Talking About ‘Love, Iris’ with Bibliobeth!

Love, Iris

How did I get it?:
It was a present!

Synopsis:

Tess has a secret – one which is going to turn her life upside down in just nine months’ time.

The only person she can confide in is her beloved grandmother. But Iris is slipping further away each day.

Then chance brings a stranger into Tess’s life.

Gigi’s heart goes out to Tess, knowing what it’s like to feel alone. She’s determined to show her that there’s a silver lining to every cloud.

As their unlikely friendship blossoms, Tess feels inspired to open up.

But something still holds her back – until she discovers Iris has a secret of her own. A suitcase of letters from another time, the missing pieces of a life she never shared.

Could the letters hold the answers that Tess thought lost for ever?

CHRISSI: I knew you would initially be unsure of reading this book. What was it that made you unsure?

BETH: Ah, you know me too well. I’m afraid to say that one again it was the cover that was initially a turn off for me. I have to be compelled to pick up a book and a beautiful cover can be the magic moment where I’ll pick it up and want to read the blurb on the back. I’m afraid with Love, Iris, if I ordinarily saw it in a bookshop, I wouldn’t even pick it up to read the back. I would (wrongly) assume that it wasn’t going to be the book for me. I’m glad that reading books with you as part of our “Talking About” series is making me pick up books that I wouldn’t normally and being pleasantly surprised as a result!

BETH: Interspersed amongst the story are Tess’ letters to her developing baby. Did you enjoy these and what do you think they added to the narrative?

CHRISSI: Great question! I did enjoy the letters to her developing baby. I think they made Tess really relatable especially to prospective mothers. You could sense Tess’ insecurities about motherhood but also her growing bond with her developing baby. I thought that was really sweet.

CHRISSI: Discuss the novel’s varying depictions of marriage. What kinds of relationships seem most likely to fail or succeed? Ultimately, do you think marriage is seen as a positive or negative in the story?

BETH: Such an interesting question. Okay, so we have various relationships in the book – we have the older generation of Iris and her husband who were very happily married compared to Gigi and Richard who have been married for years and have three grown children together but recently Gigi has been feeling unhappy and taken for granted and decides a period of separation would be a good idea. Then there is Iris’ grand-daughter Tess who is pregnant but not in a relationship and her mother Donna who has raised her as a single parent. I don’t think you can ever predict what relationships will fail or succeed to be honest and I also don’t think marriage is the be all and end all. As Gigi has shown, you can be married for years and then realise you’re not happy and personally, I supported her decision to bail out if she wasn’t content. You never know what’s going to happen in the future and how your relationship with your partner will evolve (or not evolve which is sometimes the problem!) On a personal level, I’ve been with my partner since 2002, we aren’t married and have no plans to do so and we are perfectly happy. I don’t think marriage is always necessary to ensure a successful relationship.

BETH: Tess has quite a difficult relationship with her mother, Donna. How do you think this developed as the story continued?

CHRISSI: She really did have a difficult relationship with her mother. I think it developed into a sort of understanding throughout the story. As Tess began to lose Iris, and become a mother herself, I believe it made her want to sort things out with her own mother. I think losing a close friend or family member gives you perspective and makes you want to sort out issues that could be in relationships. I don’t think Tess and her mother will be the closest, but I think their experiences brought them together.

CHRISSI: Did you have a favourite character? If so, who and why?

BETH: I can’t choose! I have so many favourite characters in this novel. I loved our main female leads – Tess, Gigi and to a certain extent, Iris (although I would have loved to know even MORE about her life). I felt that as characters they were all personable, easy to like and I found myself rooting for their happiness from the very start of the story.

BETH: What effect does keeping secrets have on each of the characters? What about when they reveal these secrets?

CHRISSI: I feel like both Tess and Gigi’s secret was better for them when it came to light. Tess was hiding her pregnancy and although her boyfriend was a bit of a turd about the pregnancy, her life was definitely on the up after the secret was revealed. Gigi wasn’t happy in her marriage. I think she had kept it secret for so long to keep up the happy family vibe with her children that she clearly adored. Even though it was tough for her to leave her marriage and upset her children, it was the best thing for her. No one wants to stay in a relationship like that. Life may have been a little messy for Gigi, but the future could be brighter. Iris… oh I loved that character. She kept so many secrets about her brother Tom from her family. I wish we could have known more from Iris. Secrets was definitely a common theme in this story but mainly love, family and self-discovery.

CHRISSI: Discuss whether you agree with Wilf’s entreaty to Iris that ‘love is the simplest thing in the world.’ How do the relationships in the novel support or contradict this statement?

