Books that are just cat propaganda

*Attempt at humour alert- take this post seriously at your own peril!*

cats and dogsSince that incredibly note-worthy film Cats and Dogs was released, the fact that cats not-so-secretly want to rule the world has been exposed for us all to see. Well, I posit the theory that cats have an even greater agenda! Cats are ever-present in books and their oft sympathetic portrayals are evidence that a lot of books are just propaganda, designed assist this feline takeover. Let’s look at the evidence shall we…

Dick Whittington and his Cat– cat heroics- need I say more?

dick whittington cat
This one even inspired a cat statue in London!!

The Warriors Series– more cats fighting the good fight. No points for spotting the hidden messages here 😉

warriors into the wild

The Tiger Who Came to Tealast time I mentioned this book I was larking about making fun of people that read a little too much into children’s books- but not this time! This time I’m DEADLY SERIOUS. The message of this book is very indirect, because some might even forget that a tiger is in fact a BIG CAT. But if you look below the surface, it’s basically telling young and impressionable souls to open their doors to felines, let them take advantage of hospitality and then saunter off as if nothing has happened. Well, I’m onto these disgusting fiends!

tiger who came to tea

Samuel Whiskers– even though it’s about a rat, you support the cat. Because that’s what the cats want!

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Garfield– the ultimate fat cat teaches us to indulge our furry “friends” with lots of lasagne and basically let the scroungers sponge off us (little suspecting that they might one day pounce on an opportunity to enslave us further!)

garfield

We also can’t forget movie adaptations…

the birds

The Birds– this is super subtle, but just think, when you’re watching this movie, didn’t the thought occur to you that the problem could have been solved with a bunch of cats? Portraying their mortal enemies as our mortal enemies is one of the ways cats ingratiate themselves into our lives. I’m telling you, they’re conspiring against us!

illuminati conspiracy

Disney was also very pro cat (no I’m not skirting over the fact there are dog movies and the logo is a mouse- that’s all a front I tell you!)

Ermm yeah- so that’s my really logical argument that cats are trying to indoctrinate us through different forms of media. I doff my tin foil hat to anyone I’ve convinced- which, I’m sure, is everyone. So what books do you think are on board with this pro-cat agenda?

Also- at the risk of starting a flame-war in the comments- what do you prefer, cats or dogs? (I’m gonna disappoint you all and say that I don’t actually have a preference, I just wanted to make this silly post 😉 )

Snarking on my Childhood Writing

Okay, so I’ve been talking a lot about writing recently, but I know what you’re all thinking (or all should be thinking 😉 ) What qualifies this monkey-brained buffoon to talk about writing? Well- fear not- I have the answer! Because I was just the ripe old age of eight when I wrote my first novel- and today I’m going to share that with you… It’s called THE TRAPDOOR…

the trapdoor cover

I know looks awesome. You are in for a right treat (*ahem*) giggle. (Honest disclaimer: I found this, I thought it was a riot and decided to share it with you- plus I included my modern day snark, so what’s not to like?)

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Ooh he’s an orphan- very original.

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I feel like this is very pertinent information 😉 More importantly though, I don’t think I had much fashion sense as a child cos I think this was meant to sound tramp chic.

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I feel like this is straight up plagiarising Aladdin.

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Hehe okay, definitely Aladdin plagiarism.

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I actually like this bit- I might steal this from myself later…

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My architectural sense was as advanced as my idea of what people wore, apparently.

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Ooh drama. But is the magically warming handle thing going anywhere… Spoiler alert: I’ve read the whole thing now, no it isn’t.

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I almost missed this- but was he just wandering round a castle an ENTIRE DAY? Did he even take a moment to sit down? Also, did he have anything to eat other than that apple? So many questions…

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Suddenly isn’t so sudden when you’ve been walking round a building for a day. Just sayin’.

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AHAHAHA THIS WRITING!! I HAVE NO WORDS

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Ye wot?! Plot twist!! This is so random.

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Hahahaha oh dear- I thought the last plot twist was good. Ah well at least I gave the spider decent motivation- no one likes know-it-alls.

