BOOK REVIEW: BARE (GET THIS BOOK NOW!)

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I hardly ever listen to the radio when I drive (long story) but as fate would have it yesterday afternoon, I was tuned into Metro FM along with a myriad of other fellow South African’s who were curious to hear about and understand Jackie Phamotse’s rendition of the underbelly of South Africa’s 1% and their very interesting lifestyle in her latest book titled “BARE”. I found myself being so engrossed by her story and strength to actually speak out and tell her story and the stories of the women around her who had been sucked into this elite yet damaging lifestyle and social circle.

As soon as the interview ended I was on the phone with Exclusive Books, doing everything I possibly could to source a copy of her book. Curiosity had gotten the better of me, so I bought it, then read it today and here are my thoughts, very briefly.

Firstly I must note that I think the way Jackie decided to structure the story worked well. It allows the reader to literally sink into the book. The book was written in chronological order and is based on a story about a girl named Treasure Mohapi. The story takes the reader through Treasure’s upbringing (which is sadly a very relatable story for any South African child) and the author highlights elements that build up to when she ends up in Johannesburg  as a blessee and ultimately leading to her spiritual demise.

As a character, one can see how the author has woven personal and borrowed experiences to deliver the message and I think because of this, it is a great storyline and lives up to the purpose. I do believe she will continue to make a killing off the book sales however I do believe that it was not personal enough. At some points it almost read like a story and yes, maybe the experience was too graphic to share directly, but I think it would have left readers gasping more had it been written in the form of a memoir because what she exposes us too is REAL. This is not a story, its a reality and if the aim is to drive awareness around this life and the repercussions, give it to the reader straight. It isn’t a fairytale and I think some parts/ events of the book could have been glamorized which is extremely dangerous as it is potentially misleading.

I must say though, in hindsight maybe reading BARE could have made me think  a bit differently about materialistic possessions, its somewhat of a “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” for the Johannesburg female yuppie. It makes one see how having a purpose and knowing your “why” is so important because the value of life can get quite meaningless when everything you can possibly desire becomes attainable to you.

So in closing:

Highlights: The Hockey Club story of course! (See the two pages I posted on my Insta stories last night)

Lowlights: The progression to the blessee storyline was too dragged out, if you want to save yourself time, read from when Treasure got to matric (which is inevitably in the middle of the book- I KNOW….ghaad)

Would I recommend this book: DEFINITO

If you have managed to get a copy of this book, please like the post and share your views! lets get this convo flowing peeps 🙂

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BOOK REVIEW: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (Final Review- holy crap!)

Paula Hawkins: Author of The Girl On The Train (Numer 1 New York Times Bestseller)

Okay, so let me start off by saying, I AM SHOOK. Also in this into I must give kudos to Paula Hawkins I would be lying if I said after each of my reading sessions I wasn’t the slightest bit afraid or paranoid at night. The Girl On The Train (TGOTT)was such an incredibly well written book and I am happy that I picked it to join my other children on the shelf.

When I initially purchased TGOTT, it was primarily because of what I had read about its similarities to Gone Girlby Gillian Flynn. If we have ever had a conversation around books, you know how much I loooooved Gone Girl- the book, not the movie (yuck), so I thought “hey why not?”.

Upon the commencement of reading this book, I must admit, I experienced hectic nostalgia back to when I was reading Gone Girl (GG) back in 2015 and I was slightly disappointed because as I went through the book I could very easily pick up where the storyline was going and predict how sections of the book would turn out. However, although similar (from a storyline perspective) it was absolutely NOTHING like GG. GG was an introduction to how twisted relationships/ humanity can get, then TGOTT just took the baton and rode that narrative all the way to psycho thriller land.

Paula’s writing, if I can compare it to food, is like a macaroon from Laduree ; light and delicate, on your palate but full of flavor. It’s nothing like what you have ever experienced before and it leaves you wanting more after the first bite. I was gasping, experiencing chest pains, getting disappointed at character’s stupid decisions, everything! I. FELT. IT. ALL and I was so impressed by these feels.

