Book Review: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

Book: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas – paperback edition, 485 pages.

Synopsis: At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own. This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.

The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires.

What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity – all the passions and conflicting beliefs – that family can arouse.

My thoughts: I felt like reading some contemporary Australian fiction this month, and pulled this off my shelf because it seemed to suit my mood. I’d heard positive things about this book from quite a few people in my life, and I figured that plus the fact it had been turned into a television series (and subsequently adapted for American audiences) meant it was guaranteed be a good read.

I ended up in two minds about this book. On the one hand, I loved the setting. I don’t read nearly enough books that are set in Australia, and they’re always such a joy to read when I do. Also, at one point in the story two of the characters travel to Bali which was a pleasant surprise for me because that’s where I happened to be when I read the majority of the book. I found the story interesting, and the characters well developed (if for the most part completely unlikeable). The book switches between character viewpoints in each chapter, and I felt like this detracted from the book a little bit because it interruped the flow of the story for me.

Now for the negative. I don’t consider myself particularly prudish but I found the language used to be really shocking and confronting, and I was even considering putting the book down because of it. The racist and homophobic terms used made me feel really uncomfortable, and I really had to make an effort to push past the language to be able to continue reading the book. If this is something you are particularly sensitive about, I would not recommend this book for you.

Rating: 6/10

February Empties (P50P Pt 2)

08: Tanda Lychee & Black Tea Candle – I’ve had this candle sitting in my cupboard half-burned for a couple of years now. I go through phases with candles and for some reason I never seem to be able to burn one completely through in one go. I dug this one out of the cupboard because it was summer and I wanted a nice fresh scent.

09: Karuna Hydrating Face Mask – Unfortunately, I can’t give this mask a very good review as I had some sort of reaction to it that left my face red and inflamed the next day. I felt like it left a lot of product on my face once I removed the sheet mask, and my skin did feel hydrated that night, but what happened the next day discounts any of the positives for me.

10: Benefit Erase Paste in Light – One of my old school “holy grail” products, that has since been replaced but is still up there with products I would repurchase. I really like this for under-eye coverage, but I find it a bit too thick for spot coverage.

11: L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes in Black – I picked this up once I ran out of my last tube of Lancome Hypnose and decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised. This wore well throughout the day, and did add quite a bit of volume to the lashes. I also really liked the style of the wand, which is important for me when it comes to mascara. Having said that, I’ve now switched back to Lancome Hypnose because honestly nothing compares.

March TBR

The Girl Before by JP DelaneyEverything that is yours, was once hers… Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection… but can you pay the price? Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

The Slap by Christos TsiolkasAt a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own. This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the slap. What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity – all the passions and conflicting beliefs – that family can arouse.

Summer Skin by Kirsty EagarJess Gordon is out for revenge. Last year the jocks from Knights College tried to shame her best friend. This year she and a hand-picked college girl gang are going to get even. The lesson: don’t mess with Unity girls. The target: Blondie, a typical Knights stud, arrogant, cold… and smart enough to keep up with Jess. A neo-riot grrl with a penchant for fanning the flames meets a rugby-playing sexist pig – sworn enemies or two people who happen to find each other when they’re at their most vulnerable? It’s all Girl meets Boy, Girl steals from Boy, seduces Boy, ties Boy to a chair and burns Boy’s stuff. Just your typical love story.

Antisocial by Jillian BlakeWhat if your greatest secrets became public? For the students at Alexandria Prep, a series of hacks leads to a scandalous firestorm–and the students are left wondering whose private photos and messages will be exposed next. It’s Pretty Little Liars meets WikiLeaks. Senior spring at Alexandria Prep was supposed to be for sleeping through class and partying with friends. But for Anna Soler, it’s going to be a lonely road. She’s just been dumped by her gorgeous basketball star boyfriend–with no explanation. Anna’s closest friends, the real ones she abandoned while dating him, are ignoring her. The endearing boy she’s always had a complicated friendship with is almost too sympathetic. But suddenly Anna isn’t the only one whose life has been upended. Someone is determined to knock the kings and queens of the school off their thrones: one by one, their phones get hacked and their personal messages and photos are leaked. At first it’s funny–people love watching the dirty private lives of those they envy become all too public. Then the hacks escalate. Dark secrets are exposed, and lives are shattered. Chaos erupts at school. As Anna tries to save those she cares about most and to protect her own secrets, she begins to understand the reality of our always-connected lives: Sometimes we share too much.

