Sunday, September 27, 2015

Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington

I became interested in Grace probably the same way most people did - by watching The September Issue documentary from 2009. I mostly watched it because 1) it was Vogue and 2) Anna. Grace was a pleasant surprise.


I listened to the audiobook from and Grace herself read it. She has a lovely British voice and it ended up seeming like I was just listening to someone tell stories. Fashionable stories, true. Name dropping stories, double true. But stories from her long life about the people and jobs that she has loved.

Grace started off in London as a model and, after a car accident, went on to work at British Vogue and eventually became the fashion editor. There was some disappointment, for me, because as much as I like reading and flipping through fashion magazines (although you'd never tell by looking at me), I have no idea what the jobs are there. And I still don't. Grace is light on the details of the mundane and heavy on the designers and FASHION. Also, her cats.

She's brash, she speaks her mind and always has an opinion. This was an entertaining listen, even if it's a half-listen while you are doing other things.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Far Beyond The Pale by Daren Dean

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'll start off by saying my only real complaint probably has nothing to do with the book. I got an .epub version and converted it to .mobi. I'm not sure the conversion went well, as full sentences were "re-created" in other areas which really through off my reading rhythm. I think with some editing and more proofreading, this would be good to go, if it wasn't my conversion.

I don't normally read the inside covers (or summaries, in the case of e-books) before I read. I like to be surprised. Far Beyond the Pale is about a boy named Honey Boy (aka Nathan) who is dragged all around by his fairly pathetic mother before ending up back in their home town in Missouri. Honey Boy's mom is one of the can't-keep-a-job, shacks-up-with-women-beating-idiots type of person, who often just up and leaves Honey Boy at Aunt Oleta's when she either needs a break, is feeling frisky or is outrunning the law. Or all of the above.

In the town of Fairmont, we're introduced to the local color. The colors are red(neck) and white(trash) and there really isn't a redeemable character among them. Roy, at the gas station, is fairly decent to Honey Boy, especially in the midst of the upheaval and drama his mama created, but even then, Roy is terrified of the local moron/trash/"tough outlaw" Vaughn, so Roy doesn't do a lot of standing up.

Honey Boy is just a confused thirteen year old boy, no dad, no prospects and no good role models. He goes on vandalizing sprees with Vaughn, steals with Vaughn and almost seems to look up to this lout. Honestly, the story just made me angry.

While my town isn't quite like this, it's close. People of my town could watch Gummo and could recognize it. They could read this novel as well and recognize the characters on the street. Which is exactly why I believe this made me angry. While some things shake out in the end, reading Honey Boy's inner torment as he tries to be good while being around so much evil, trying to love a mother who just isn't there, and trying to not care about the man who is his dad (oh yes, that's revealed) is just heartbreaking.