Personally, I think some authors fail to provide the correct level of detail a reader need for suspense and they also fail to deliver the plot twists at the right time and in the right way and boy does Paula Hawkins deliver! She is so descriptive that I could even go out and direct the movie for TGOTT (I am so afraid to watch the movie, I know already that it will be a let down). Reading this book took me back to the days when I used to be obsessed (trust me, what you see on my Instagram page is nothing compared to how I used to be) with Kathy Reichs novels. Yes, I know I say every book is a page turner, (even though its because I choose to read really good books, HOWEVER, this one was beautiful. Simply beautiful.

Highlights: The ending (Just before “the end”), when Rachel, Anna and Tom have a young reunion. I LOVED THE ENDING…I will leave it there.

Lowlights: Hmmm,not many, I wish Scott featured more after he lost his marbles and also I wish the transition to my highlight could have been written better, it felt a bit knee- jerky, especially after Anna and Rachel’s history. I found Anna was too calm for my liking when she saw Rachel at her doorstep. It almost seemed unreal/ unnatural because I know for a fact that is not how a human being would behave- but these characters are psyco, so hey, maybe it works haha!

Would I recommend this book: YAAAS! It won’t take a crime thriller enthusiast to love this book.

Get your copy of The Girl On The Trainhere  and let me know what you think(South Africa).

Hope you enjoyed my review! Don’t forget to like the post and leave your comments around your views if you read the book as well 🙂

Book Review: The girl on the train (my thoughts so far)

Why am I reading (and possibly closing out my year with) The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins? Well firstly because I needed a book that would guarantee to heal the trauma I experienced from attempting to read The heart is a lonely hunter, and secondly because I could no longer resist staring at, and not just reading the very first hardcover book to make my collection!

It’s been a week since I started reading The girl on the train and I must say, I am pleasantly surprised. From the moment I scooped this gem up at the Exclusive Books sale for R160 (from R400) I can certainly say the accountant in me was hella chuffed.

If you know me well enough you know how much I die for psycho thriller reads! When I read that The girl on the train was similar to Gone Girl, I simply couldn’t resist giving the book a chance and well… so far I must say, its pretty close!

The book is set and written in the UK. The main character, Rachel, is a millennial alcoholic divorcee whose picture perfect future was swept right under her and she is now forced to live through her ex husband moving on with a new woman that he decided to marry, have a child with (something that a barren Rachel couldn’t accomplish) and live with in a house that Rachel picked out and bought for the both of them to start their future.

At this point in the book, Rachel is basically hitting rock bottom. Her alcoholism and unemployment are at an all time high and she finds herself behaving in unexplainable ways. For reasons elaborated in the book, Rachel resorts to stalking her ex in order to cope and deal with her trauma and throughout this almost ritualistic activity, she picks up on another couple, not staying too far from her ex husband to pay interest to as well. One day, Rachel gets so intoxicated that she blacks out and the next thing she knows, she’s naked in bed with a gash on her head. the next day, the police show up at her doorstep looking for answers relating to her activities the previous night that could possibly be linked to a kidnapping (of her ex husband’s daughter) and the disappearance of the woman she stalked from time to time.

I read Gone Girl 2 years ago, although the storyline is there in my mind it is quite fuzzy. So far I can definitely see why people would compare this book to it however, something in my gut tells me that The girl on the train is hands down more well written than Gone Girl. Paula Hawkins really knows how to keep a reader in suspense and desperate to turn the pages of her story. Another thing I seem to love now which this book shares with Americanah, is that each chapter is the story of a different character, I think it’s an amazing way to tell and showcase a complex story from a specific character’s perspective while building up to a specific point when all these lives will collide and make sense as one.

All in all, so far, so amazing! I’m really enjoying The girl on the train and would certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoys psycho thrillers, suspense and just reading about messy human beings so you can live vicariously through them- or validate your own bad decisions!

