Review: The Yellow Wallpaper & Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 

IMAG2023**** (4.5 stars)

I bought this book of short stories from Amazon, for the soul purpose of reading The Yellow Wallpaper and I am so glad that I did. The Yellow Wallpaper is a title that Charlotte Perkins Gilmans may be best known for today, as this is actually a semi-autobiographical short story, which she wrote after suffering from a severe bout of post-partum depression and using this as inspiration. I hate to admit this, but the first place I had heard about this story was from Pretty Little Liars and how the mental health aspect could be a hint to who A could be. Please don’t judge. But I recently saw this book on a book on a Book Haul or a Book Wrap up YouTube video and it reminded me of it, plus it sounded really good. So Amazon I went.

The copy that I have purchased is the Dover Thrift Edition, which contains seven short stories in total, including The Yellow Wallpaper, all wrapped up in 70 pages. So this was a perfect addition to my week Book-A-Thon. I would love to give each of these short stories a little individual review of their own, so that’s what I’m going to try and do, so lets see how this goes. There may contains some spoilers sorry 🙂

The first short story was, of course, The Yellow Wallpaper. This story begins with a husband, a wife and their new born baby moving into this newly rented house, with the soul intention of helping the mother (wife) overcome her depression/post partum depression that that has recently set in. It is believed by her husband, who is also a doctor, that by getting away from friends and family, getting some fresh air, no working, exercises, and staying in this house, will help with her “temporary nervous depression“. What I loved about this story was how it was built up and created and even though it was just a 15 page story, it was executed perfectly. You get to see how everything her husband and doctor thought was going to be good for her and make her better, was actually the worse thing for her and was the thing that made her worse. That even when she tried to discuss certain aspects, he would not listen to her and talk about it, or do something as simple as change rooms. This story was written from a first-person perspective, which just made this story that much better because it’s exactly how it should be written and expressed. How else do you express and portray depression, or post partum depression, than through your own words, thoughts and feelings? It’s just done so perfectly and I’m so glad and happy that I’ve finally read this story.

The next story in this book I read was, Three Thanksgivings. This story took me a while too get into, if I’m being honest, which is a strange thing to say when talking about a short story that’s only 11 pages, but by the time I got to the end of this tale, I had a big smile on my face. What I liked about this story is what you can do when you put your mind to it, that you don’t need a man and that you are never too old. Now that might sound vague, but I feel like I gave away too much with The Yellow Wallpaper, so now I need to hold back on the spoilers.

Following this story came The Cottagette. To me, while reading this story, the beginning started of somewhat like a fairytale. You get this couple, Malda and Ford, whom you believe are in love, purchasing this “Cottagette” out in the woods, named so because of its size, which has just one big room and two small rooms coming off of it. Its pretty simple, and just about had a bathroom with working pipes in it, but it was perfect for them and suited their needs. Malda is then told, as if by society, that if she wants Ford to love her and marry her, that she needs to change and become more domestic, as this is what every man wants. Wanting to keep Ford and make him love her more, Malda changed the house to fit a new kitchen area and changed herself, becoming more domesticated, believing this is what was right, as this is what society was telling her. Was society right? Is that what Ford really wanted? Did he want a more domesticated Malda or did he want the Malda he first fell in love with?

The next story I read was Turned. This was a story that had me gripped again and had me reading every word right up until the end, waiting to find out everything that was going to happen. This story can get you thinking about certain things, how little can be thought of women, of a child, of a wife, but then it can also make you realise how strong you can become. How you can take something so negative and unexpected and turn it around and make into something positive, or at least a little less negative. There is a quote within this story, which is one of the ones that sums up this story for me; “‘This is the sin of man against woman,’ she said. ‘The offense is against womanhood. Against motherhood. Against-the child’“.

The next story in this book that I read was Making A Change. This story reminded me alot of The Yellow Wallpaper in a number of ways. From the way the wife/new mother (Julia) is with the baby, to the way the husband (Frank) is towards the wife. But, there was another presence in this story, Mrs. Gordins, Julias’ mothering law, who Julia is finally able to confide in and in the end find help in, with a well kept secret and plan between them both. This not only works out perfectly for Julia, but also for Mrs. Gordins herself, but the question is, what does Frank think of it all? See I didn’t spoil it all. . . When I did come to the end of this story, I did really enjoy it and was one of the ones I remember fondly. 

The next story in this book was, If I Was A Man. I have to admit that I read this story twice, because the first time I read it I just skim read it and when it came to reviewing this story, I completely forgot what it was about, so I had to reread it. So on my second read I was completely shocked at myself. How could I not have paid attention the first time around? I suppose that if I missed the beginning then I may have missed what this main aspect of this story was about, but during my second read I was hooked. Have you ever wished that you were the opposite gender? (Being neutral ;)) Well that’s what Mollie Mathewson always did when it came to her husband, Gerald. Only one day she is shocked when it actually happens and she becomes her husband Gerald Mathewson. However, she starts thinking and feeling like a man does, and while having all of her own memories, she also has her husbands memories which are the ones that are important while being in his body, as she in now, in fact, a man. I wonder what, if anything, Mollie will learn and take from this experience. 

