Friday, June 24, 2011

Odd one out

In this short story by Monica McInerney Sylvie feels that she is the odd one out in her artistic family but a holiday in Melbourne helps her to reaccess her life and relationship with family members and also eventually allows her to find love.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Bride's Farewell

Written for young teenagers by Meg Rosoff, The Bride's Farewell is the story of Pell and her family. On the day that she is to marry Pell decides to leave home on her horse Jack but is followed by her young brother, Bean who insists on going with her. The book follows their journey as Pell, an extremely resourceful young lady with a gift for judging and looking after horses tries to establish a new life. Set in south west England in the nineteenth century the effects of the industrial revolution on the lives of people form a backdrop to the story. During the book Pell discovers how her actions to gain independence affected not only her life but the life of the other members of her family.

Views from younger readers about this book can be found at

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mia Culpa

Mia Freedman's most recent book is subtitled confessions from the water cooler of life. As a social commentator Mia writes about everyday issues in modern life that affect the lives of many people, particularly younger women. Communication in the age of digital technology, relationships, attitudinal differences between men and women, living with children, perceptions of being cool and when one stopped being so and fashion trends are some of the topics canvassed in this book.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mama Mia - a memoir of mistakes, magazines and motherhood

The subtitle sums up the contents of this memoir by Mia Freedman. At 19 Mia worked at Cleo, initially on a work experience try-out before officially joining the staff as a beauty writer. At 24 she was editor of the Australian edition of Cosmopolitan (Cosmo Magazine). In 2003 she became Editor-in Chief of the magazines, Cosmopolitan, Cleo and Dolly. Mia provides vivid descriptions of the stress as well as the glamour experienced when working for such publications, especially the long hours, the need to play the role depicted by the magazine and trying to keep ahead of the opposition as well as predicting what the public want to read.Marian Keyes in her novel, Sushi for beginners, paints a similar picture of the women's glossy magazine industry. Mia also worked in television with appearance on the Today show and when she resigned from her editing role was offered an executive position at Channel 9 - a career move that was short-lived. Mia then turned her attention to the Internet including her successful website She also writes a column for the Sunday Age and has written the books, The New Black (2005) and Mia Culpa (2011)

This book however is also about relationships, good and bad, special friendships and her family. Juggling motherhood with full time work is one of the themes of the book. The grief of a miscarriage is discussed as well as other people's attitudes to pregnant women. Mia writes of her mistakes and fears as well as her successes in this account of how she has developed a life where she can enjoy her work and also enjoy being a mother. As Mia would agree, having an understanding husband, family and friends definitely helps. An interesting account of the life so far of a fascinating and determined woman aiming to publicise the real concerns of women. One of the changes that she introduced at Cosmopolitan was not publishing diets in the magazine and portraying women with a variety of body shapes and nationalities in the publication. This is a belief that she continues to promote including being appointed chair of the National Advisory Group on Body Image.