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I love the childlike way of being dramatic- “anger he’d never felt before”- brilliant.

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Well they sound like bastards, frankly.

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I feel like the “said in disbelief” was in no way superfluous after he said “I don’t believe you” 😉

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I just love how James lists reasons. He’s being quite calm, considering he’s facing off with a giant talking spider.

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Well this is a lot of information the hero needs all in one place…

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I love how I used the “villain tells the hero all his secret plans” trope, but I was self-aware enough to realise this was a dumb thing for the baddie to do. I also like how I had the decency to point that out- even if pointing out you’re making a dumb writing cliché doesn’t make the dumb writing cliché any less dumb. Someone should have told my eight-year-old-self that- points for effort though 😉

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Also, that teensiest bit of self-awareness clearly didn’t stop me doing more of it though.

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Aww well, nothing says a happy ending like decapitating a spider. I’m so glad that all worked out.

I’m also happy to say that I didn’t stop at the writing- no, I illustrated it too! Look at these masterpieces…

Well I hope you all got a good laugh out of that! I guess the lesson here is… everyone needs to start somewhere. Even if that start is tropey and silly and frankly hilariously bad. Happy writing!

Honest YA Dystopian Book Blurb

(Un)inspired by the subject of my last review, I decided to write my own Honest YA Dystopian book blurb- enjoy!

This is one hundred percent about important issues- sort of…

I mean there will be an end of the world plot… even though the world already ended before this book began… But who cares? The world can end twice, right?

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Plus- get excited cos we have not one, but several oppressive governments nested inside each other like a Russian doll (really this book is a bargain- that’s why it’s £9.99 for a kindle edition)

And don’t worry about Instalove- IT WILL BE INCLUDED- we know how much you love it. And expect plenty of staring at the main love interest to- *lots and lots of stares*- to convey all the *emotions*. We wouldn’t want this “love at first sight” thing to be subtle. Also, we know this is important to you as a reader, so THERE WILL BE NO LOVE TRIANGLE (until book 2)…

LOVE triangle of doom

You’ve probably read about ten (better) versions of this before- but ho hum, what’s an eleventh gonna hurt? So sit up and take notice- cos I swear this will not be as exciting as the Hunger Games or Divergent (nor will the protagonist be nearly as kickass, but the narrator will tell you she is on countless occasions)

Also, if this blurb makes you *in any way* afraid for the main character, don’t be! We all know corrupt systems of government are totally useless at stopping teenage girls and their hunky boyfriend(s).

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Annd that’s it- you’ll have to read the “book” to know more  😉 Hope you enjoyed that! 

What to read after something existential and deep…

Hello all! Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday and Happy Mother’s Day!

I don’t know about you, but after reading something heavy or deep, I always feel like I *deserve* to read something super light. So after my post yesterday, I decided to compile a list of things to read after you’re done delving into the existential and need to read take it easy:

  1. Weather reports– weather reports are safe, they will not hurt you and it’s always good to be prepared!

weather report

  1. YA contemporary– fun frivolity where the biggest stress is what to wear to the school prom- yes please!! But watch out for the ones where people die…

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  1. A frothy fantasy– not the kind where anyone gets hurt- but the semi-safe kind where they wander off in New Zealandesque landscapes for hours on end (if nothing else you can let your mind wander to “where are the hobbits”). Again, preferably with the emphasis on the main character’s dress sense.

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  1. The TV Guide– let’s face it when you’re done with all the heavy stuff, you’ll be reaching for the remote and may as well find something good…

radio times

  1. Those clickbait posts that begin “you won’t believe…”- and sure enough you won’t believe you stumbled on such crap by the end of it. (Although that example was taken from this awesome post of clickbait titles for classics)

clickbait books

And that’s it! Now I’d have also included kid’s books on this list- but we all know how existential books like Goodnight Moon can get… But as long as you can resist the urge to read too much into them, you should be safe…

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So what do you like to read after something heavy? Let me know in the comments!

