Love With a Chance of Drowning grabbed my attention for two reasons: Firstly, doing a crazy thing for love isn't exactly unfamiliar to me (hello movin...moreLove With a Chance of Drowning grabbed my attention for two reasons: Firstly, doing a crazy thing for love isn't exactly unfamiliar to me (hello moving to the other side of the world for someone I'd never met in person), and secondly, sailing around the world sounds like one of the worst possible kinds of torture I could ever imagine.
And for both of those reasons I immediately felt a kind of affinity with Torre DeRoche. With a morbid fear of deep water and an extreme worrier, I could completely relate to everything she went through - if not the same situations but instead the same kinds of feelings that doing something so far outside your comfort zone can evoke.
Her boyfriend, Ivan, is hell-bent on sailing acrross the Pacific, but Torre kind of falls into the whole thing, almost blinded by love, but still stressing to the max, and that makes her story feel so much more realistic. There's no moment where she wakes up and realises she has overcome all of her fears, and although it could have become a little bit grating as she continues to stress out while Ivan's attitude is very laid-back, it actually makes both of them far more likeable.
The writing style is very easy to read - the story flows from one event to the next, and even the sailing, equipment and navigation terminology is written in a way that even though it's not something I'm particularly interested in, it was understandable and wasn't info-dumped.
Torre and Ivan have some quite funny, and some quite serious parts of their story, and it's incredible readable - from jellyfish attacks to accidentally shooting a native islander with a spear gun, it's all done with a sense of respect towards the people and the places they encounter on their travels.
Could I have done what Torre did? Um, hell no. And for that she has all of my admiration, as she pushed herself through situations that would have had me demanding a rescue fleet. She came out of her adventure a little braver, but also embracing her own limitations and realising that although love can pull you outside your comfort zone, it shouldn't change who you fundamentally are.(less)
Although I enjoy the occasional non-fiction book, it's very rare that I read memoirs - I can't even really say why, but perhaps I'm just not that inte...moreAlthough I enjoy the occasional non-fiction book, it's very rare that I read memoirs - I can't even really say why, but perhaps I'm just not that interested in the lives of 'famous' people and I'd just rather throw myself into a made-up world. Miranda Hart is one of my favourite English comedians, and I've been a huge fan since the first episode of her sitcom, Miranda, and her awkwardness had me snickering and also feeling a sense of camaraderie with her semi-fictional character so I put aside my normal aversion and gave her memoir a try.
I was a little tentative about her book however, as it is essentially a conversation with her eighteen-year-old self in parts, and what I really wanted was just some of her funny observations about life and stories of her funniest life moments. However, although there are conversations with her younger self, the funny stories and awkward moments were far more prominent and had me smirking and even laughing and reading parts out loud to my boyfriend occasionally. Structured into subjects such as beauty, dating and weddings, this is one of the rare books that had me smiling almost all the way through.
But I found more than I thought I would as the book progressed - as well as telling the outrageously funny stories of her own social awkwardness, Miranda Hart also talks about how although her life hasn't turned out the way she imagined as a teenager, she is completely comfortable and happy with her life as it is and the things she thought would make her life complete are not the things that she really needed in life. This was something that I wasn't actually expected to come away with from this book, and it also gave me more respect for Miranda herself.
This is really a book for Miranda Hart fans - I think you'd need to be familiar with her to really understand her sense of humour, because hearing her voice in my head whilst I was reading was what made it really hilarious. Or just imagine someone in a bit of a posh, yet panickedly-shrill voice reading it aloud to you.
There is nothing as compelling as a real-life story - whether it's a love story, a war story or a personal journey through an unimaginable horror. Jac...moreThere is nothing as compelling as a real-life story - whether it's a love story, a war story or a personal journey through an unimaginable horror. Jack and Rochelle is all three of these stories, melded and meshed together into an unforgettable story of the terrible things that human beings can do to each other and the power of love and determination.
Told simply, in a conversational format and alternating between Jack and Rochelle, it is a story that I found completely and utterly riveting from the beginning until the end. Starting with the story of Jack and Rochelle's parents, they talk about their childhoods and teenage years, how they knew each other and the way their lives changed with the beginning of the war.
As they meet again in the forest after escaping from the Nazis and living as partisans in underground bunkers, their story goes from a sweet narrative about growing up to a nightmare where they are forced to endure terrible conditions as they fight to survive against the Germans and the harsh Polish weather.
I've read several non-fiction accounts of World War II, but this is the first partisan account that I've read, and it was really quite shocking to read about the realities of living every day in a cramped bunker, with death an ever-present possibility. But amid the horrors that they are forced to endure, there is also a gradual love that emerges between the two of them, and in their telling of the story their continued love really shines through.
Written by Jack and Rochelle, and edited by their son, Lawrence, the book is obviously a labour of love, and despite the terrible things that have happened to them in their lives, it really reflects their love for each other and how very grateful they are to have each other.