now started as Carrie’s blog, where she gave advice to teens about growing up, boys, bullies, friends, and following your dreams. Just out of the teenage years herself, at 22, Carrie still remembers her own teenage struggles with clarity, but has enough hindsight to have learned a thing or two. She’s not perfect, and she doesn’t claim to be, but she offers what teens need: a “handbook” of sorts about growing up gracefully written by someone who isn’t an “adult”.

carrieThere are sections dealing with a majority of the things you deal with when growing up, and answers all the questions you were too afraid to ask your parents: how to deal with bullies and recognize if you are one; what to do if your boyfriend wants to have sex and you’re not ready; how to make friends and realize it’s not all about you; how to “properly” use the Internet; and so on.

The writing style is easy and conversational; it reads with Carrie’s voice and is almost like an extended vlog from her channel. She uses easy examples and references Harry Potter and pop culture frequently, something I love.

As a 28-year-old female who has successfully navigated adolescence into adulthood (that’s a scary thought), I can agree with Carrie on many points. She and I have similar values, and I could directly relate with many of the experiences she recognized. The only difference is it took me a LOT longer to realize a lot of her points than she did.

That being said, the book doesn’t really help me anymore. Sure, it makes some good points that I still am too shy to deal with myself, but at least I’m aware of them. And while certain sections had me like “YES!”, a majority of the book, to me, wasn’t helpful anymore, simply because I’ve already navigated those waters and come out alright. I know how to deal with bullies (ignore/agree with/walk away/tell someone if it gets too bad), and seeing as how I’m engaged and not in an abusive relationship, I don’t need to be told what it’s like to kiss someone.

When I was a teenager, however, this book would have been incredibly helpful. It would’ve helped me feel less alone, and I think that’s the magic of this book. Carrie is truly a good role model for young girls to look up to, and her honorary title of “Big Sister” is well deserved and fitting. I plan to not only use the section on social media as additional content in my social media unit in school, but will keep a copy in my classroom library, on hand for any student who needs it.

Well done, Carrie.

The U.S. paperback release date is set for September 1, 2015