Most Pretentious Novel Plan Imaginable

Well hello again- as you can probably tell from my post the other day, I’ve been thinking a lot about pretentious books lately, and wondering what exactly drives a person to write one of these “I really, really want a Pulitzer” atrocities. And since it’s been a while since I made one of my novel plans, I figured I would get in the mindset of these literary crooks and write the Most Pretentious Novel Plan Imaginable!

*The Sitting Room*

(This doubles up as a wanky title and the place where all the non-action is about to go down)

dexter dalwood room

A group of middle class twats are all sitting around a sitting room waiting on the results of the trial of the century. Everyone is fidgety and on edge in such a way that gives away their chief characteristic:

The hostess, Ms Peters, is hovering around with the teapot, pressuring people into taking refills and sending silent messages with her eyes that they better not try to leave before she kicks them out- or so help her she will gossip about them all next time she goes to church!

The Vicar (who apparently lost all right to a name since becoming a member of the cloth) is leaning against the piano clearly trying to say “I can play more than just an organ!! For god sake, cheer me on as if it’s X Factor!!”

Mr Vanderwall is pretending to write something down, whilst itching the side of his nose and wondering if he can get away with a quick, sneaky pick- a look from his wife tells him he can’t.

Aforementioned Mrs Vanderwall (nee Lily Gatherer) is rolling a cigarette with one hand and lifting her skirt up with the other, in a way that says both how devil may care she is and how long it has been since she last had sex.

Mr Smarves is staring up said skirt.

Bill McBlanderson is just staring at the walls.

First plot point: a circular argument has just ensued between Mrs Vanderwall and Mr Smarves.

“But war is bad!”

“Yes, war is bad”

“But it’s bad”

“Yes, it is.”

“I said it’s bad!”

pg-tips-monkey-sustainability-v1Ok- this seems like enough plot for now- I think it’s time for a diversion: insert digression on tea for about ten pages (no, this post is not sponsored by PG tips, I swear). Mr Vanderwall- the writer character and therefore the hero- is drinking all the refills Mrs Jones offers because it makes him feel important and British. It also reminds him of the Cambodian Civil war, partly as he associates all tea with Asia (in a way that is inspired by post-colonial guilt, not racism) and partly because he’d just read the Killing Fields in the hope it would make good small talk, but realised now that this was not a good fashionable choice of book, because it was popular 30 years ago. He really should have gone into an indie book store and asked “what’s popular now and will make me sound smart if I read it”- that would teach him to go into second-hand…

*News broadcast cuts in* (fortunately interrupting this monologue)

Everyone gets nervous and excited- because finally something is happening in this damn plot:

Gloucester City Council finds Tony Blair guilty of littering… Dum dum dum!!

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*Chaos erupts!* Well, I say chaos- more like Bill McBlanderson falling off his chair, because Mrs Vanderwall batted Mr Smarves away as he went for a quick grope up her skirt, with a hiss of “not in public!”.

Annnd that’s it. The book ends in that nice anti-climactic fashion. Maybe with a random obtuse ending moralising that we are all “everything and nothing all at once”- ooh- sounds profound…

So will Tony Blair have to do community service for his crimes? Who know? I guess it’s just one of life’s unanswerable questions- since this is fiction and, like all pretentious books, there won’t be a sequel! Hope you enjoyed that!

A Less Than Thrilling Book Blurb

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In my effort to read more widely this year, I’ve started picking up a genre I rarely ventured into in the past: I have entered the rather dark and deadly world of thrillers. And while I have found some of these very entertaining, I find I am often rather put off by the blurbs. So I decided to put together an example made up of all the composite elements that I see so often on the shelves. Enjoy!

*Dramatic voice*

Jane Doe hasn’t been the same since the death of her BELOVED (but ultimately irrelevant) RELATIVE. Even though she has the perfect life, perfect husband, perfect home- her life is far from uncomplicated.

Something isn’t right. Everything around her is SUSPICIOUS- phone calls in the middle of the night, weird glances from her husband and even people following her that disappear whenever she looks round! Then, just when she thinks she might be going crazy, she sees something shocking that will change her life forever. *dun dun dun*

Now she has so many questions- like will she ever find out the truth? Or won’t she? Is she losing her mind? And most importantly, in the grand scheme of things, does it even matter?

