Stacey Dooley : Women Who Fight Back

A commentary

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a big fan of Stacey Dooley. I have a LOT of respect for her, and know that I couldn’t do even a quarter of what she has done.

She’s not perfect, and I think she’d be the first person to admit that. She makes mistakes sometimes, but then, so do we all. I think sometimes, that she is judged a little too harshly by some people, bearing in mind their own track record!

Some people say that she’s just a ‘chav that got lucky’, but I think this is complete, ignorant, rubbish. The truth is that she had a humble upbringing, and that she was offered an opportunity, which she grabbed with both hands, and let’s face it, wouldn’t we all do the same, given half the chance?!

Stacey gets an awful lot of flack online from trolls and random haters. People criticise her for being young and ignorant. One politician, recently snidely likened her to a ‘white saviour’ when she shared a photo of herself with a young child of African decent, on one of her documentary shoots.

I often wonder where these people get their half baked views, and would be interested to see if, given the same opportune ity, they would take it in the brave way that Stacey does, and no matter what you think of her, we cannot deny her bravery for going to often ravaged, dangerous and possibly war torn countries.

I bought her book several months ago, and while I was excited to read it, I thought that it would be just the usual type of celeb autobiography. It wasn’t. It was far more than that.

Instead of focusing on telling us her entire life story, we see a far less self-centred approach in this book. Here we see snippets from the lives of the people that Stacey has met and interviewed over the years. We are given an intimate look into her feelings and thoughts, that perhaps, there wasn’t time to show on screen.

The book is split into sections, with each one focusing on the lives of seemingly ordinary people, caught up in terrible, and extraordinary circumstances.

In each one, we see the incredible strength of the women (because it is generally women involved in these documentaries). Stacey takes us all over the world, from Columbia, to Iraq, to Japan, showing us a small snippet of what it is like for these women.

Her honesty and compassion is clear to see, and the way that she can empathise with these people, even being moved to tears by some of the horrific stories, just shows her strength and ability as a documentarist.

This book is fast paced, and as a reader we are led from one situation to another. It is not an easy read. In fact, there were several times, when it got to be too much for me, and I had to stop reading for a while.

In conclusion, though, I feel that this book is an incredibly important one, and one that everyone should read. There were some people in this book, that I had never heard of before. For example, the Yazidi women. If you don’t know of them, then please google. I honestly couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard anything about them on the news!

This book is one of the best, and most harrowing books that I have read this year, and I have no hesitation in recommending that you read it too.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

The Bachelors

by Muriel Spark

A Review

One of the books that I have read since joining the book club is this one. The Bachelors by Muriel Spark. I have been meaning to write this review for a while, but I was trying to give myself a little distance so that I could give a fair review.

However, I think, at this point, the only fair thing is to give people prior warning about how bad this book is. I mean, I have tried and tried to come up with something anything good to say about it, but when it comes down to it, I just can’t.

I actually read the book in two days. Two. Torturous. Days. I just knew, once I started it, that I wouldn’t pick it back up, if I did put it down.

There are so many things that I could say about this book, and none of them are good. I think the closest I could get to a positive comment, is to say that it most definitely provokes discussion and debate.

This book falls under the banner of ‘literary fiction’. Now, I know I may be alone in this, but from the ‘literary fiction’ that I have read, I would consider it to have at the very least, an element of pretentiousness.

The Bachelors scrapes the very bottom of the literary fiction barrel, in my opinion.

The definition of literary fiction is that it is a story, which is character based, and character led, as opposed to genre fiction, which is largely plot based.

The issue with this, regards The Bachelors, is that there are no characters; not one, in the entire novel, which is redeemable. There was not one that I felt that I could get behind, or root for.

The writing was not just poor, but quite frankly, dreadful. The author kept changing point of view character, without any kind of notification to the reader. Continuity was a problem, as were the accuracy of the court scenes in particular.

The storyline was not only far fetched, but at parts, simply, ludicrous. The idea of the ‘bad guy’, who spent the entire novel plotting the death of his pregnant girlfriend, suddenly being found guilty of the crime of fraud, and being imprisoned, leaving said girlfriend, miraculously saved, was ridiculous; a completely unsatisfying ending, which left me, as a reader, thinking “What? Is this it?!”

I know that there has been a lot of critical acclaim for this book, but I really fail to see how this is possible. The book was simply put, dreadful. I consider the two days spent reading it, as two days that I can never get back, and the only thing I can take from it, is that at least I know to never read anything by Muriel Spark again. Ever.

If you do decide that you want to try it for yourself (though I really urge you not to), you can purchase the kindle edition here.


I’ll update you when I get into the month a bit further.


If you want weekly updates from me, please click here 🙂


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Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Fiction

Fiction

And why it isn’t pointless..

Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Recently, I was reliably informed by someone who will remain nameless, that they didn’t read fiction; that it had absolutely no point, and that it would not add anything to their life.

Their claim was that there are plenty of factual books out there, and that there was no need for fiction.

As a writer, I took this comment particularly personally. To the person that said it, it was probably nothing more than a throwaway comment, but it wasn’t for me. For me, it felt like, and indeed, it was, someone cutting down my first love.

The thing is that fiction and storytelling in general, have an incredibly important point to them. They allow us to convey things to some people, who might never read a non-fiction, or reference book about the subject.

Reading is so important, and fiction encourages this in a way the no non-fiction book can. Truthfully, it is far easier to get lost in a story than it is to get lost in the pages of information shown in a non fiction book.

