Thursday 26 September 2019

Act Natural

by Jennifer Traig

As one who enjoys the quirks of history, this book is right up my alley.  Told from a rather personable perspective, this book presents a well researched accounting of some of the most horrifying, hilarious, and outrageous parenting practices that have trended in the western world over the past thousand or so years. From baby cages that prevented the ‘demonic’ practice of crawling, to girdles for pregnant women so the baby wouldn’t grow to big, child rearing has seen some dark days and this book has them all!

Broken into topics, each chapter addresses a different parenting hot topic and how people have handled said issues at different times. Chapters on topics such as childbirth, advice columns, discipline, sibling rivalry, etc, walk you through historical attempts to address these issues to comedic effect. The things people have done to raise well adjusted humans are absolutely astounding.

Act Natural is not only an ode to parenting, it also provides a unique window into domestic life throughout the last thousand years. Interesting historical tidbits, cultural norms, and attitudes of the people who lived before us are well outlined in this book. 

While filled with sources, citations, and an impressive appendix, this thoroughly researched book is a joy to read and often laugh out loud funny. Traig’s almost glib tone while recounting some truly unhinged parenting practices allows the reader to gasp and laugh all while going on this educational journey through the history of parenting. 

Fans of Chuck Klosterman, Mary Roach, Caitlin Doughty, and Bill Bryson will appreciate the informative nature of this book as well as the tongue in cheek humour.

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Maybe in Another Life

Maybe in Another Life  by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Having just finished reading the amazing Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, I was hungry for other titles by this amazing author. First to arrive on my holdshelf was Maybe in Another Life and I was certainly not disappointed. 

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if you had made different choices in your life? What if you had said, yes instead of no, or the other way around? How much of a role do fate and destiny play in our daily lives, are these concepts real?
In this charming novel of what ifs, Hannah Martin, 29, returns home to Los Angeles after having lived her life in multiple cities working at a variety of jobs. Hannah believes in a predetermined life and that, “Life is long and full of an infinite number of decisions……that I’ll end up where I need to end up no matter what I do.” 
Shortly after arriving in LA, Hannah and her best friend, Gabby, head out to a bar for a school friend reunion. As midnight approaches, Hannah faces the choice of leaving with Gabby or staying later and accepting a ride home from her old flame, Ethan. Hannah wonders to herself what would happen in either case. 

Through alternating chapters, we follow Hannah’s life first as she decides to go home later with Ethan, and in turn as she leaves with Gabby. Each of the parallel realities goes in a different direction, and naturally has other decisions within it based on what is happening, but there are also constants between the two stories that offer thoughtful insight into how much of our lives happen due to chance and how much we truly control. 

For believers in fate, destiny and soulmates, this is a novel that will give you all the feels and the hope that there is a soulmate out there for us, no matter which path we take.