Don’t forget to subscribe for email notifications and follow the blog so you can read my final review of the book! If you’re curious to read other book reviews you can click on the tag “book review” on the home page and this will take you to all the book reviews I have published so far on FemaleMillennialMusings 🙂

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird (Part 2)

It has been two weeks now since I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird; during a DMC that I engaged in with one of my friends today we found ourselves questioning whether set-books in high school were purposefully chosen in order of dis-functionality or was it based on how closely the novel represented real life? This conversation got me thinking that, although classics are relevant and important, how incredible it would be to promote African authors and their literature in our African schools. Filling our classrooms with lessons and stories that are both relatable and educational with a frame of reference that is closer to home. Just a thought…

Now to get into the final post of the full book review…

To Kill a Mockingbird is a story written and set in the 60’s in the Southern parts of America. The book is narrated by Scout Finch, a brave young girl (An Arya Stark of sorts if you like), incredibly funny and incredibly brave with a swing like Mayweather. Scout lives with her brother Jem (aka Jeremy) and Lawyer father Atticus. Their mother passed away when both children were young and the children take to Calpurnia (their house help) as a second mother who guides and grooms the children throughout the story, enforcing a strict yet loving influence over them.

Amongst other things, the story highlights and showcases how destructive ignorance can be; the dangers of small- mindedness, as well as the ramifications of stereotyping while reflecting how far the legal system has come. We are still not equal or free, but thank God we are not where we used to be. Aluta Continua!

Although fictional, there was something I found so captivating about how much Atticus kept to his values and his truth with so much conviction. There’s something so powerful about a person who can go beyond what he feels to do what is right at the end of the day, despite societal pressure and because of that I think anyone can learn a handful from To Kill a Mockingbird.

My mom says I say this after every book but honestly, this is the best book I have EVER read and most definitely my most favorite. I have always been confused by how fleeting the response was when one asked how people knew they had found “the one” and they simply responded by “you just know”. Although books aren’t people (they sure are more stable than some people I know) but I can possibly say, for once… I think I know what all these people mean. I have not yet read all the books in the world (and will certainly never accomplish this) but it doesn’t take me reading a whole lot of books to tell you that I have found “The One”. My favourite book of all time. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling just a little bit “laah-dee-dah” at that fact that it’s a classic.

My review is by no means something you can rely on as a scholar as I had never read this book during school (and thank God for that because I can now read it uninhibited by bias and the pressures to get full marks for a literature paper) so I’d probably miss all the irrelevant “important bits” teachers harp on. But from a personal/ self reflective perspective I can say I got more than what I bargained for. What an incredible week-long journey…. one that when I had reached the last page, audibly gasped in despair that I had finished too soon and simply was not prepared for the last page!
I really don’t think I’ve done the book justice in terms of sharing lessons learned or about expressing the amazingness of the late Harper Lee’s writing, but I am so grateful to have experienced both. But now that I think about it, sharing both of these would simply ruin the experience for the next reader and that’s not the point for me.

All I can say is, if you have not read this book yet, get your hands on it as soon as possible. You don’t need to be going through anything to be ready for it, it meets you where you are and ambushes you through 300 odd pages of one of the most enthralling fictional experiences you will ever encounter. You’ll become Southern AF from page one and you won’t want to put it down until you’re done. What a pleasure!

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird (Part 1)


Almost halfway into this incredible classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, and I thought, I just must document my thoughts in this informal book review.

Firstly, I must say high school set books usually come with so much richness in knowledge and wisdom that many of us take for granted in our teen years. Fortunately for me “To Kill A Mockingbird” is one of those books that I did not have the privilege to dishonor growing up and as such, have gone back to this Classic at a much mature stage to appreciate it in totality, after gathering much wounds in adulthood to increase the appreciation haha!

From the minute I opened this book after purchasing it. There was something about it that silently whispered “let’s go back to the basics of humanity that are very much overlooked yet necessary”. Harper Lee (May her soul Rest In Peace) wrote a masterpiece. I have never read a book so deep and easy at the same time.

The perception I have of classics is that they are books written decades ago and hold a certain air of seriousness and morbidmess. Boy is this book funny! There are not many books that can get a serious message across and in the same sentence make you ball your eyes with laughter.

The innocence of Scout and Jem is one thing you will definitely fall in love with. Atticus and Calpurnia are the definition of a “Star Team” and Atticus’ conviction to his conscience is one thing I admire most as it teaches one that at the end of the day, despite how you believe people have wronged you and insulted you and taken you for granted, people are people who are just trying to live; and the more you let your peace reside in their presence the easier it is to help them heal.

