Well, I have just finished reading Nicola Hodgkinson’s, Life with the Lid Off. It was a very different read and I must say, it was not quite what I was expecting.
This book had previously been recommended to me and so my ‘book to read’ for October became this one. However, I’m not sure if I would recommend it to others – unless I was really aware of their areas of interest. It is promoted as a book about how important it is to follow our dreams and the authors reflections on how she did this amidst the chaos of life’s diversions. To me it seemed to be more a book about life’s diversion than the initial dream.
The book was the winner of the People’s Author Competition … and promoted on the Alan Titchmarsh Show as “..the most enchanting and engaging story”. This I only know because I read it on the cover of the book! You may know because you see the Alan Titchmarsh Show (I live in Australia and have never seen the Show).
I enjoyed the first half of the book with the fun of family life (parents and children) and the ongoing challenge of making ends meet financially and parenting dilemmas with three young children, their curiosity and the growing number of family pets. However, in the middle of the book things change somewhat and we seem to have skipped a number of years in the storyline. It appeared to me the first half was written some years ago and then left abandoned in the bottom drawer of the writers desk. Later Hodgkinson decided (this is as I imagined it, because I do not know the real truth ..) to finish the book ready for the publisher and needed to create a suitable ending. Hence, the big jump in years from children of 10 and 11 years of age to young adults learning the early morning perils of drinking too much alcohol the night before.
I lost a bit of my enthusiasm for the story as there seems to be a gap, I felt like the author had deliberately left out an important part of the story. There were obvious gaps in the second half of the book (“..he hit a rocky patch..” page 269) (“..sadly Jack can’t make it..” page 228) that were not explained to the reader and it was a little confusing for me.
Maybe the individuals involved did not give permission to share their part of the story – and I can respect that.
So, I do have a favourite part (as I do with most books I read) that I would like to share with you …
“Born in Dunwich after 21 days of Toots sitting on her, she had two brothers, Wilfred and Erbert. Maisy grew up in a battle zone between her two brothers and her father Sidney, but never seemed to notice the constant fights; she just carried on having dust baths and leading her quiet life.”
“Maisy never quite got on with Sidney and always would tag along hoping for some food which Toots didn’t want. Wilfred did the same and soon brother and sister were to fall in love.”
“This relationship went on for her life but her egg laying didn’t. One day I was feeding the chickens when I looked in the garage and there was Maisy sitting there looking at an egg, not sitting on it, looking at it. After about two days she gave up, never to try again for the rest of her life. Instead she would sit under the kitchen table and chat to Wilfred about the day’s events.”
by JH (aged seven) A short Biography of a Chicken ~ Hodgkinson, 2010
Mmmmm!! I wonder …. what lovely book shall I read next?