The last story in this book was, Mr Peebles’ Heart. What a story to finish this book of stories on. I will admit, yet another confession, that while reading this story, I thought that this was going to take a different turn. I am so glad that I was wrong! I really enjoyed this story. I don’t want to give away too much with this story, as I feel because these stories as quite short, that my reviews might be containing spoilers. So I’m sorry for that. So what I will say is; a visit from a sister-in-law changes everything. 

 All in all, I really enjoyed this book of short stories, especially the main story, The Yellow Wallpaper. There were some other stories that really stood out to me, such as; Turned, Making A Change and Mr Peebles’ Heart. I am so glad that I have finally read The Yellow Wallpaper and have this book in my collection, and I am even looking into more of her work, stories and her life as this just doesn’t seem to be enough. I love it, but as there were one or two I didn’t enjoy as much, that’s why I rated it 4.5 stars out of 5 (and now I hate myself and I wish I could rate each one individually). 

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Review: The Booze Stole My Son – Aui V

The Booze Stole My Son - Aui V***

I received a free eBook version of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book, after being approached by the author.

This is more than just a story to the author who wrote this book. This book is a true account of the death of her eldest son, 21 year old JC, where alcoholism played a massive part in that event. JC had been driving while under the influence of alcohol and had been in an accident, where he was taken to hospital, but had sadly later passed away. This is her account and warning to hopefully try and help and prevent people from suffering the same tragedy that her and her family have been through; suffering the loss of a loved one. Therefore, helping to create and generate a much better awareness about the mental illness of alcoholism, that is why she started and wrote this book.

Where she is from, in the Philippines,  alcoholism isn’t a disease or illness that is heard of or known very well, or greatly admitted to. It occurs, it defiantly occurs and has taken other peoples lives, such as her fathers and there are people who do have this illness, but they do not know or do not call it alcoholism. In fact Aui’s own husband Boy, was, and therefore still is an alcoholic and suggested that she did one of her studies on this topic when studying nursing and it was so unknown that she had no one to select for a case study and had to choose a new topic. You can see that a lot of research has also gone into this book, with examples and information provided about alcoholism and deaths that occur because of this illness. Therefore, at times, it does begin to read like you are reading a long report from the World Health Organisation with statistics and so on, which can distract from the story of the event of their lives. So can see that Aui is so passionate about making sure that she gets the right message out there with all of the accurate information, you know and understand why all of this information is included.

The best parts about this book, and the most emotional and heart felt parts are the letters that she has in between each of the chapters and especially at the end, are the letters that Aui have written to her son. I felt like I was intruding while I was reading them because of how personal they were. I know that the rest of the book was meant for the rest of us, but, those letters seemed as though they were between just Aui and JC. They were personal and felt like it was her was of grieving, by writing out how she was feeling and allowing that emotion to escape. But these were my favourite parts to read, because of the emotions expressed and how personal they were.

Reading this book, doesn’t seem like English is the authors first language, as it does come across a little bit disjointed at parts, as it doesn’t have that nice flow while reading it. The majority of the story is written in one language, English, all except for when people are speaking, which is written in another language. It does get translated back into English in brackets after each person speaks, but it does make me wonder why everything else is written in English, except for these.

This book is defiantly written for the best reasons and with the best intentions behind it, with raising awareness and truth in mind. Nowadays you see alcoholism being used to create entertainment and comedy in books, films, television programmes and so on and you don’t get to really see the real truth behind it. It is a mental health illness and it’s alright to be used, but when its constantly being used and trivialised, it loses all its meaning and becomes just another thing. That’s why I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars!

This is my favourite quote from the book, because of how true it is:
“We don’t get to decide when our lives will end.”

Review: Me Me Me – Charlotte Crosby

*****

This was the first book that I read of 2016 and it didn’t disappoint. I was so excited to read it, being a big fan of Charlotte Crosby already from watching her in Geordie Shore, so maybe I was a little biased towards this book before reading it.

This book is just simply Charlotte Crosby!!. Its funny, amazing and full of the funny antics that’s you’ve come to expect and love from the life of Miss Crosby. You’ll be laughing so loud that you’ll be stared at like a crazy person, but it’ll be worth it and you’ll carry on and do it again. At least that’s what I did. If you love Charlotte then you’ll love this book and love knowing more about her life and what she did before Geordie Shore, her thoughts during and her other experiences. Fun fact, did you know that Charlottes’ fathers name is also Gary :O and if you know Geordie Shore, then you’ll know why that both shocked and amazed me.

If you are not a fan of hers, then obviously you are going to be in two minds about buying or even just reading this book. I am defiantly going to warn you because she is brutally honest in this book and you may find her a little crude as she doesn’t hold back. I was able to finish this book within a day or two and I wholeheartedly LOVED this book!!!

I would definitely recommend this book!!! I give it a massive 5 out of 5 stars!