January Empties (P50P Pt 1)

01: L’Oreal Everstrong Reconstruct Shampoo – I really liked this shampoo, and I would happily purchase it again. I’ve found it difficult to find “drug store” hair products that don’t weigh down my fine hair, but this does a really good job of cleaning and leaving my hair soft without stripping or weighing it down.

02: L’Oreal Everstrong Reconstruct Shampoo – Don’t ask me why I had two of these tubes kicking around in my shower, but I did. As above, I loved this and would definitely repurchase it (after I’ve finished my Project Pan, of course).

03: Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner – This is probably my number one favourite drugstore hair care range. As with the L’Oreal Everstrong, this shampoo & conditioner duo works really well with fine hair, although I will say that this works a little bit better in adding silkiness and shine to the hair but they’re pretty much on-par in every other way.

04: Cutex Nourishing Nail Polish Remover – My first empty of the year! I had a back up of this ready to go once I’d finished this bottle because it’s my favourite nail polish remover. It smells good(?), and it works well to remove polish but still feels nice and gentle on my nails.

05: Givenchy Photo Perfexion Foundation in Perfect Ivory – I’m only able to include this in my Project 50 Pan tally because I already had a replacement in my stash ready and waiting. All future bottles of this will not be considered, because they will be replacements of something I’ve already finished up this year. Still my number one foundation.

06: Clinique Superbalanced Makeup in Alabaster – As above, I’m only able to include this because I had another bottle ready and waiting to go once this was finished. I only use this to help darken my Givenchy Foundation, which is slightly too light for me during summer. If I wear this alone it’s too dark, so I need to mix the two to find balance.

07: Clinique Chubby Stick in Mighty Mimosa – I was in two minds about including this, because I was seriously tempted to repurchase it. I talked myself out of it, because I have some other summery lip products that I want to try and finish up and get rid of. This is my most worn lip colour in the warmer months, I l-o-v-e it and I’m so sad to see it go.

Book Review: Shift by Em Bailey

Book: Shift by Em Bailey – paperback edition, 304 pages.

Synopsis: Olive Corbett is not crazy. Not anymore.

She obediently takes her meds and stays under the radar at school. After “the incident,” Olive just wants to avoid any more trouble, so she knows the smartest thing is to stay clear of the new girl who is rumored to have quite the creepy past.

But there’s no avoiding Miranda Vaile. As mousy Miranda edges her way into the popular group, right up to the side of queen bee Katie – and pushes the others right out – only Olive seems to notice that something strange is going on. Something almost… parasitic. Either Olive is losing her grip on reality, or Miranda Vaile is stealing Katie’s life.

But who would ever believe crazy Olive, the girl who has a habit of letting her imagination run away with her? And what if Olive is the next target?

My thoughts: Honestly, there is nothing worse for me than starting a book only to find out it has paranormal themes in it. Not my scene at all. In this case, it is entirely my fault because I did little to no research before picking this up. I liked Em Bailey’s book ‘The Special Ones’, so I thought I’d give this a go. I persevered with this despite the fact it included paranormal themes, mostly just because it’s rare for me to stop reading a book once I’ve started. It has to be truly terrible for that to happen.

There really wasn’t much I liked about this book. I did like that it was set in Australia, although it took me a while to figure that out (not until the protagonist started using “mum” instead of “mom”). I didn’t like any of the characters in the book, and at one point the main character pissed me off so much I nearly gave up on reading. Who leaves their baby brother home alone (granted, asleep) and goes out to party? I really wish there had been repercussions following that to serve as some sort of lesson, but nope – things carried on as usual. There was also an insta-love thing playing out throughout the book, which I’ve never been a big fan of.

All things considered I actually didn’t mind the paranormal element of this book, it was probably the most interesting aspect of the story. I’m not sure I’d recommend this, but if you’re after a quick read that involves a unique kind of paranormal element, you might want to pick this up.

Rating: 4/10