GIRL- GOING SOMEWHERE…. is just like Gone Girl… sort of… I hope… (Whatever- it has “girl” in the title- so that means women have to like it- and so do men- otherwise you’re all sexist!!)

Still you should read it cos some girly magazine said it’s “SPECTACULAR” (well, “spectacularly bad”, but that’s almost the same) and BECAUSE I SAID SO!!!

*Disclaimer: you may, or may not, see the twist coming*

Okay- that was a little weird- hope you enjoyed that. Let me know if you’ll be reading Girl Going Somewhere… when it hits the shops- in, well, never! And see if you can guess the *crazy* twist!

 

The Worst YA Novel Plan – Ever! PART 3

And now for the grand finale… In case you didn’t catch the first and second parts, you can check them out here and here. But I don’t want to keep anyone in huge suspense- cos I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats after the very uneventful events of book 2 :p

Book 3: The One Where Everything Is Conveniently Resolved

No one will talk to Sally after the events of the last book. And she doesn’t understand why Bad Boy Bob didn’t kill her- he’s supposed to be evil- but she won’t think about that again for at least another hundred pages- just put that in now because *foreshadowing*.

Worst of all, Harry the Hottie broke up with her- which is so unfair. And totally unjustified. I mean, she only cheated on him and betrayed him. But that’s nothing, because he didn’t pay enough attention to her. It was totally his fault that the world nearly ended. She will get mad at him instead.

That totally works- because whinging and whining always works in real life. Once she bends his ear back to make him see reason, they get back together and everything’s hunky dory again. Until…

world ending

Ahhh the sun is crashing into the earth again!! Oh no- that means I. M. Evil’s been up to no good again, everyone else forgives her too because they *need* her help. So now everyone comes grovelling to her so that they can have a war.

soldiers fighting

*Jam in more action than the last two books combined*

Oh and as they’re going off to war, “Bad Boy” Bob reveals he was on her side *the whole time*, even the times when he wasn’t, cos you know, he loves her and stuff- so that’s a relief, she can go back to liking him. Oh no wait- that’s not so good- because now she doesn’t know which one to choose AGAIN!!

In the meantime, I. M. Evil has the idea that instead of doing evil-bad-guy stuff, he will toy with the main character- just for kicks. This means capturing, torturing and releasing various characters to annoy the sh*t out of Sally. It’s like an attention seeking thing- and it will totally make sense when he reveals his big master plan. Which he does, immediately after telling everyone why he’s such a great big meanie. He has daddy issues or something. So now Sally totally relates to him- but that won’t stop her kicking his butt in the last act!

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Because Sally was totally just using delay tactics to get this out of him. Now she can defeat him with her special snowflake superpower (you know, the one that was always designed to be the perfect contrast to his power). Yay, that’s convenient.

Just as they achieve this victory, Harry the Hottie conveniently dies. Also he gives Sally and Bob his blessing with his last breath.

harry death

All the mean people in the books decide to do whatever Sally suggests now she’s saved the world and they set up a nice, democratic government that will be free from corruption for all eternity. And all the minor characters pair off. Bad Boy Bob and Sally share a long awaited kiss. Aww.

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The End

So are you satisfied with the conclusion? Did Sally McEveryman end up with who you wanted? Was I. M. Evil sufficiently ghastly? Think this would make the worst YA novel ever? Let me know!

The Worst YA Novel Plan – Ever! PART 2

Well hello there, in case you didn’t catch my last post, I’m in the process of writing my very own *terrible* novel plan- cos it’s fun! You can read my draft for book 1 right here.

*Warning: take this seriously at your own peril!*

Book 2: The Angsty Pointless Bit In the Middle

Okay, so picking up from the last book (read my plan for that one here), Sally is trying to deal with the ABSOLUTELY-CATASTROPHIC events of the last book. Think something along the lines of dead puppies or something- basically I. M. Evil lived up to his name and did something, well, evil. Everyone is totally shocked that he would do something like that (clue is in the name people!)

