Tag Archives: Reviews

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce.


I rather enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, so I was interested to read the companion book, from the perspective of the woman Harold was walking to. Queenie is in the last stages of her life and uses her ‘waiting time’ to write a letter to Harold, as she is no longer able to speak. Some of it is a little surreal and morphine-addled, lending veracity to her narrative. Colour is provided by the other residents of the hospice, but it’s heartbreaking as they inevitably die.

“If only memory were a library with everything stored where it should be. If only you could walk to the desk and say to the assistant, I’d like to return the painful memories about … and take out some happier ones, please”

The story of her time with Harold is moving – an absolute classic of unrequited love. Though Queenie has a secret, and she must keep writing until she gets to it. The thing I enjoyed most in the novel was the vivid description of her sea garden: a monument to her life in driftwood and shells.

The ending took me by surprise – something I hugely admire in a novel. I highly recommend it.

Have you read it? What did you think?

The idea of a novel taking place during another novel, but from a different perspective, was very interesting. The parallel story enhances the first. Are there any other novelists that have done this? I’d love to know.


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The Great Gatsby – The Film

Every time Leonardo DiCaprio dies I cry. Romeo, Gatsby, ill-fated liner passenger: he makes me care very deeply about who he’s pretending to be. The triumph of this film was his performance, though there was some glittery frippery to sift through in order to see it. There was a great deal of eye-rolling in the cinema every time a Jay-Z song with rather too on-the-nose lyrics stormed into The Great Gatsbythe scene. I rather like the idea of contemporary music to evoke the freshness of the Jazz Age, I just feel in the execution it could have drawn less attention to itself.

Generally, the glamour seemed false, the extreme close ups staged and the Nick Carraway back story wholly unnecessary. However, I rather loved it by the end. The poignancy of the story was preserved, on the whole it was well acted and a great deal of the voice over was taken directly from the text, so I loved that already. Essentially, nothing matters more than the eponymous hero and Gatsby was near perfection.

Here is my review of the book. It is one of my favourites and I urge you all to read it.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

If you enjoyed this review, please do like and share, old sport.

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I love words in all their forms, not just when they are written on pages; I’m rather a fan of them being said out loud. So, for a change from book reviews, here are a few of my favourite podcasts.  

I Like You – JP and Elah discuss relationships, love and a huge range of related issues. The hosts are very natural, genuine and funny. Sometimes it’s just the two of them, but often they have really fascinating guests and contributions from their families, friends and experts. One of my favourite episodes was ‘Letters to my ex’ where people shared their personal epistles, both sent and unsent, to their ex-partners. It was touching and sad and hopeful and wonderful. Massive variety is one of their greatest assets- as well as the great emotional pieces, there is an episode where they attempt to match-make through smell. Genius.

Getting Better Acquainted – This is another fantastic personal podcast. Lovely Dave chats to people that he knows in an attempt to get to know them better. He has a remarkable range of interesting acquaintances (including JP and Elah from I Like You). The chats feel mostly unstructured with a few essential questions asked to each guest. Dave is a warm and engaging host. Also, the theme song is charming and now pops into my head every time I am chatting to someone new – I want to get betterlet me get better acquainted with you!

Answer Me This! – I have listened to this brilliant comedy podcast by Helen and Olly (and Martin the Soundman) pretty much since its inception and I’ll never tire of it. Listeners contact them with questions on all sorts of topics and they respond hilariously. The rapport they’ve built with listeners is really impressive; they are sent everything from etymological minutiae to the most intimate dilemmas to broadcast. With the laughs, they also provide considered and honest responses to the queries. Jingles by their talented comedy friends pleasingly punctuate each episode.

Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown – This is like the funniest sitcom-panel show ever, but for your ears. Fantastic comedians compete to not do domestic tasks. The rounds are incredibly imaginative. The songs are magnificent (listen to the Christmas episode- their ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ is hysterically funny- round my Christmas tree we were all singing …Dame Thora Hird… and a part in godfather part three! ) The wordplay is unrivalled. When I got seriously ill last year and couldn’t sleep for the pain, this is what got me through! Laughter is the best medicine (except perhaps morphine…) and this podcast makes me laugh more than anything.

Podcasting is a really wonderful medium. The fact that they are free and not too prohibitively tricky to make and upload means it’s a really democratic field of broadcasting. I also love the interconnectedness of it- Pappy’s have recorded jingles for Answer Me This! Helen, Olly and Martin have appeared on GBA, as have JP and Elah, and Dave has been a guest on I Like You. I love that there’s this fun, inter-linked community of talented people all providing free content for our enjoyment! Thank you, brilliant podcasters! 


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