Posts Tagged ‘Health’

I’ve just finished reading “Junk” by Melvin Burgess. I knew about this book when i was younger but for some reason i never read it. Since meeting Melvin during my Publishing degree and hearing him talk about his books, i decided that maybe i would try to read one of them.

Junk - Melvin Burgess

Junk – Melvin Burgess (via Amazon)

In the book’s blurb it says:

“Tar and Gemma are in love. Tar has reasons for running away from home that run deep and sour, whereas Gemma, with her middle-class roots firmly on show, has a deep-rooted lust for adventure. Together they explore the dark world of the streets as, together, they explore the dark world of drugs, moving quickly on from the first hit of heroin that takes them towards bliss, to the next hit that ultimately leads to despair.”

It isn’t a book to be taken lightly: it explores some very important issues in a way that seems reasonable and realistic. It doesn’t glamorise the use of drugs or running away from home, it just shows how it feels to experience these and the good and bad sides to it.

I like how we get different chapters from different characters, this way we find out how issues affect different people and how they react. It’s good to have a wider range of viewpoints so that it isn’t focused on just those taking drugs.

We have Gemma and Tar as the two teens who run away from home and end up taking drugs and then trying to come off them. Then we have the ones who introduce them to drugs, Lily and Rob, and the other friends like Sal and Dev and so on. Then we have those who don’t do drugs, Vonny and Richard. Then, quite surprisingly i thought, we get a glimpse into the thoughts of Gemma’s mother and Tar’s father right at the end of the book, which gives an outsider’s view of events. When you only get to see from the drug user’s viewpoint, you get a very biased view of others, especially the parents. I thought the parents seemed a lot more human when we got their version of events, especially after all the negative comments about them from the others throughout the book!

I can’t say i felt comfortable reading about drug use, having been brought up knowing that drug use causes all sorts of problems, but i feel i understand more now what drug addicts go through and why they do it. I wish i’d read it earlier!

I give this book 8/10 because it is realistic and gritty, and it covers a lot of issues which people maybe don’t want to discuss so much, so this book is great for getting them out in the open, even though it may seem a bit controversial. I highly recommend “Junk”!

Cover of "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Se...

Cover via Amazon

I have just finished reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, and if I’m honest, it’s not the type of book i would normally read, but as it has recently received a lot of air-time due to the film version being released (starring that well-known actress Julia Roberts), I decided to have a look at the book that inspired the film.

It did seem like it was going to be another book full of rants about men and relationship problems and to be fair, it is a bit, but the feelings expressed seem genuine and I certainly felt I could relate to Liz’s misery.

She travels to three countries in her mission to get over the nasty breakup of her marriage and the following rebound fling, and ends up in Italy to “Eat”, India to “Pray”, and Bali to find “Love”. Quite an achievement that it all happens over the space of a year, but it is still a long unhappy year where her feelings seem to rule her life.

I’d say this book made me feel more positive about life after a breakup, and i totally agree that leaving your past behind you at home and visiting far-flung countries is a great way to forget about everything that has happened. However, I’m curious about what happens when she returns home and everything is normal and sucks you back into your old habits. It is easy enough to make yourself do new and exciting things when in new and exciting places, but eventually you have to go home and those new resolutions you made may not last so long once you’re back in that environment.

Ok, i’m digressing a little bit from the book here, so I’ll go back a step!

There are some genuinely great moments in the book (i won’t say here because i don’t want to spoil it if you havent read/finished it yet!), some great characters that we meet along the way, and there are some great quotes which can be taken from the book, but at the same time i kind of lost my interest around the India part of her journey. It is quite good in the respect that you get an insight into how the religion plays a large part in her life, but for those of us who aren’t really religious it can seem a little bit preachy.

I stuck it out and it does get better, with all the loose ends tied up at the end, although I have to say it ends rather abruptly.

Overall, it is a good book to read if you are going through a breakup as it describes a lot of the feelings a person can have during that difficult time, and I felt I was definitely taken on the journey with Liz as she pushes through the pain to get to the point where she feels ok with the world. The book certainly has an air of positivity about it, and despite feeling a little emotional at times while reading it, i don’t regret reading it at all!

I give it 7/10, as it is written fairly well and has good content and is realistic, but it’s not totally my cup of tea. But then, everyone has their own opinion!