This is not to say that I don’t see the value in non fiction, because I certainly do. I read both types of writing, and enjoy them both in different ways, and to varying degrees, but when it comes down to it, on a sunny afternoon, if I am to sit in the garden with a book, it is more likely to be a copy of a Harry Potter novel, than it is to be a book about productivity and sales management.

That’s the thing with fiction. It is, without a doubt, the most basic, and fundamental source of magic that there is, and if you haven’t managed to open a book, and look up five hours later, when it’s three o clock in the morning, then you simply haven’t worked out how to harness this magic.

As a writer, I am privileged enough to be able to wield this magic; to bend and shape it into a story, and this is what I truly love.

I imagine children at bedtime, asking their parents for just one more story. I imagine them slipping from their beds, right inside the story, until it is so real to them that they could reach out and touch the characters.

I think this is what adults have lost over their years on this earth. They lose the ability to see the magic in stories, and this is something that needs to be regained before they can even begin to see and appreciate the value and point of fiction.

So, I guess what I am saying, is that I pity the person that told me that fiction is pointless, because they are closing themselves off from whole other worlds, which would be open to them, if only they were to open a book, and read a story.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Vigilante By Shelley Harris

Vigilante By Shelley Harris

A Review

At the start of this year, my friend started a book club. Our first book choice was “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman, which I loved and have already reviewed. You can find that here:

The second book selection was the subject of this review. I only wish that my reaction to this book was the same as that of the first one.

I truly hated this book. The story was weak. The characters were weak. The entire premise was more than a little ridiculous.

Before I go any further, I will issue a spoiler alert, although I hardly think I will be spoiling anything about this book, seeing as there is practically nothing about it to spoil.

We begin the book with a disappointed and discontented housewife, tidying up after her careless husband and teenaged daughter. I am not going to do more here than say that I don’t like tidying and chores when I am the one doing them. I like them even less when I’m reading about someone else doing them. I can think of nothing more boring.

We then are introduced to her husband’s superhero comic book that he’s drawing. Enter the green eyed monster. The main character becomes jealous (of a fictional character), and sets about designing her own super hero costume for a fancy dress party that they are invited to.

The costume in itself, is ridiculous. I don’t know of any super hero that would wear fishnet stockings, and red high heels. Regardless, the costume was finished, and while on the way to the party, the main character intercepts a mugging.

From here, ensues a series of “Should I?” and “I really shouldn’t” moments, where the mc can’t quite make up her mind what she wants to do, which left me (the reader) wanting to simultaneously strangle her and kick her up the proverbial behind! I mean, seriously, a young girl is discovered missing, presumed kidnapped, and rather than calling the police, this woman agonises about whether she’s going to put on the costume and go to look for her or not.

The entire thing was, to coin the phrase of two members of the book club, “pretentious crap”. There was an emphasis put on women in stereotypical roles. The downtrodden housewife, living a double life. The butch lesbian police officer. The closeted lesbian teenager. All in all, it was simply too much politics, and not enough story or premise.

The language was flowery, and just way too much. The author even had the bare faced cheek to use the phrase “I won’t mince words” after a particularly lengthy passage of text, where the salient points could have been conveyed in half the words.

There was, however, one thing (and just the one, mind you) that I took from this book and that I found valuable. This was the technique shown the main character when she attended a self defence class, and was taught that if she was attacked, then one of the weakest points on an assailant is the little finger, which, when grabbed and pulled back, will make them let go.

This is something that, almost two months after reading the book, has stayed with me, and that I can say is very valuable.

Overall, though, I do not recommend this book, unless your main goal for reading it is to make yourself lose the will to live… multiple times. I’m serious!

If you’ve read it, what do you think about it? Do you disagree with me? I’d love to hear your views.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Neverwhere By Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere By Neil Gaiman

A Review

I am ashamed to say that until this year, I had never read a Neil Gaiman book. It wasn’t through choice, particularly. I simply made the (foolish) assumption that his books were more towards the horror end of the novel spectrum, and I’m too much of a wuss to read horror.

Anyway, in December 2018, my friend started a book club, and the book chosen, off the back of several recommendations, was Neverwhere. I bought a copy of the book in hardback format, and got the illustrated version because… Chris Riddell… need I say more… 🙂

And so I began. The story got moving almost instantly, and after a more than momentary urge to punch Jessica in the face, I was happy to see Door appear. Her arrival on the scene was the true signal of the start of the story, and once meeting her, there was no going back.

I tried to limit myself to only reading a chapter a day, because I didn’t want it to be over too quickly, but on more than one occasion, I found myself reading two or three chapters.

The plot is amazingly simple and complex all at the same time, with the characters pulled along on a journey, which changes them completely; particularly Richard, who turns from doormat to hero in the course of the book.

The characters are all incredibly believable. Even Croup and Vandemar, who, let’s face it, are despicable human beings. I found that when I was reading, they were not words on a page, but hitmen who were lurking around every corner, and when the Door and her party happened across them, I, too, jumped as they did.

I have always been fascinated with the idea of cities being built above cities, and this idea immediately appealed to me, but Gaiman’s approach to this, where place names became literal, and where people from one place, be it ‘above’ or ‘below’ could not actually exist in the other, was a completely different concept, which gripped me straight away.

I loved the fact that Richard, having gone back to his old life, finds that he is no longer satisfied, and that he must find a way back to London Below (after telling Jessica exactly where to go, of course!) That was worth the worry that he was just going to go back to his old life, which for me would have been an altogether, far more disappointing ending.

In all, I found the world, locations, and characters absolutely believable, and whenever I opened the pages, found myself being transported to the world of the characters, which is what I look for in a book.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in dark fantasy, and a good bit of escapism. I loved it, and am looking forward to diving into Gaiman’s other works.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.