Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Review

This is an incredibly poignant and full-on piece of writing. Garrett doesn’t flinch before laying the cold bare truth on the table or pull any punches. She says it how it is and she wants you to hear it. This story about a young teenage girl who wants a boyfriends and to experience the sexual side of a relationship, although her parents would prefer she stay abstinent. That way she can’t accidentally pass on her acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

I have to note that I found the level of scrutiny and lack of privacy Simone’s parents give her is extreme, regardless of how worried they are about her. It is difficult enough to navigate the world of teenage angst without the added burden of a health condition everyone is scared of and parents who think it’s okay to suffocate instead of empower their child.

I found the level of research into the topic of living with AIDS admirable both overall and in the context of the main character, a young teenage girl. It’s described meticulously and in a way that makes sense to a layman and perhaps especially to a young reader.

Garrett confronts the invisible and yet very alive and kicking discrimination against people with AIDS and HIV. The fear that was sown and grown in the 80s, during the frightening pandemic which took many lives. Since those times medical research has come so far that an HIV or AIDS diagnosis isn’t automatically a death sentence, as it once was. A very fixed and rigid regime of medication will allow a person with said diagnosis to live a long life.

The author also takes readers into the world of white privilege and the institutionalised racism Simone is confronted with, and her world of secrecy. She is torn between staying under the radar and knowing that embarking upon a sexual relationship means disclosing her condition.

It’s a YA read, but it’s also one I recommend for readers of any age, mainly because this book will do a lot to allay irrational fears that still exist when it comes to this condition. Garrett has a strong voice she isn’t afraid to use and I look forward to reading more by her.

Buy Full Disclosure at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Penguin; pub date 31 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Hive.

Follow @dancingofpens on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit camryngarrett.com

#BlogTour The End of the World Survivors Club by Adrian J. Walker

Today it’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The End of the World Survivors Club by Adrian J Walker.About the Author

Adrian J Walker was born in the bush suburbs of Sydney, Australia in the mid ’70s. After his father found a camper van in a ditch, he renovated it and moved his family back to the UK, where Adrian was raised.

Ever since he can remember, Adrian has been interested in three things: words, music and technology, and when he graduated from the University of Leeds, he found a career in software. His novel The End of the World Running Club, a post-apocalyptic running fable about hope, love and endurance, was a Simon Mayo Radio 2 book club choice.

He lives in Aberdeen with his wife and two children.

Follow @adrianwalker on Twitter, Visit adrianjwalker.comBuy The End of the World Survivors Club

About the book

In the End of the World Running Club Edgar Hill ran 550 miles after an apocalypse to ty and find his family. He had it easy. This is his wife’s story.

Beth Hill has survived the apocalypse with a baby and toddler in tow. And what’s more she’s done it alone – without her husband’s help. He’s never been any help. But when disaster strikes and someone steals her kids, she knows what she has to do.

The new world might be very different: no government, no law, no infrastructure and a whole lot more ocean than there used to be. But one thing hasn’t changed – the lengths a mother will go to save her family…

Review

Think Water World at the early stages of the apocalypse, but with redefined coasts, countries and continents left. The beginning of the end is when people show you who they really are, and you should believe them the first time they show you.

The story takes place before the deterioration and destruction has come to a halt. It’s somewhere between ‘it’s really happening’ and ‘this is our new reality’ so we have to adjust to it asap. Following on from Ed’s story, this is the story of his wife and children. Beth steps up to the mark and proves how far a mother will go to protect her children.

There is a moment in the book between Beth and Ed, which is particularly poignant and also relevant in normal circumstances and not just post-apocalyptic scenarios. Ed does what most men do and would do in that situation, he blames Beth for losing their children. She loses it and gives him a loaded barrel of truth. The non-caregiver or non-primary caregiver really has no clue what it is like to take care of babies or children 24/7 without any break. To be the person who is sucked dry of any choice other than things relating to said children and to have all the responsibility and none of the accolades. It’s always easier to judge when you’re sat on the outside looking in.

Kind of fascinating to realise that even in the middle of a crisis and the end of the world, some things never change. There will always be someone who thinks they know better and feel it’s their duty to tell you exactly that. Kudos to Walker for capturing the gist, frustration and anger of the underappreciated full-time mother absolutely perfectly.

It’s post-apocalyptic fiction with a realistic and down-to-earth plot. Walker plays on hidden fears and very real threats, which is what makes the read less speculative and more believable.

Buy The End of the World Survivors Club at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Penguin Random House UK – Ebury Publishing; pub date 5 Sept. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

I think the majority of people will have a certain image of Achilles in their heads thanks to the portrayal of his persona as a great warrior and handsome hero in major blockbuster movies. According to Greek mythology, Achilles was the son of the mortal Peleus, king of the Myrmidons, and the immortal Nereid Thetis. She is a sea nymph, a goddess of water and also purported to be one of fifty Nereids, the daughters of the ancient sea god Nereus.

The latter is especially important during this story, because Achilles’ obsession with his mother has a direct influence on the way he interacts with women, in this case Briseis. The initial attraction is caused by memories evoked by the smell of the sea on Briseis, which reminds him of the mother who abandoned him. He returns to the sea over and over again to connect with the feeling of love and protection he misses so much. Achilles becomes the young boy who yearns for the arms of his mother. Of course in relation to Briseis and memories of his mother we are talking Oedipal complex.

The Greeks are fighting to get Helen back, the infamous Helen of Troy. This story is focused on the lives of the women in the camp of the Greeks during this conflict. Women and girls who are bounty from other conflicts and sieges. Any male above a certain age is considered a future threat and therefore annihilated.

It doesn’t matter which status the women had before, they are all in the same boat when they are taken prisoner. Saying that, there is still a hierarchy with the worst position being the women no man of importance has any interest in. They are given to the soldiers as camp whores. The others are just whores by a different name. Although sometimes a woman might rise to the position of wife, it tends to be a rarity. The reality is that these women are treated like voiceless scum.

Barker combines mythology, history and women’s fiction, the result is a beautiful bold and heart-wrenching piece of literature. It is the gift that keeps on giving. It speaks of the unheard voices and the imposed silence girls have always had to live with. Even the alleged hero, winner of hearts and ruler of warriors is but a man at the end of the day. A man who treats women with disdain.

Buy The Silence of the Girls at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.Publisher: Penguin; Paperback pub date 2 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.