I added this book. I wrote the author's name and saw after that is was changed to Kim Dare. The author's name is Abi Daré.
The girl's, Adunni, Speech is broken and it is grating to read. Usually, I can't get through books like this. I can't say it's broken, but written weird. Even though, I know the reality of children marrying men, as old as their fathers, my brain can't reconcile with it. To be 14, a child, and married off to a gross 40 plus year old man that has other wives. I just can't imagine. A child forced to procreate for a male child that needs mothering herself. UGH!
"The Little Drummer Girl" is the third book that I've abandoned in my "20 for 20 Reading Challenge" to read twenty books that are more than twenty hours long.
I've really enjoyed the Le Carré books that I've read so far, all of which post-date "The Little Drummer Girl". This book didn't work for me. I listened to the first six and a half hours of the book and found myself increasingly reluctant to return to it, so I've pressed the life's-too-short button and abandoned it,
The book is well written and well-narrated. It has some very powerful scenes in it. The characters are well-drawn and the places are well-described. My problem started with the pace, which is slow and evolved into the characters, none of whom I care about.
After six and a half hours we've finally reached the point where our young British actress has been successfully recruited to work with the Israelis to help them (somehow) take down a Palestinian terrorist cell. I know every detail of the process used to recruit her and it seems to me to be as credible as it is frightening. Reading it was like watching a craftsman build a brick wall with a complex pattern embedded in it or watching a wrangler tame a wild horse. It's fascinating in its own way but you have to care about the craftsman or the horse. I found I didn't care for either.
So I'll never know what Charlie's mission was or whether she succeeded in it or how many people died along the way. I'm OK with that.
I'll be back for other Le Carré books but I'm saying good-bye to this one.
Like many of you, I am self-isolating. As a freelancer and stay-at-home mom, my work life has not shifted dramatically, and the major adjustment I’ve had to make is not being able to take my son to storytimes, playgroups, and other kid-friendly activities to stimulate him (read: tire him out) and give me the opportunity to get out of the house and see, sometimes even talk to, other adults.
My husband’s job is also secure, as he supplies a product for an essential industry (agriculture) and is able to work from home. So all three of us are holed up together on this, day 17. (For me, the break between when social distancing started and when normal life ended was not as cut-and-dry as for others. I never got sent home from work. Instead, I mark it from the week literally every activity I took my son to got cancelled.)
I have read — and agree — that writing during this time is important, although similar to when I am not in isolation, finding time and space to do so proves to be difficult. All the same challenges of trying to parent a toddler and find space for writing that existed in my “normal” life are just as overwhelming in isolation. Perhaps moreso, since my son sleeps fewer hours now, often leaving me to catch up on my sleep during his naps and robbing me of the one chance I used to take for jotting a few words down during the day. I have heard from other writers who feel guilty about having all the time in the world to write, but not feeling motivated to do so.
I like to believe that if circumstances were different, I would be productive during this time. But that might not be true. I know that in times of stress or transition in the past, I have had trouble working on writing projects and instead have tended to just journal a lot until I had cleared enough brain space to return to fiction.
I have tried not to dwell too much on all the things I COULD be accomplishing right now if the pandemic had hit at a different point in my life — namely, before I had kids. I have tried not to spend too much time imagining how my life right now would be “easier” if my son were older and more self-sufficient. The truth is, we all face our own unique challenges during this time. Those who live alone with the most freedom in their isolation also face the most crippling loneliness. Those with older children are often trying to juggle working from home with homeschooling, an untenable situation as both are full-time jobs. And then there are those who have young kids like mine at home, kids who are not self-sufficient, who are ALSO trying to work from home, which is a situation I can’t even imagine trying to attempt. I know from experience that even if you are working from home, you NEED childcare. The only reason I am able to write this at all is because my husband and I have agreed to take turns with my son in the mornings before he starts work, and today he’s on childcare duty. (Even with that, it’s taken me three days to complete this post.)The kinetic sand my son received for Christmas from an aunt is proving useful now.
If this had struck while I was single, my anxiety would have been astronomical. Now, I have the calming influence of my husband’s presence as well as a million day-to-day concerns (what are we going to eat? how will I keep my son occupied today? how can I get caught up on the laundry? what should I prioritize workwise the next time the babysitter comes?) that keep any “bigger picture” anxiety at bay (is this the end of the world?!?). The “ideal time” seems to be after my marriage but before I became a mom, so I would have companionship but also more discretionary time. But if that were the case, I would have been working full-time and all this discretionary time I keep imagining probably would not have been in as much abundance as I think. So, there’s no changing any of it; I am where I am, luckier than most, and trying to practice daily gratitude in the midst of such uncertainty.
I have heard other readers talk about which books come to mind for them during this time. Many of us have not lived through the Great Depression, major world wars, or other events that have dramatically and abruptly changed our day-to-day lives. So we think about the way we have experienced these things vicariously through the books we’ve read. The two books that keep coming to mind for me are the Life as We Knew It series by Susan Beth Pfeffer, and Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. In both instances, the change occurs for very different reasons. In the former, an asteroid hits the moon, disrupting weather and other climatic patterns; I don’t think I need to tell you the disruption Anne’s family experienced. But both are written as detailed journals from isolation, with the young protagonists and their families trying their best to establish a sense of normalcy and optimism in isolating, dire circumstances.
I feel a kinship with these girls right now; and they also remind me both how lucky we still are and how bad things can get. Be grateful, but also be smart and be prepared. But never at the expense of kindness.
If you haven’t read these books, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether they would be cathartic or just a little “too real” during these times. No judgment if you’re opting for escapist literature instead! (I’m personally just working through my Year of Expanded Reading as I would have in the absence of a pandemic.)
I want to reiterate that whatever you are doing to cope during this time of uncertainty, even if it is not “productive” is FINE. Binge-reading, binge-watching, binge-podcasting, sleeping till noon, video-chatting for hours, baking too many cookies. These are unusual times and perhaps what our brains need most is a break. If you are in a position to give it that, don’t feel guilty.
But if you ARE looking for ways to engage that are not as passive as reading or watching, here are some of the things I can suggest (also known as, the list of things I fantasize about doing with my time.)
Let me know what other enrichment opportunities you may have discovered during social distancing. I know this list barely scratches the surface.
This was very relatable! Many comics described exactly how I have been feeling when for example, the phone or doorbell rings. These collections tend to get a bit too much of the same after I while but this did not bother me with Quiet Girl in a Noisy World.
The drawings were very cute and I liked them a lot. Keep up the good work!
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!