A Fangirls Opinion – Life Update

Hello! After far too many months, I’m back on the blogging scene and ready to get back into the swing of things. These past couple of months I’ve been completely overwhelmed with work and applying for different internships, which is super exciting and scary at the same time. Yet it’s even scarier to think that in two weeks time I will have finished my degree and that I’ll have to start being a fully functioning adult! I also finally completed my dissertation in which I explored the representation of trauma in the works of Ian McEwan. His book Atonement is one of my all-time favourite reads, so I thought that my dissertation was the perfect excuse to explore more of his novels. To celebrate finishing my three years at Chester, myself and some course mates are jetting off to Rome with hopes of fulfilling our Lizzie McGuire fantasies, so any recommendations would be fab!

Before Easter, I also ran a film festival at the Chester Storyhouse, which involved the coming together of a group of individuals who all share a passion for film to organise a three day take-over weekend. As expected my group focused on book-to-film adaptations and chose to show Paddington 2 and Life of Pi as well as planning different activities that linked to the theme. Not only did this programme helping me learn more about the different areas of film and its career paths but it has also provided me with some useful contacts for the future! This was such a fab experience that I truly enjoyed and one that I highly recommend to anyone living in the Chester area.

My hope for the rest of the year is to try to post at least three times a week and to experiment more with different features and topics. Recently, I had to create a mini portfolio of creative pieces which I’m thinking of sharing as I had so much fun writing them and it would be cruel for them to just sit unread in the depths of my laptop. Now I’ve got more free time, I plan on tackling my ever-growing TBR list so keep your eyes peeled for lots and lots of reviews! I also really want to get more involved with the blogging community as everyone is just so lovely and I’m all for meeting new and like-minded people!

Thank you to all my followers for your patience, support and for sticking with me over these past years. Happy blogging!

Atonement – Ian McEwan

Since studying Ian McEwan at University he has quickly become one on my favourite authors of all time and reading this book has made me love him (and also hate him) even more. This story is heartbreaking, and I truly mean heartbreaking as it had me experience different emotions from joy to sadness and frustration. Once again, McEwan has created a beautiful novel that explores the themes of love, war, guilt and forgiveness through its brilliant narrative and prose.

On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.

As always, McEwan excels at setting the scene. His description of a hot summer afternoon in a 1935 English country house is lush and sumptuous, his evocation of a young soldier’s struggle to reach home after the disastrous 1940 battle of Dunkirk is haunting, and his look into the horrors of a war-time London hospital is gruesome in all its detail. Amazingly, McEwan manages to find beauty even in the most horrific scenes, which is one of the things which set him apart as a writer.

It’s the psychological stuff that is really outstanding. McEwan has a knack for taking his readers deep into his characters’ minds, letting them share their most intimate, most uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Sometimes these thoughts are a little disturbing (those of you who have read his earlier works will know what I mean), but usually, they have the effect of completely drawing the reader into the story. The latter is definitely the case in Atonement.

By presenting the story from different perspectives and vantage points, McEwan provides the reader with a complete and engrossing view of a life-changing event and its aftermath. All the different perspectives ring true, and together they tell a marvellous tale of perception, loyalty, anger, secrets, lost love, shame, guilt, obsession with the past. And about writing, for more than anything else, Atonement is about the difference between fiction and reality, the power of the imagination and the human urge to write and rewrite history.

The ending broke my heart. So much so that I’m still having trouble coming to grips with everything. Although being a McEwan novel I wasn’t expecting a happy ending but something happy would have been nice instead it left me in tears and struggling with all my emotions. However, it’s ending makes it more realistic as well as making the storyline and the fate of its characters so much more powerful and emotive.

I think it’s easy to guess for my review that I give this book 5/5 stars and it is one of those books that has found a spot on my all-time favourites list. Even if you don’t want to read the book then I recommend that you watch the film as Joe Wright successfully and beautifully adapts this tale for the big screen and the casting in my eyes is impeccable.

What I’ve Been Reading At University

For those who don’t know both myself and Eleanor are now in our first year of University, Eleanor is studying Midwifery at the University of West England and I’m studying English Literature at Chester. To be honest it’s been really difficult to read whilst at University thanks to our workload, long hours and reading lists. However being an English student I have been able to read some really interesting and enjoyable books so I’d thought I would share what I’ve read so far!

  1. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – I’d heard a lot about this play before studying it and I was really looking forward to it. I wasn’t expecting it to be so funny!
  2. First Love Last Rites by Ian McEwan – Pre-warning this book is very weird, I mean seriously weird. But after re-reading it, I am beginning to enjoy it and understand it more.
  3. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes – This was a hidden treasure on my reading list and I’m glad that I was able to read it. It was a very short story filled with drama and twists…
  4. Hard Times by Charles Dickens – Probably one of my least favourite reads just because it was so complicated and detailed but nevertheless I’m glad that I’m finally being able to read so of Dickens work.
  5. Atonement by Ian McEwan – I loved this book!! It was heartbreakingly beautiful, and if I have to recommend any book on this list it would have to be this one.
  6. Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling – Who would have thought that I would be studying Harry Potter at degree level? Certainly not me! But I’m loving it and it’s even better that my lecturer is a massive fan like me.
  7. Hunger Games by Suzanne Colins – I am meant to be writing an essay of the Hunger Games now but instead, I’m writing this blog post and procrastinating. I love discussing all the different themes and discovering more about the book!

Please let me know if you’ve found this interesting and enjoyable because if so, then I’ll do another post later in the year with an update of the books I’ve read and studied.