Newest Home and Family Reviews

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Review of

It Isn't Rude to be Nude by Rosie Haine

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This could have been one of those books which 'preaches to the choir': the only people who'll buy it are the people who know that nudity is OK and the ones who know that it's shameful will avoid it like they avoid the hot-and-bothered person in the supermarket who is coughing fit to bust. But... Rosie Haines makes it into something so much more than a book about not wearing clothes. It's a celebration of bodies: bodies large and small and of every possible hue. Bodies with disabilities and markings. They're fine. In fact, they're wonderful. Full Review

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Review of

Single, Again, and Again, and Again by Louisa Pateman

4.5star.jpg Autobiography

You can't be happy and fulfilled on your own. You are not complete until you find a man.

This was what Louisa Pateman was brought up to believe. It wasn't unkind: it was simply the adults in her life advising her as to what they thought would be best for her. It was reinforced by all those fairy tales where the girl (she's usually fairly young) is rescued by the handsome prince who then marries her so that they can live happily ever after. Few girls are lucky enough to be brought up without the expectation that they will marry and have children. It was a belief and it would be many years before Louisa would conclude that a belief is a choice. Full Review

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Review of

Find Another Place by Ben Graff

3.5star.jpg Autobiography

When Ben Graff's grandfather Martin handed him a plastic folder of handwritten notes from his journal, he didn't take much notice of it. At the age of 24, Graff didn't realise the gravity of the pages he was holding. Full Review

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Review of

It's Worth a Try by Nicola Goodland

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This is how Nicola Goodland introduces her book, It's Worth a Try:

I wanted to write this kind of book because when I was a young woman, ladies and gents told me that they suffered from abuse of some kind as children and only found the courage to talk about it as adults. Maybe this book can deter children from becoming future abusers and stop abuse so it goes away for good. Full Review

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Review of

Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight: A Young Man's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida and David Mitchell

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Naoki Higashida was only 13 years old when he wrote the international best-seller The Reason I Jump. The book was popular because it gave a rare glimpse into the workings of the autistic mind, as told from the unique perspective of a teenager with non-verbal autism. Naoki communicates by using an alphabet grid, or by tracing letters on the palm of a transcriber. Despite this slow and laborious method of writing, he has published several books in his native Japan and manages to give public presentations to raise awareness of his condition. Fall Down 7 Times Get up 8 reintroduces us to Naoki as a young adult in his 20s and explains how his perspectives on life have changed since writing his first book. Full Review

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Review of

Girling Up by Mayim Bialik

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This book arrived on my desk to cries of Amy Farrah Fowler's written a book? or No, that's Blossom depending on your generation. Mayim Bialik is or was both, of course, but in addition to being a well-known sitcom actress, she is also a neuroscientist (and the only PhD on The Big Bang Theory, except for the characters). Aimed at teenagers, this book focuses on growing up as a girl, or Girling up if you will, and what it means to transition from school girl to grown-up, via that hideous detour of teenage years. Full Review

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Review of

Choosing the Perfect Puppy by Pippa Mattinson

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If you have ever, for even a fleeting moment, thought about getting a puppy, you really ought to read this book. Too many people are carried away in the heat of the moment and must have a particular breed and go ahead without any thought about the consequences. They then have to live with the problems which might have been avoided for a decade or more. The puppy and the adult dog also has to live with an owner who might not be able to accommodate his needs. Pippa Mattinson is my go-to author on matters dog related: she talks sense. She doesn't try to talk you out of getting a particular breed or any puppy: she simply presents the facts and allows you to make your own decisions. Full Review

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Review of

Grow: A Family Guide to Growing Fruit and Veg by Ben Raskin

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I worried when I looked at this book: Grow, it said, A family guide to growing fruit and veg. Why did it worry me? Well, it's a mere 48 pages and the cover says that it includes Games, stickers and MORE! I have weighty tomes which don't completely cover what I need to know about growing fruit and veg, so wasn't this going to fall a little short? Well, it doesn't - not at all. Full Review

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Review of

Camping With Kids by Simon McGrath

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When my daughter was young it used to be joked that if a child asked on his fifth birthday to go camping and you told him that he could in five years' time, he'd be there on his tenth birthday, all kitted up and ready to go. These days the discussions - and delaying tactics - are more likely to be about technology - and mobiles in particular. Whilst it's wonderful that children do embrace technology, it shouldn't be at the expense of getting out in the fresh air, being free of screens and having an adventure - preferably with all the family doing it together. Full Review

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Review of

My Son's Not Rainman: One Man, One Autistic Boy, A Million Adventures by John Williams

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In 2012, stand-up comedian John Williams was encouraged by his work colleagues to write a show charting his experiences as the parent of an autistic boy. After registering the domain name: My Son's Not Rainman, he also decided to write a blog to share his funny anecdotes and experiences. After a shaky start (I had a handful of followers. Three of them were my brothers), the blog eventually went viral as it increased in popularity with parents who felt a connection with John and 'The Boy'. This book fills in some of the gaps in the story, starting with 'The Boy's' early childhood and ending, appropriately, on his thirteenth birthday when he suddenly became 'The Teen'. Full Review