BETH: Wow. Tough. It is and it isn’t is my answer! I think it can be very easy to fall in love with someone – after all, it doesn’t take much effort and is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. However, I think staying in love with someone can be very difficult, both of the individuals have to make a concerted effort with each other otherwise they can end up in a stagnant place where they take each other for granted, much like Gigi and Richard find themselves. Also, being in love with someone where the feelings aren’t reciprocated as strongly can be quite dangerous because you open up your heart enormously and leave yourself vulnerable to becoming very hurt.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I would! I thought this was a great read! 🙂

Would I recommend it?:

BETH: Of course!

CHRISSI: Of course!

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Fairy Tale Friday- The Mole’s Wedding

I had never heard this Korean tale before, so I looked forward to reading it for this week’s post.

It starts with a mention of a great stone statue that stood tall near the river Kingin. Nearby this river, lived a mole and his wife who had a daughter that they loved. A handsome young mole came to ask if he could marry their daughter, but the father told him that his daughter deserved to marry the greatest being in the world. His daughter was sad and asked who the greatest being in the world is. Her father replied that nothing was greater than the sun. The mole asked the sun to marry his daughter, but the sun replied that the Cloud could hide its face, so the Cloud was far greater.

The mole asked the Cloud to marry his daughter, and the Cloud said that Wind had more power. Mole asked Crane to fly him to the mountain peak to speak to the Wind. The Wind said that in fact, the great stone statue had more power because it was unable to be moved. Once again, the mole went to beg for marriage for his daughter. The statue told the mole that there was a creature that burrowed through the ground beneath him and that would knock him over one day.  Mole was surprised to come across the young mole beneath the statue and begged him for forgiveness. The handsome mole was happy to marry the daughter, but only if she agreed! She did and they had a wonderful wedding. The wind blew the clouds away from the sun so that it could shine down on the river and create a wonderful day for them!

Aw, so cute!

Next Fairy Tale- The Runaway Pancake

Chrissi’s Class Reads #11

Yep, that’s right! We’ve been reading lots again. Since October, when I last did this post, we’ve read 12 books! Here they are, with links to Goodreads if you’re interested.

Pugs Of The Frozen North

Pugs of the Frozen North

This was a book that was read for pleasure ❤ I prefer Oliver and The Seawigs by this author, but the class enjoyed it on the whole!

Black Dog

Black Dog

We used this book to talk about tackling fears.

Stone Age Boy

Stone Age Boy

This book was read during our Stone Age topic for pleasure! 🙂 I like to find books on the same topic, especially if they’re fiction in a heavily non fiction topic.

Stone Age, Bone Age

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We read this book for pleasure during our Stone Age topic!

The Secrets Of Stonehenge

The Secrets of Stonehenge

We read this book in our reading lessons for our Stone Age topic!

The Huge Bag Of Worries

The Huge Bag Of Worries (Big Books)

This was another book that we used to tackle emotions.

The Day The Crayons Quit

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We used this book in Science. The crayons are misused and end up wanting to quit. We used this book to stimulate interest in changing solids to liquids. The children melted the crayons over hot water and then observed their change of state. We also looked at how the state changed again when the wax cooled.

Fish Is Fish

Fish is Fish

This was a book that we used to discuss how differences between others is what make us what we are!

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

We read this book for pleasure near Christmas time!

Not Now Bernard

Not Now, Bernard

We used this book in our PSHE (Personal, Social, Health Education) about relationships with parents.

Badger’s Parting Gifts

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This book helped teach the concept of dealing with bereavement.

Around The World In 80 Days

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For our writing this half term, we have been reading this version of the classic Around The World In 80 Days. It is so accessible for young children.

What do you make of the books we’ve read over the past 3 months? I won’t leave it so long next time!

This Week In Books #143

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

Book images go to Goodreads!

NOW

Dear Mrs Bird

I am just starting this book to read for my feature with my sister, Beth. I think it’s going to be a good one!

THEN

Day of the Accident

I thought this was a gripping thriller! My review will be out towards the end of the month!

NEXT

Without Merit

I’m going to try and get around to this book! I should have read it a while ago! Eek.

What are you reading this week? Let me know!

Top Ten Favourite Couples In Books

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It’s all about love of lists, love of literature and bringing bookish people together. 

