Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Man Who Forgot His Wife by John O’Farrell

The Man Who Forgot His Wife by John O’Farrell

If you liked the light-hearted, funny yet poignant writing style of David Nicholls’ ‘One Day’, then you are sure to like Farrell’s witty yet emotional journey of ‘The Man Who Forgot His Wife’.

One day, Jack Vaughan suffers a psychogenic fugue; all his personal memories have been wiped, apparently due to ‘stress’. As it turns out, Jack is in the middle of divorcing his wife, a wife he has no knowledge of even having! He sets about trying to work out what went so wrong in his marriage, and blindly wondering if he can salvage his old life.

‘Hang on, you haven’t explained anything… Where are we? Who is that beautiful woman?’
‘That, Vaughan, was the house you lived in for twenty years, and that was Madeline. That was the woman you’re about to divorce.’

This was a very funny and entertaining read. Not ground-breaking by any means, but definitely worth reading on your day off. 
It’s one of those interesting concepts everyone likes to ponder on occasion. What if you did forget your wife, your children and your life completely? What if you met the woman you were in the middle of divorcing only to fall in love all over again?

The story is brutally honest, and doesn’t sugarcoat love and marriage by any means, but it’s engrossing, sometimes laugh-out-loud, and definitely a book I would recommend for someone looking for a ‘holiday read’. 

Love From

Original Book Girl

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The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen

The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen

This is a fairly short but utterly engrossing read.

The Vanishing Act is narrated by 13 year-old Minou, as she tells us the story of how her mother disappeared from the deserted island that they live on, a year previously. It is both magical and tender as we join Minou in her search for the truth.

‘Suddenly it was the loneliest night, and it was Mama’s voice, and it was the saddest song I had ever heard. It sounded as if she was singing from the depths of the frozen sea. My breath was not my own and everything felt wrong.’

Much like ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’, this story is told in a very simple childlike format, which makes you feel all the more for the young naive Minou. She and her father live on the island, and the only other two people also on the island are ‘Priest’ and ‘Boxman’ the magician, and a dog called ‘No Name’. While she is adamant that her mother is still alive and has simply run away, the others on the island are certain she has been drowned at sea. Minou decides to use her logic and compile as many facts as she can to prove her mother is still alive.

‘It is in the heart and not in the words – not even in the most beautiful ones – but in the heart, in the skeleton bird pushing against your chest, wanting to fly, that we know for certain who and what we love. That is all we have, and all there is.’ 

The characters are wonderfully written, and at the same time, both lots and very little happens in the duration of the story.  It is a real gem of a novel. Short, intriguing and ultimately heartbreaking, you will be glad you took a moment to read it. 

It is classified as adult fiction, but I would say it’s very much a crossover book. There’s nothing inappropriate for a younger reader, so I’d suggest it’s suitable for age 13+

Love From

Original Book Girl

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Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up is a book I had been eager to read long before its publication date. Written by Daniel Handler (otherwise known as Lemony Snicket, well known for his fantastic ‘Unfortunate Events’ books), and being discussed as a new alternative for fans of John Green, I decided that this was a story I was not going to miss.

Why We Broke Up – Illustrations by Maira Kalman

What first caught my eye – the fantastic illustrations by Maira Kalman. It’s so rare to find an illustrated teenage/young adult book these days, and in this case, it really gave that little something extra to the story. They were wonderful, touching, and felt very personal.

‘When I look at this ripped in half, I think of the travesty of what you did and the travesty of how I didn’t care at the time.’

The story could be described simply as just one long letter. Min is writing to her ex-boyfriend Ed explaining why they broke up, delving back in to their past to discover what really happened. There are sections where Min loses her train of thought, becomes a little rambling and goes off on a tangent, but that’s partly what makes this story so wonderfully realistic.

‘This is what I stole. Here’s it back. I thought, my goddamn ex-love, that it was cute that you carried this around to help you map out your thinking. Cute in your pocket all the time. I’m not a cuckoo, either. I’m a fool is what.’

The concept, and the story in fact, is straightforward and simple. It is this simplicity and normality that makes this book what it is: oh so relatable. Handler writes Min in such a way, that she could be relatable to anyone, male or female, young or old. Her highs are your highs, her optimism is your optimism, her faults are your faults. Thy hit the nail on the head when they wrote on the back cover “Min and Ed’s story of heartbreak may remind you of your own”, it will indeed.

‘I’m telling you why we broke up, Ed. I’m writing this letter, the whole truth of why it happened. And the truth is that I goddamn loved you so much.’

Why We Broke Up – Illustrations by Maira Kalman

Despite having a nice proof copy of this book, I went out and bought myself a lovely hardback version. Those illustrations are worth it, and the story too. Plus, it looks great on the bookshelf! 🙂

Suitable for age 14+

Love From 

Original Book Girl

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