This Queer Angel by Elaine M. Chambers

This Queer Angel by Elaine M. Chambers

When I received the email from Anne Cater about This Queer Angel I jumped at the chance even saying to Anne “This is of particular interest to me, being a gay woman.” hoping I wouldn’t miss out.

Having the opportunity to read and review Elaine Chambers life story has been a pleasure. Thank you Elaine for having the courage to put all of the events into This Queer Angel, thank you to Unbound for publishing it and last but not least thank you to Anne Cater for giving me this opportunity by choosing this lesbian to write a review.

The Back of the book

A revealing memoir, laying open the cruel truth behind the longstanding ban on LGBT+ personnel serving openly in H.M. Forces.

Discover the human cost of being deemed a criminal in the institutions protecting fellow citizens’ hard-won freedoms.

The first book covering recent military history, written from a lesbian perspective.

My Thoughts

When I first read the back of the book it made me angry. I am a lesbian and unfortunately have had my share of prejudice over the years. However, This Queer Angel is something completely different. Despite their sexuality and the ban on LGBT+ people serving openly in H.M. Forces they were willing to put their lives at risk in more ways than most to protect us!!

I honestly don’t know where to start but here goes….

This Queer Angel has taken me through so many emotions I feel a little lost but also found. Reading Elaine Chambers early stories of growing up unsure about her sexuality and the way she dealt with that rang so many bells. Often we hear the ‘coming out’ stories but we don’t hear of their struggle to get there. It has been so refreshing to read.

I was not shocked in any way about some of the events throughout her life having lived some similar situations myself but what shocked me was the blatant homophobia in H.M. Forces. Maybe it is naive of me to say? I had no idea what it would have been like for anyone. Shock is one word for it, absolutely disgusted are others!

I know it was a different time but who in their right mind thinks they have the right to tell people that they cannot live their lives as they wish and be open with their sexuality. Yes this made me so angry but I feel enlightened having read about it.

Elaine Chambers writes in such a way that you are intrigued to know what on earth is coming next and how on earth does anyone get through this. It seems to me that Elaine and so many others in the Forces suffered extreme prejudice at the hands of an archaic regime which thankfully they went on to fight and won.

Without people like Elaine we LGBT+ ladies and gents would not have been able to live life as free as we do today compared to only 30 years ago.

Elaine, finding yourself and being brave enough to fight the system then go on to right this book is beyond a massive achievement and I personally am very proud of you.

Keep fighting!!

Do not miss out on This Queer Angel. There is something in it for everyone.

This Queer Angel by Elaine M. Chambers was published on 7 March 2019 by Unbound. Buy your copy here.

Follow the #BlogTour on Twitter (see poster below).

Confessions of a Bad Mother The Teenage Years by Stephanie Calman

Confessions of a Bad Mother: The Teenage Years by Stephanie Calman

When I was invited by Tracy Fenton to read and review this book I knew it wasn’t something that I would normally read but the information sent to me made me laugh instantly.

We imagine the teenage years as a sort of domestic meteor strike, when our dear, sweet child, hitherto so trusting and innocent, is suddenly replaced by a sarcastic know-all who cruelly disregards the important wisdom we have to pass on.

But with her characteristic unflinching honesty and bracing wit,  Stephanie Calman debunks that myth.

Bad news: adolescence begins much earlier than you expect, around the age of seven.

Good news! The modern teenager is a compassionate soul, the product of political correctness, Circle Time and all five series of ‘Friends’.

Not quite so good news: the key insights you’ve gathered over four or five decades are still going to be brutally rejected, with a casual: ‘Like, whatever. Can I go now?’

Stephanie takes a fresh look at this whole process and finds that her teenagers are frequently thinking and feeling the same thing as she is: that the other person has all the power and basically hates them.

And having nurtured them through every stage of development, from walking to school by themselves to their first hangover, she finds herself dreading the separation – feeling

bereaved even – as they skip off to university without a second glance.

As the grown-up, you cannot let them see you in this pathetic state. It’s time to be brave and try to move on with your life’

The back of the book

The original bad mother is back, with the inside track on how to survive your kids turning from sweet little cherubs to troublesome teenagers.

When you’re pregnant you think: ‘I’m having a baby’, not a person who will eventually catch trains by themselves, share a fridge with ten strangers, go to a festival in Croatia without succumbing to a drug overdose, and one day, bring you a gin and tonic when your mother is dying.

And having nurtured them through every stage of development, you find yourself alone – bereaved even – as they skip off to university without a second glance.

With great honesty and refreshingly bracing wit, Stephanie Calman’s candid, touching and very funny, Confessions of a Bad Mother: The Teenage Years, offers hope to despairing and exhausted parents everywhere.

Your teenager is not the enemy after all.

My Thoughts

I don’t have children but you don’t have to to appreciate the humour and goings on. Every chapter has something that will take you back to your own childhood and to that of any children you have. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, drawing attention from people around me wondering what I was laughing at.

Remember the arguments you had with your siblings or friends that seemed life shattering at the time only to be making up with them a few hours later. Remember the parents who had different ideas of how things should be done. How about talking back to your parents because you knew best and they were too old to understand. Confessions of a Bad Mother The Teenage Years has it all.

For parents out there this is a must read. Kids from all walks of life have their hissy fits, pull at the heartstrings, pit mum and dad against each other.

Stephanie Calman has such a brilliant way of putting all of the trials and tribulations of bringing up teenagers in this beautifully hilarious book. Writing from her own experiences makes this a refreshing read which most people will related to in one way or another.

I highly recommend this to everyone!

Confessions of a Bad Mother: The Teenage Years was published on 16 May 2019 by Picador. Buy your copy here.

Follow the #BlogTour on Twitter (see poster below).

Unbroken by Madeleine Black

Unbroken is a memoir by Madeleine Black telling her story of being savagely gang raped at 13 years old and her journey fighting through the trauma, finding her voice and getting her best revenge.

Madeleine decided that all the details would be included in Unbroken. I personally think that she made the right decision as readers will find out the reality of rape and emotional and physical responses. There is an author’s note at the beginning of the chapter giving the detailed account of the gang rape. This gives the reader the option to skip to the next chapter if they wish.

Personally, I have read Unbroken three times now. I read the whole book twice and skipped that chapter once.

I love that Madeleine explains the different types of therapy that she had and the things that she did to live her life and get her best revenge.

Unbroken takes you through every emotion you can imagine. I found I was holding back tears, feeling angry, in shock and then feelings of relief, happiness and pride. Knowing that Madeleine has come out the other side of every traumatic experience she has had makes her not only an inspiration to me but no doubt to so many others too.

I recommend Unbroken to everyone. Madeleine’s story raises awareness about rape and how it can affect people years even decades after the assault(s).

Thank you, Madeleine, for being so brave, finding your voice and sharing your journey. Your story will help so many people.

The Missing List

The Missing List is a memoir by Clare Best telling the story about her childhood and being sexually assaulted by someone who should only ever be protecting her, her father.

Clare has written her memoir bringing together her memories from years gone by along with her narrative of Ciné film clips and conversations with her father.

She writes in such a way that you find yourself drawn in and hoping for her father to say those words. My heart was in my mouth each time she spoke to him.

Writing this memoir must have had her reliving the horrors of her past.

It’s difficult to review a book where you know the author has suffered such abuse. All I can say is that Clare’s story is the story of so many people. Being brave putting hers into words will help so many.

Thank you Clare for your courage.