This week we’re listing books that have our favourite couples in them! So here are mine in no particular order…

  1. Nimira and Erris- Magic Under Stone/Magic Under Glass- Jaclyn Dolamore– I love this couple. A very unusual love but adorable all the same.
  2. Lou and Will- Me Before You- Jojo Moyes- I’ll always love this couple! ❤
  3. Simon and Blue- Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda- Becky Albertalli– I can’t have a couples list and not mention these two, basically.
  4. Mateo and Rufus- They Both Die At The End- Adam Silvera– This relationship may be quick, but it just works for me. ❤
  5. Olly and Madeleine- Everything, Everything- Nicola Yoon– I loved this relationship. I grew fonder of it page by page.
  6. Cain and Charlie- Four Seconds To Lose- K.A. Tucker– A believable relationship. I’m down for that.
  7. Billy and Sophie- Billy and Me- Giovanna Fletcher– A very fabulous book with a relationship that I rooted for.
  8. Katherine and Matthew- The Next Together- Lauren James– I loved this relationship in every era.
  9. Don and Rosie- The Rosie Project- Graeme Simison– A quirky relationship that worked!
  10. Rev and Emma- More Than We Can Tell- Brigid Kemmerer- I thought this relationship built slowly and I appreciated that.

Tell me about your favourite relationships! Do we share any? Let me know!

A Version Of The Truth

A Version of the Truth

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Avon Books

Synopsis:

2019: Julianne is preparing a family dinner when her son comes to her and says he’s found something on his iPad. Something so terrible, it will turn Julianne’s world into a nightmare and make her question everything about her marriage and what type of man her husband is or is pretending to be.

1990: Holly is a fresher student at Oxford University. Out of her depth and nervous about her surroundings, she falls into an uneasy friendship with a group of older students from the upper echelons of society and begins to develop feelings for one in particular. He’s confident, quiet, attractive and seems to like her too. But as the year progresses, her friends’ behaviour grows steadily more disconcerting and Holly begins to realise she might just be a disposable pawn in a very sinister game.

A devastating secret has simmered beneath the surface for over twenty-five years. Now it’s time to discover the truth. But what if you’re afraid of what you might find?

Thoughts:

I didn’t know much about this book before I picked it up. The synopsis sold it for me, so I took up the opportunity to read it. I meant to have finished it way before now, but unfortunately work was incredibly hectic, so I couldn’t get this book out as anticipated on its release day. I’m always up for discovering new authors, especially debut authors. There’s no denying that this book is well written. I just found it to be very intense.

It centres around Julianne who is preparing dinner when her son Stephen comes to tell her that he’s found something awful. He was on the home computer when he found something among his dad’s files. Julianne is nervous to see exactly what it was. After she sees it, she realises life won’t be the same again. Her marriage starts to unravel as a secret from the past comes back to haunt them.

What I liked about this book was that it was told in a dual narrative that really worked. We heard from 1991 and the current 2019. Julianne’s story was told alongside Holly. Both girls were students at Oxford University. They weren’t particularly good friends, but they knew of each other and both wanted to keep something that happened back in 2019.

I would warn that there is some incredibly sensitive content within its pages. There’s rape and homophobia to name a few themes. Yet, there’s something about this book that keeps you turning its pages. I found it incredibly difficult to read at points. It also used some quite strong language that always makes me cringe. The writer deals with these subjects incredibly well and creates a story that’s quite the page turner!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Worth a read! Just beware of the subject matter!

A Week In The Life Of A Primary School Teacher- The Worst Week Of My Teaching Life: Inspectors and Stomach Bugs

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my life as a primary school teacher. I currently work at a primary school teaching 7-9 year olds. I have worked for two years with 6-7 years, 1 year with 7-9 and now I’m returning to my favourite age! My training posts on this subject were really successful and so therapeutic for me, therefore I’ve decided to continue posting on the topic. I will not be naming any children, or the school where I work. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind! Bookish goodness returns as normal Monday-Saturday!

What. A. Week. Oh my goodness. I don’t know what to really say this week. I can’t say much until our OFSTED report is out. If our grading comes out before the report is published then they can reinspect. Trust me. I don’t want that pressure again so soon. This was my first OFSTED of my teaching career. Just know it has been incredibly draining. As you may know, I have terrible anxiety that is managed by medication. Not even my medication could help my mental health this week- bleurgh.

Then, to top it all off, this post is coming to you late because I’ve had a stomach bug all day. I’m feeling super fragile, but I’m not being sick…or the other… for now. I wanted to get a post up because it’s super cathartic for me. Lying in bed all day has certainly made me reflect. For some reason I’ve become super relaxed this year in my teaching. I think it’s down to finally being comfortable in the team that I work closely with. I personally think I’ve let my teaching slide a little. I know that people who know me, would disagree and think it’s just my anxiety talking. However, I know in my heart of hearts that my class haven’t made the progress they usually do. I have a term and a half to turn that around so I feel like I need to go in tomorrow (if I’m not sick again!) and get my act together.

After this week, it’ll be a week off (even though I have to write reports) but it’ll be a good opportunity to reflect once more and think about the way forward.

Sorry for the negative post. I just needed to vent.