*Insert a really long winded recap of book one here* Because books should never feel like there is limited space- just keep writing- we want this to be at least 100,000 words long…

tris cuts hairBeing the second book in a trilogy, not much happens. Obviously, Sally’s all grief stricken and stuff, so cue: cutting off hair to signal character development.

I. M. Evil does some mean stuff to some nice people. But who cares about that when she can’t stop thinking about Bad Boy Bob and how he may have lied about loving her. Oh and Harry the Hottie is not paying her enough attention- so that sucks. But Bad Boy Bob has been stalking her- so that’s good… I guess.

In the meantime, they join the rebels/forces that aren’t under I. M. Evil’s control. Harry the Hottie tells Sally to trust him- no he can’t just tell her what they’re up to, because *mysterious reasons*. But ughh how can Sally be expected to trust him when he’s been so distant and stuff? Instead, she will do the sensible thing, and sneaks off to meet Bad Boy Bob and steals a kiss- which is totally not wrong, because, you know, *reasons*. I mean, Harry the Hottie should’ve paid more attention- jeez!

Oh no- when she gets back people are dead. Whoops. Didn’t mean for that to happen. Obviously Bad Boy Bob betrayed her. Sally swears she will never see him again and doesn’t tell anyone the part she played in the disaster- I mean, she is still the hero and stuff- can’t have anyone losing morale or confidence in her.

tris looks in mirrorBut then bad stuff happens, Sally’s part is revealed anyway, and everyone’s mad at her. Damn it. Now no one likes her anymore and that sucks. Cue: long thoughtful gazes in the mirror to signal more character development/thoughtfulness.

Sally realises she will have to prove she is still the BIG HERO- so she dives head first into danger without thinking of the consequences and without telling anyone of course (that would mean she would have to share the glory). More bad stuff happens- because no one ever told her that never works out. Oh and she gets captured by I. M. Evil!!!

*Big show down where Bad Boy Bob SHOCKINGLY lets her go instead of killing her*

To be continued…

What do you think will happen next? Who do you think Sally will choose? And with the fate of the world in the balance- does it even matter?

The Worst YA Novel Plan – Ever! PART 1

Ever wondered how someone writes one of those dreadful YA books? You know- the kind that’s just full of all the worst tropes and clichés? So did I! To try and understand what possesses someone to commit such a heinous crime against literature, I’ve decided to put myself in the mindset of one of these criminals (*ahem, I mean “authors”*) and create my very own plan for the world’s worst YA novel- ever! And of course I’m going to overload it with all the terrible tropes from my least favourite YA tropes post. This should be fun… So let’s get started!

Book 1: Special Snowflakes and Insta-love Galore

bella swanMeet Sally McEveryman. There is absolutely nothing special about her. She is so plain, with her mousy brown hair and ordinary brown eyes. Her hobbies include doing laundry and reading books. No one could ever find her interesting or attractive, because, as I said, there’s nothing special about her… or will they?

chad michael murrayEnter Harry the Hottie. He’s an impossibly attractive male. He is just the bestest! He’s one of life’s good guys! Yay!! Obviously, he has an impossibly incredible secret, that he cannot possibly tell anyone about, because that would be bad- because, you know, reasons. But then his eyes meet Sally’s across the room and…. *INSTALOVE*!!! Ding ding ding! (Okay you get the idea, stars realign, the whole world stops, yada yada yada).

*Insert kissing montage here*

In between kissing, make sure you quote better works of fiction, so kissing seems deep and meaningful.

Oh and add *lots and lots of info-dumps* here, so now everyone is totally clued up on how the world works. No one will question any of it for the rest of the book- especially not the main character who is very understanding and accepting of all strange things. Cos that’s just how she rolls.

