Saturday, July 31, 2021

Woman of a Certain Rage by Georgie Hall

Hardback:  436 pages                                                                                                
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Head of Zeus, July 2021
Source: LoveReading Consumer Reader Review Panel Member
First Sentences: Our dog Arty died a fortnight ago. She was sixteen, which is over ninety in dog years, the young vet told us kindly when he came to put her down.
Review Quote: 'Beautifully written and smart as a whip, this is a funny and truthful novel about love and life past the big five-0. Hall has created a character that mid life readers can not only root for but identify with too' Mike Gayle.

My Opinion:  'Woman of a Certain Age' is the debut novel of Fiona Walker's alter ego Georgie Hall. As Fiona she writes multi character comedies, to my surprise I have only read one and that was in 1994, 'French Relations', her first published novel. Maybe I should rectify this! 

Writing as Georgie she has produced a witty portrayal of the menopause, motherhood and marriage. The moral of this delightful read, set in the beautiful countryside surrounding Stratford upon Avon, is to make sure you shake your life up and don't on any account let the menopause drag you down. 

Although we may not all experience such menopausal adventures as the protagonist Eliza, many readers will certainly identify with the real life scenarios, the marital ups and downs, teenage angst, autism and the death of a much loved family pet.

Some women suffer badly during the menopause, but many others don't, so if you read this and you are pre-menopausal just don't assume Eliza is the norm! Remember this is a comic romp and should not be taken too seriously. Recommended if you want a funny, mainly authentic and fairly light hearted read.  

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

A smart and funny novel about love, life, and a second shot at freedom for rebellious women of a certain age.

Eliza is angry. Very angry, and very, very hot.

Late for work and dodging traffic, Eliza's still reeling from the latest row with her husband Paddy. Twenty-something years ago their eyes met over the class divide in oh-so-cool Britpop London, but these days their eyes only meet to bicker over the three-seat sofa.

Paddy seems content filling his downtime with canal boats and cricket, but Eliza craves the freedom and excitement of her youth. Being fifty feels far too close to pensionable, their three teenage children are growing up fast, and even the dog has upped and died. Something is going to have to change—menopause be damned!

Woman of a Certain Rage is a smart and funny novel for all the women who won't be told it's too late to shake things up, and Eliza is a heroine many will recognise. She may sweat a lot and need a wee all the time, but she has something to prove.

Publicity Video Woman of a Certain Age

Author Profile

I came across this photo on a Blog Post by Fiona Walker which is worth a read


Fiona Walker/Georgie Hall is the author of eighteen novels, from tales of flat-shares and clubbing in nineties London to today’s romping, rural romances set amid shires, spires and stiles.  In a career spanning over two decades, she’s grown up alongside her readers, never losing her wickedly well-observed take on life, lust and the British in love.

Fiona lives in Warwickshire, sharing a slice of Shakespeare Country with her partner Sam, their two daughters and a menagerie of animals.

Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Author's Official Website   Twitter : Georgie Hall   Twitter : Fiona Walker   Instagram Georgie Hall

Facebook Profile - Georgie Hall   Amazon - Georgie Hall     Goodreads Profile

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Should We Stay or Should We Go by Lionel Shriver


Paperback:  266 pages                                                                            

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher:  June 2021, Borough Press, imprint of Harper Collins

Source: With thanks to  LoveReading UK for providing a copy in return for an unbiased review.

First Sentence: "Was I supposed to cry?"

Review Quote: ‘Shriver said that her favourite novels are those that pack both an intellectual and emotional punch. With Should We Stay or Should We Go, she’s added triumphantly to their number’ The Times

Setting: Lambeth area of London, England.

My Opinion: ‘With Should We Stay or Should We Go’, a title that has me humming The Clash song ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’, Lionel Shriver has produced a thought provoking and intelligently written novel about a dilemma of the current times.  The topic of ageing and how Kay and Cyril Wilkinson, both medical professionals decide how they will cope is the basis of the novel.

Having decided in 1991 whilst in their fifties, the couple planned to enter a suicide pact together when they reached eighty.  Exactly how this pans out for them makes for a sometimes disturbing read, but also with humour along the way.

Social criticism at its best, with Covid19, Brexit, Migration, Suicide Pacts and Human Longevity all covered in the twelve different scenarios that the author presents to us.

In conclusion this novel is at times a horrendous insight into the pitfalls of old age, if you are no longer fit and healthy with all your faculties.  Light and dark a read that will both entertain and provoke, highly recommended.

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

When her father dies, Kay Wilkinson can’t cry. Over ten years, Alzheimer’s had steadily eroded this erudite man into a paranoid lunatic. Surely one’s own father passing should never come as such a relief.

Both medical professionals, Kay and her husband Cyril have seen too many elderly patients in similar states of decay. Although healthy and vital in their early fifties, the couple fears what may lie ahead. Determined to die with dignity, Cyril makes a modest proposal. To spare themselves and their loved ones such a humiliating and protracted decline, they should agree to commit suicide together once they’ve both turned eighty. When their deal is sealed, the spouses are blithely looking forward to another three decades together.

But then they turn eighty.

By turns hilarious and touching, playful and grave, Should We Stay or Should We Go portrays twelve parallel universes, each exploring a possible future for Kay and Cyril. Were they to cut life artificially short, what would they miss out on? Something terrific? Or something terrible? Might they end up in a home? A fabulous luxury retirement village, or a Cuckoo’s Nest sort of home? Might being demented end up being rather fun? What future for humanity awaits—the end of civilization, or a Valhalla of peace and prosperity? What if cryogenics were really to work? What if scientists finally cure aging?

Both timely and timeless, Lionel Shriver addresses serious themes—the compromises of longevity, the challenge of living a long life and still going out in style—with an uncannily light touch. Weaving in a host of contemporary issues, from Brexit and mass migration to the coronavirus, Shriver has pulled off a rollicking page-turner in which we never have to mourn perished characters, because they’ll be alive and kicking in the very next chapter.

Author Profile:


Lionel Shriver (born Margaret Ann Shriver; May 18, 1957) is an American author and journalist who lives in the United Kingdom. Her novels include the New York Times bestseller The Post-Birthday World and the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin, which won the 2005 Orange Prize and has now sold over a million copies worldwide. Other books include Double Fault, A Perfectly Good Family, and So Much for That. Lionel’s novels have been translated into twenty-five different languages and. Her journalism has appeared in the Guardian, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.

Photograph and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.