Wonderful, uplifting and compelling. This memoir (including the others in the series) provides a wonderful snapshot of 50s East End London and a fledgWonderful, uplifting and compelling. This memoir (including the others in the series) provides a wonderful snapshot of 50s East End London and a fledgling post-war NHS without any sugar-coating or romantic self-indulgence. An absolute gem of an autobiography sure to warm the coldest of hearts....more
Let me just state that, as a Christian, I am not slating this book because it might somehow "dishonour the name of Christ" or because it's "evil." I'mLet me just state that, as a Christian, I am not slating this book because it might somehow "dishonour the name of Christ" or because it's "evil." I'm more than happy to be entertained by or find out more about subjects that I don't necessarily have to accept or agree with. No. I'm slating this book because it is poorly written and quite patronising in places. I guessed the "twist" from quite an early stage in the book and was almost offended when Dan Brown assumed he was doing me a favour by revealing the "shocking truth" about the Holy Grail. One word: please. The only thing it had going for it was the development of Robert Langdon's character. He was intriguing enough to keep me reading to the end and also have a look at Angels and Demons. That is, however, as far as my objectivity will allow....more
I am usually happy to read about subjects that I don't necessarily agree with. I'm objective enough, normally, to accept things as works of fiction anI am usually happy to read about subjects that I don't necessarily agree with. I'm objective enough, normally, to accept things as works of fiction and not get offended by them. In fact, I think it is essentially important that people read a wide range of material and not just stick to safe topics that they agree with and relate to. How else would people grow, be educated or think through their arguments and opinions, after all? However, I am going to make one exception in Phillip Pullman's case. There is nothing more offensive to me in someone's writing than hypocrisy. Pullman, a self-confessed atheist who has accused various religious and political groups of indoctrination and fundamentalism has done just that. And, worst of all, he's targeted children.
Through his whimsical characters he has subtly introduced a militant, unforgiving and almost evangelistic hatred of God that even, surely, a lot of non-religious people would be concerned by. Now I know the counter-argument well: "surely CS Lewis tried to indoctrinate children with his Christian ideas in the Narnia stories." Yes, he was a Christian man and, yes, the Narnia stories had a distinctive Christian symbolism; but this is my argument: Lewis, Tolkien and others like them never, in any of their writing, preached hatred and loathing of a particular ideology the way Pullman does. Whether you agree with their points of view or not, these men wrote with a universal grace and the theme of forgiveness ran throughout their stories. They weren't in the business of condemnation or manipulation and this is what made Narnia and Lord of the Rings such classic stories. His Dark Materials shows no such grace and implies that a reader such as myself, who is not an atheist, is wrong and stupid for disagreeing with the author's agenda. Impressionable children and young adults are in danger of simply accepting this without being encouraged to question anything. Militant atheism at its very worst which seeks, unashamedly, to manipulate and undermine young minds....more