School Reunions and Regular Holidays

I feel a little shell shocked. The Spring holidays are over and though we didn’t travel far, it seems like I’ve been around the world and back again. Facebook can do that to you!

Thankfully, despite missing the 35th Year Dalby School Reunion, I managed to ‘catch up’ with my old chums via Facebook and the initiative of a Dropbox Reunion Book with several pages reserved for each student to detail the detritus that is their lives up until now. I wouldn’t have thought it, but the idea of the book file on Dropbox was a winner (although so far only 7 people posted their Readers’ Digest lives and accompanying photos). So why have I not included my 4 pages?

Is it because I don’t know what to include? Is it that my photos are terrible or that I have a deep,dark secret or two that may come  to light? No. It isn’t for any of those reasons. I simply didn’t want these people to have my story in 4 pages…..

No matter what I wanted to say, it all sounded either like boasting or…just plain cheesy

So whilst I was happy to read about ‘the most wonderful man in the world’ that my friend married or ‘the amazing trek from the North to the South of New Zealand’ that another couple embarked upon, I found myself judging them. In small ways. Yes they looked happy in their holiday snaps, their daughters and sons were fresh and smiling and were the spitting image of their parents and that New Zealand trek looked enticingly spectacular. But was it REAL? I’m not doubting that they did these things (though I’m sure there was one guy who appeared to have Photoshopped himself with an inordinate number ov  celebrities). I just didn’t want to be judged, like I was judging them.

My life has been a BIG one in many ways. I’ve taken paths not chosen by others, marrying late, only having one kid, working in places like Botswana. But more than anything, I wanted to show them what it was really like…seeing a Poacher hanging from a tree with his eyes pecked out by birds, showing pictures of me at my worst in the heat of the day and the moment when I fell and hurt myself. I seek to lay everything bare in front of their beady eyes. The way the world is and was, the conflict, the sadness and the pain not just the good times.

Is that wrong?  Many of you would say it isn’t. It is just that people don’t want to know the truth. People only want the shiny eyes, the beautiful sunsets and the perfect weddings. It is my belief however that we can see more about the person by looking behind the photography studio shots and that is why I am not contributing to that book. I am at the stage where, as a Baby Boomer with an head full of what happened, I only want relationships that are real and photos that show wrinkles and pain etched on weathered faces. Reunions are not for me. Only memories. And remembering what things were really like – the TRUTH.

Book Review – A Fortunate Age

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A Fortunate Age seemed like an unfortunate title, but the heralding of an ‘astute’ debut and the setting of New York in the days leading up to 9/11, spoke of infinite promise. From the start I could relate to the six friends and that time after college when aspirations are shouted to the world, without fear and friends from college are friends forever.

And so it was for the first third of the book. The ability to carry and develop 6 main characters in a meaningful and true to form way is no mean feat and was carried out with aplomb. The usual hiccoughs and failures of life however, crept in sooner than I thought they would and I must admit that the feel good component suddenly fell flat around half way through. Yes it is a conceivable plot line, not everything goes to plan for everyone in early adulthood, but faced with the impending doom of the 9/11 incident, I was disappointed that not one of the friends came out unscathed.

Maybe it is my age or maybe it is the times that we live in, but the title suggested some kind of struggle that was overcome through strength and grace. I read the book in hope of a happier tale to balance out the inevitable tragedy of 9/11, but instead, I found little in the way of climax and at the end, was left with six stories of doubt and failure fizzling out into a feeling of loss.

Yes, the writing is excellent, the characters all too human and the storyline cleverly woven with nuances of New York life, but the overwhelming emotion I was left with at the conclusion of the book was loss. Perhaps that was the Author’s intention. Personally I felt a little cheated. We hear enough about failed marriages, lost dreams and death on a daily basis. Does it have to show up in so many modern novels?

25 August 2015

Book Review – Trigger Mortis

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What do Sherlock Holmes, a popup interactive site in London and the recently released thriller Trigger Mortis all have in common?

Anthony Horowitz, of course!

Tagged as one of the most anticipated releases this year, Horowitz channels Ian Fleming to bring the newest Bond tale to our stores and ebook readers. Trigger Mortis is a term used by the military to abort a mission if all else fails. In this manuscript from the vault, we find that James Bond has mellowed a bit with age, but like a fine wine, he also can end up on the floor or all over the place. One thing is for sure…Bond is back!

Pussy Galore is staying with James, M is still in charge, Miss Moneypenny is mysteriously absent and James seems to not check in at headquarters too much anymore, but the original style of Fleming, based on his notes, rings true in Horowitzs’ hands. With the background of the race track, an evil Korean joins with SMERSH to bring all of the action and intrigue required for a Saturday night thriller, which does not let up until the final page.

Now it’s a long time since I read a Bond book and I am not really a member of the fan club, but this book had me smiling. The combination of the unstoppable spy, headstrong female characters and the crazy Korean is not too cheesy and I believe that Bond fans won’t be disappointed.

Will a movie be made? The jury is still out, It will be interesting to see if Flemings’ estate offers Horowitz any more of the literary tidbits that are stashed away. Or could this be a one off? The talented Horowitz is never far from his next project, be it a book, film or television script, but it will be up to the fans if he manages to land a Bond coup and collaborate again with Flemings’ ghost.

Love Bond or not, it is a non taxing and amusing read for those rainy Saturday nights, when books beckon from their shelves. I give it three stars.