Suddenly Sally is thrown into a world of intrigue and danger. Because it turns out Sally is the Special Snowflake that was prophecised- who knew? What a relief, she is special after all. HALLELUJAH! Everybody do a happy dance. Okay, now she must train to save the world from the terrible *threat*

*Insert training montage here*

But oh no, just as she is trying to concentrate on the two most pressing issues in her life (the end of the world and her new boyfriend- squeal!) she meets someone who will change her perception on everything: Bad Boy Bob. Now Bad Boy Bob is not your run of the mill hero- no he’s a sarcastic, leather jacket wearing rogue. And he doesn’t agree with the Powers That Be with how they’re running things. He also doesn’t think Sally is such a Special Snowflake at all. And some generic blond mean girls agree with him. Cue: crying, lots and lots of anxious crying.

bad_boy_by_g_rape_fruit-d5y3me3Sally desperately wants to hate Bad Boy Bob, but the only issue is there is some *insane* chemistry between them (emphasis on the insane). What’s a girl to do? Treat him like a leper and ignore him or desperately try to prove herself to him and all the generic blond mean girls? You guessed it- she tries to prove herself.

The Real Look of Lord Voldemort from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"And guess what? She manages to prove that she is the most saviour-y of the saviours. She is the Chosen One! Cue everyone’s amazing gratitude as she saves some tiny children from a burning building. Still, this won’t solve her problems- because there’s an evil villain prowling about called I-Am-The-Evil-Dark-One-Cower-In-Fear-But-Don’t-Judge-Me-It’s-Not-My-Fault-I-Have-A-Stupid-Name (I. M. Evil for short) who wants to ruin everything! Oh no!

But worse than that- Bad Boy Bob seems more appealing than ever AND he seems to be interested in her after all the saving the children thing. Which is not good- because all she wants is to be happy with Harry the Hottie- but Bad Boy Bob is incredibly distracting and sooo cute. She thinks she might love both of them. Also, destiny is telling her that one of them is her soulmate!!

*Cue angst*

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Who will she choose?? Okay, the world is coming to an end (because, you know, reasons) but that’s not the most important thing happening here- seriously, we shouldn’t be concerned with the fact the sun’s gonna *literally* crash into the earth or something, nope, what we should really worry about is how this lovestruck teenager will choose between two perfectly decent guys.

I. M. Evil does some evil sh*t and kidnaps her parents or something (yes she has parents- they didn’t turn up earlier because they weren’t relevant to the plot- but turns out they knew she was the saviour all along, they just wanted to protect her from her *destiny*- keep up people). Now she has to choose between her family and the world. She can’t decide. Daddy dies. Cue: heartbreak and despair. Oh and Bad Boy Bob turns out to be her sworn enemy. So cue: double heartbreak. *Sally runs off with Harry the Hottie*

That’s basically the plot for book 1. Tune in next time to see what happens with Sally and co.

A Critical Review of Kipper’s Book of Weather

*Warning! Satire! Don’t read if you’re easily offended!*

(Although, if you’re offended by a satirical reading of Kipper’s Book of Weather, then there really is no hope for you!)

kipper's book of weatherWell, isn’t this just the book that keeps on giving? With one word on each page, it is the height of minimalist style (Stephen King would be proud). Full of illusory and non-illusory techniques, the use of pathetic fallacy foreshadows the inevitable happiness Kipper feels when the weather stops being so schizophrenic. Of course, this dichotomy between unpleasant and pleasant weather appeals to me because I’m a Brit- and everyone knows we love talking about the weather.

Perfect for adults and children alike, this book is open to so much analysis! For instance, in a Marxist reading, Kipper represents the proletariat willing to go out in all kinds of weather and do the work the bourgeois are unwilling to do. From a Freudian perspective, on the other hand, the weather is representative of a dreamscape- which is symbolic of Kipper’s Oedipal obsession with his mother, who is missing from the story, because this is an anti-feminist work that excludes women- because PATRIARCHY (see how I squeezed in a feminist reading there? No, this is not a tenuous link- it totally works). Obviously there are also some signs of oppression here in this highly post-colonial work that I’ve missed because I do not understand The Struggle.

And…. that is all I have to say. What? Did you expect an essay? There are only about 5 words in this book! But if you have anything to add feel free to let me know in the comments! (Or, you know, you could just talk about how I’ve completely lost my mind- that works too)