Tag: Parent

Sue Reid – Mill Girl | Review

Title: Mill Girl

Author: Sue Reid

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 224

Rating: 3.5/5

I read this book because it came with a whole bunch of others that I bought as a job lot on eBay. It stood out because it’s part of a Scholastic line that focusses on historical fiction, and it’s also pretty cool because it takes the form of a diary.

We’ve got a young female protagonist living in Victorian Manchester and who works in a Mill, and so you know going in that she’s going to have a pretty tough life. At the same time, the book’s clearly aimed at younger readers and so there’s nothing here that’s so intense that it would stop a parent from reading it to their kids.

But to be honest, the point here is more to educate kids about what it was like back in the day, and I think it does a pretty good job of that. Even though it’s written the way it is, in an episodic format based on diary entries, the author actually manages to do an impressive job of worldbuilding, and so it’s easy to feel as though you can smell the city.

Plus I’m originally from the Midlands, which makes me an honourary northerner. I was always going to like it. A nice find!

Learn more about Mill Girl.

 


Stephen King – Danse Macabre | Review

Title: Danse Macabre

Author: Stephen King

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 480

Rating: 4/5

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did, mainly because it’s non-fiction and obviously King has a reputation as the master of horror. Still, it’s a non-fiction book about horror with a little bit of memoir and autobiography thrown in, and that makes it a pretty fascinating book if you’re a fan of either horror or Stephen King.

At the same time, it’s definitely dated in a lot of places. For example, he mentions an exciting new punk band called The Ramones and makes a reference to a book he’s writing where a parent loses a child, and I’m pretty sure he was talking about Pet Sematary. Kind of weird really, because the Ramones later recorded a song of the same name.

He also talked about how Kubrick did a good job of the movie of The Shining, and that was weird to me because King famously doesn’t like it. Perhaps he changed his mind later on. He also talked about how there aren’t enough works about haunted cars, which he later changed with Christine (still need to read it) and From a Buick 8 (actually terrible).

The fact that it’s a non-fiction book means that by its very nature, it has something of a different tone to King’s other stuff, although you can definitely tell that he’s the one who wrote it. Perhaps it’s also that he was a little younger and therefore closer to the start of his career. Whatever the case, he comes across as almost irreverent at times, though not in a bad way.

He always treats the works that he covers with the greatest of respect even when he doesn’t necessarily enjoy the work in question. He acknowledges that something can be hugely influential and important to a specific genre of film and literature, even if he doesn’t like the work itself. It’s a bit like how you can enjoy rock music without being a fan of The Beatles.

I don’t think that this book necessarily has a widespread appeal, but if you’re either a Stephen King fan or a fan of classic horror – and let’s be honest, if you’re one then you’re probably the other – then this will be right up your street. If nothing else, you’ll find yourself walking away with a whole bunch of recommendations to check out. I know I have.

Of course, some of the stuff that he covers here is pretty niche, to the point at which you’d probably struggle to track some of it down. Other is much more well-known, from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to The Exorcist and even King’s own books. He also writes in a way that doesn’t ruin things that you haven’t yet experienced, which I was worried about. Good stuff!

Learn more about Danse Macabre.