Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Really Mini-Reviews! - Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina and Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming

I don't read many memoirs.

When I do, they've got be that little bit unusual. That little bit extraordinary.







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They've gotta be something which shines a light into the dark - either through revelations or through hope.


Which brings us to the books I'll be writing mini-reviews for in this post!





The first will be Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina:

- a blast of rebellious revelations and an unquenchable punk-rock spirit. It's something else.






And then there's Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming:

- extraordinary in a completely different way

- emotionally raw, and yet hopeful.





Check out my mini-reviews below for more detail on these awesome-sauce books!

















Here are my 'really mini-reviews' 😁 :










Riot Days title image. Black background with neon detail of title and person playing guitar. 'Book Review @ Dora Reads' written in bottom-left corner.






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Title: Riot Days

Author: Maria Alyokhina

Riot Days cover


Amazon: UK - USA
















Verdict:


Once, not long ago, some girls got together to protest in a church, in Moscow.

Their band was called Pussy Riot.

For Maria Alyokhina, that one day changed her life.

Riot Days is the story of that decision - from first planning until Alyokhina's eventual release from prison.







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The story of the nasty punk rockers causing offense in a sacred place is the simplified version that Putin would have us believe - the truth is a lot more complex.

The truth is feminism at it's finest. The truth is speaking out against a tyrant, despite knowing what repercussions it could bring.

The truth is that a group of young women in neon balaclavas would not let themselves be silenced.









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The one minus here was that Alyokhina uses the word 'gypsy' to describe several fellow-prisoners.

Many Travellers find this offensive, and consider it a racial slur.

Others though, in Europe especially, identify as such, and we really don't have enough information about these women to know whether this is the case.





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Potentially distressing content here includes: dictatorship, oppression, biased legal system, harsh prison conditions, parent/child separation, invasive searches of intimate areas/sexual assault.





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This book is both vitally important and wrenchingly eye-opening.

I think this is one that EVERYONE should read.






































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Not My Father's Son title image with silhouette of father holding son on beach. 'Book Review @ Dora Reads' is written in the bottom-left corner.









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Title: Not My Father's Son

Author: Alan Cumming



Amazon: UK - USA

















Verdict:



Not My Father's Son is actor, and LGBTQ+ icon*, Alan Cumming's, tale of his childhood, and the parts of his adulthood that have been spent trying to come to terms with it.




*Identifies as bisexual/sexually fluid, with bi being his primary ID.







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Unlike most celebrity books, this isn't a simple 'look how far I've come' autobiography.

This is a brutally honest memoir, focussed around the physical and emotional child abuse he suffered at the hands of his father.







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As you can imagine, there's some heavy-hitting stuff going on here, so please, please, PLEASE, be careful when reading.






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What's really and truly refreshing about this book is how emotionally healthy it is: Alan Cumming is a man who is willing to talk about feelings.

If anything, this is something we could do with more of - a man willing to speak tenderly about those he loves and cares about, and openly about the things which hurt and have hurt him.

That is simply beautiful, and a type of strength that is harder-won than anything you go to the gym for.






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I actually audiobooked* this; it was narrated by Alan Cumming, and I think that really gave an oomph to the emotion.

Unfortunately, from time to time Cumming slipped into faux-accents when speaking the dialogue of African or Asian people... 

*Winces.* It didn't happen often, but... it's really Not Good.



*It's totally a word now. #DealWithIt.






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Major warnings here for: child abuse (physical, emotional,) mental health problems including eating disorders, manipulation, family problems, extreme emotional distress.

Also, references to pre-revelations Harvey Weinstein are awkward af.


























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Do you read memoirs my nerdlets?
What's the last non-fiction book you read?
Talk to me! 😊💬




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8 comments:

  1. I remember when that incident happened with Pussy Riot but I didn't know about this book- I'd like to read it. Thanks for sharing it!

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    1. It's well worth the read! It's a quick read too, and uber-fascinating! XD

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  2. I don’t read many memoirs either but when I do I end up being so impressed by them! These sound really interesting. I would recommend you read the memoir The Glass Castle. I feel like my synopsis of it would not do it justice but please go check it out!!

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    Replies
    1. I'll have to keep an eye out for it! XD

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  3. I haven't read many memoirs, but these both sound like powerful ones! I like your point about men being emotionally open and how we need more of that.

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    Replies
    1. They're amazing! And yes!!! Emotionally healthy and open dudes!!!! XD XD

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  4. I've actually heard of the band and the situation around what happened with Pussy Riot before in school and I was very intrigued by the story. I didn't know one of them had written about it and want to read it now!

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    Replies
    1. OMG yes! Read the thing!!!! (This is one of *those* books - I'ma tell *everyone* to read the thing!)

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Comments? I love comments! Talk to me nerdlets!