Category: Reviews (page 1 of 2)

Reviews of my favourite books, and the plays and films I’ve recently seen

‘What Happened’, by Hillary Rodham Clinton – A Review

In ‘What Happened’ Hillary Rodham Clinton sets out what went wrong – and why – in her campaign to become the first female POTUS. It’s a fascinating read. Like many, I was shocked that she lost. Since then, I have been further shocked by the number of Americans who have told me how much they really didn’t like her. This was news to me, so I was doubly interested to see how she came across in the book. Continue reading

The National Theatre’s 12th Night is Fabulous

Malvolia in the Teaser Trailer

– But why did they use that publicity photo?

I absolutely love the National Theatre’s current production of 12th Night, featuring Tamsin Greig as Malvolia. It’s one of the best productions I’ve ever seen. But I was slightly thrown by the pre publicity. Great images, but depicting quite a different version of Greig’s Malvolia. Or is that just me being picky?

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Ella Minnow Pea: a tale of censorship, letter by letter

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn was our book club’s latest pick. Opinions were divided on how enjoyable it is, but all agreed it is a clever depiction of authoritarianism and censorship. It reminds us just how quickly societies can fall apart.

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A Street Cat Named Bob: Film Review

bob-pic‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ is the film of the best-selling book (and its sequel). I’m a great cat lover and enjoyed the book, so going to see the film was a must. It’s fun and full of some lovely cat scenes, but the entertainment value comes at the expense of the book’s deeper meaning. Continue reading

Jungle Book – Well Worth Another Look

Jungle Book 2016How many of us have fond memories of the 1967 Disney film animation of Jungle Book? Lots, I suspect. I certainly do. Even with my dreadful memory I can still conjure up images of Baloo performing ‘Bare Necessities’ and Kaa’s hypnotic ‘Trust in me’.  So when I heard there was a new version, part of me wondered: why? But as I love animals, another part of me couldn’t wait. I wasn’t disappointed. Continue reading

The Oscars Approach


               Cover Image of Spotlight the Movie                                         

The 2106 Oscars approach and  Spotlight and The Big Short are both up for the Best Picture Oscar. Deservedly so. The films bring into sharp focus two major issues of our times – paedophilia committed by Catholic priests and the crash of 2008.

Spotlight is a gripping and emotional account of The Boston Globe’s exposure, in 2002, of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of its paedophile priests. Along with the rest of Boston society, The Globe itself had been guilty of turning a blind eye to the issue. But now a new editor – Jewish, from out of town and less in thrall to the local dignitaries – was prepared to reveal all. Rather than naming ‘a few bad apples’ the decision was made to expose the systematic cover-up, right to the top. Continue reading

‘The Paying Guests’ by Sarah Waters

CaptureOur book club recently read ‘The Paying Guests’ by Sarah Waters. Here’s a review – but beware spoilers.

‘The Paying Guests’  is set in 1922 as people are still dealing with the impact of WW1. In middle class London suburbia Frances Wray, a spinster, lives with her mother. They share the family home, now empty of men. Her two brothers were killed in action. Her father is dead too but, less heroically, lost the family money before he died. Frances and her mother have decided to have ‘paying guests’ to help with the bills. Continue reading

CATS: That Memory


CatsAfter a gap of 30 years I wondered if I’d enjoy seeing the famous musical Cats as much this time round. I saw it in the early 1980s and it was a very special night out. The show was a huge success. Its first run in London lasted 21 years and it was a long-term hit on Broadway too. Over the years it has been performed in many other countries, been seen by more than 73 million people, and won many awards.  Now it is at the London Palladium for a short and final season. I had organised for 14 of us to go to a matinee. Would it live up to my memory? Continue reading

Words Matter



As David Cameron knows, a single word can have a big impact. I am of course referring to ‘swarm’ not  ‘pig’.

Cameron calling migrants a ‘swarm’ positioned himself as uncaring and out of touch with public compassion towards our fellow humans. Repetition of that single word replays our reaction in an instant.

I had a similar experience on the receiving end of a wrong word recently – although it is utterly trivial when compared with the suffering of migrants. It was all about golf: the mental game. Continue reading

H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald

HawkThis is one of the best books I’ve ever read: beautifully written, moving and informative. The story is rather unusual – the training of a goshawk – but its many layers cover themes that are common to us all. Continue reading

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