So far, so flipping good 💯🔥.

Book Review: Americanah (My thoughts so far)

So I have been the biggest fan of Chimamanda since we all first heard her speech in Beyonce’s music video “Flawless”.

However, being the fussy reader that I am, I have been putting off buying her books, despite the raving comments I heard. To be honest, when I think about why it took me so long, it wasn’t because I did not think she was a fantastic writer. I was just so intimidated (read: lazy) by the African names and context.

As an African blogger and avid reader from South Africa, my biggest fear was that I would pick up one of her books and just simply NOT RELATE. I thought I’d try and give Americanah a try and close it bitterly after trying to drill the character names into my head and relate to the storyline and the characters experiences. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be black or African enough to get it and the last thing I wanted was to read about the people of my land from a foreign context, I did not want to feel like and imposter. I was so terrified of just disliking liking it.

But alas! After an hour of research and debate in the bookstore I walked out (with a little reservation and confidence) on my new purchase and addition which was Americanah. Why was I never told Ifemelu was a blogger who had monitozed her blog!? People. I would have long been within this book if I knew this!

Needless to say, I cannot express how estatic I am to have one of Chimamanda’s pieces of literature on my bedside table. It is so surreal, and my love for her writing and storyline in the current book I am reading just make the novel that much dreamier. If I could compare Chimamanda’s writing style to food I’d say it smells like French vanilla and melts in your mouth like rich dark cocoa. Her storylines are extensive, and as deep as a freshly brewed pot of coffeee on a Monday morning. I’m in love! My second African author and I am simply in love!

I’m left with 1/3 of the book to go and I just cannot bring myself to finishing it. Do you have any recommendations of a book just as lovely, either written by her or other female African authors? Please swing your recommendations to me via the comments box 🙂

I cannot wait to share my final thoughts and my deconstructed version of a book review with you!

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5 things Americanah taught me about being African

When one gets their wisdom teeth removed, very many things can happen, one of these things, naturally as a bookworm, is having time to read. In between the moments of fatigue and pain I devoured the last few pages I had been savoring of Americanah and finally today I read the final page of an incredible journey found in a book.

As you may have read in my previous blog post (Americanah: My thoughts so far), I was initially apprehensive about reading African literature, but Chimamanda writes in such an incredible way that allows for “cop- outs” as I have alluded to before. She leaves the reader feeling included, catered for and understood in their thought process throughout the journey of reading the book irrespective of the readers background.

Having now completed Americanah, and excitingly attracted some African bloggers to my post, I can certainly say for sure that this experience has taught me the following:

1. Africa as big and diverse as it is, shares a common thread of understanding amongst its people. We all share similar perspectives of what struggle, hope, triumph and success look like.

2. Show me an African who doesn’t like America or London and I will prove to your that person is not from Africa. There’s just something about these places man haha!

3. Interracial relationships… as diverse as the world has now become, society is still very backwards. I have so much to add to this section but for now I will just say this- Chimamanda laid it down in this book! I have never felt like anyone truly understood this dynamic as much as she did when she wrote about it in the Curt chapters. I felt like I was having a DMC with a bff who finally GETS IT.

4. Blesser/blessee life is everywhere and it’s universal. It’s not a black thing.

5. African stories and story writers are out of this world. It doesn’t matter which country you’re from in Africa, we all share similar narratives. There is no better place to gain inspiration from than from an African context. There is just something that hit home when I read this book, a feeling of reading something familiar, as much as it was fictional and influenced by a Nigerian context. I truly felt at home between its modern threads as a South African.

Americanah has been such a joy. One of the realest and most relatable books I’ve read this year. It felt more like a DMC session with a good friend than it felt like reading. At the same time that I was going through this journey with Ifemelu, I felt my own mind and soul detoxing and releasing all these memories and questions I had bottled and buried far within my soul.

Final Verdict: What a joy! I cannot wait to add another one of these gems in my collection!

*If you have any recommendations for female African authors I should look out for and the titles of their books, please swing them my way in the comments section!