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Review of

My Brain Is Out Of Control by Patrick Mbaya

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Dr Patrick Mbaya was enjoying life as a consultant psychiatrist, husband and father. His career was going well and he enjoyed making ill people better. His marriage was solid and fulfilling and his two children were exploring their potential, often through the uplifting power of music. Life was good. But then... Full Review

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Review of

Beloved Old Age and What to Do About it: Margery Allingham's the Relay by Margery Allingham and Julia Jones

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We remember Margery Allingham as a novelist from the golden age of crime, perhaps not as famous as Agatha Christie or Dorothy L Sayers but certainly well regarded by those who appreciate good writing and excellent plotting. Her last completed book was not a novel but The Relay, a combined account of caring for three elderly relatives, (Em, Maud and Grace) between 1959 and 1961 and suggestions as to how other people might achieve a good old age for their relatives. Margery died in 1966 and The Relay was never published in the form in which it was written. Full Review

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Review of

Peace of Mind: A Book of Calm for Busy Mums by Georgina Rodgers

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The promise of a book bringing me calm was too much to resist! There it is, in the title, my job description (busy mum...well, that's just one of my jobs!) and that elusive state that many mums seem to be trying to find, peace of mind. I have to say, I was looking forward to some insightful revelations into changing my life. I think the problem, however, was quickly apparent in that like a busy mum, who is trying to wear a hundred masks at the same time, and carry out a multitude of roles, this book isn't entirely sure what it's trying to be, with everything from poetry and colouring to mindfulness and recipes. Full Review

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Review of

The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

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Roger the Rabbit wanted to fall asleep, but somehow he couldn't, no matter how hard he tried. It wasn't that he didn't do much during the day, because he did but sometimes he was so tired that he could fall asleep on the swings. One night Mummy Rabbit took Roger to see Uncle Yawn, who had a notice outside his house saying I can make anyone fall asleep and once Roger went home (it was actually quite difficult for him to get there as his eyes kept closing) he went straight to bed and fell asleep. Full Review

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Review of

The Gift of Failure: How to step back and let your child succeed by Jessica Lahey

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Lahey's introduction claims today's over-protective failure-avoidant parenting style is responsible for the caution and fear she witnesses in young people every day in her job as a secondary school teacher, causing them to dislike learning. She goes on to claim that, through this parenting style, we have inadvertently taught our kids to fear failure at all costs. Full Review

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Review of

Caring for Shirley by John Kemp

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John Kemp's wife, Shirley, suffered from dementia and loss of coordination and for eight years he was her full-time carer as she was unable to walk unaided (well, she could - but it was likely to result in a serious fall) and took care of all her most personal needs. Probably the most heart-breaking part of this is that Shirley didn't recognise John as her husband - apart from 'give us a kiss', the question 'where's John?' was usually the first which sprang to her lips in any situation. Although she could often have quite an affable disposition she was capable of kicking and biting when she was being 'encouraged' to do something which she didn't want to do. Full Review

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Review of

Tips From Widows by Jan Robinson

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I'm not a widow and I secretly hope that I never will be, but I picked up Tips From Widows when a close friend (who is supporting someone who knows that becoming a widow is frighteningly close) mentioned the need to plan what to do. The death of a husband must be devastating, even terrifying, but as next of kin you have certain responsibilities and there are some things which you must do. Who better to give advice than other women who have experienced what must be the worst thing that life can throw at them? Full Review

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Review of

Dementia: The One-Stop Guide: Practical advice for families, professionals, and people living with dementia and Alzheimer's Disease by June Andrews

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Worldwide there are probably as many as 44.4 million people who suffer from dementia and many times that number of family, friends, carers and relatives who are affected by what is happening to the sufferer. There's no cure, but it's not terminal and the symptoms (memory loss would seem to be the most common, but in some cases, there are hallucinations, sexual or verbal disinhibition, not being able to work things out, difficulty in learning something new, finding your way about, or coping with the normal symptoms of ageing) affect everyone involved. If you talk to people who are ageing then it's not uncommon for them to say that they'd rather have cancer than dementia as you're unlikely to be an endless burden on other people. Full Review

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Review of

The Art of Making Shadows by Sophie Collins

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Winter is almost upon us and the evenings are getting darker. However, rather than bemoaning the lack of sunshine, how about putting a positive spin on the situation and viewing those long, dark evenings as the perfect opportunity to hone your shadow-casting skills? Shadow-play is an art form that has endured through the ages and yet still has the power to enchant and entertain. So grab a lamp, gather round and get ready to create barking dogs, flying birds and a whole menagerie of shadow characters... Full Review

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