[Book Discussion] The Christmas Forest by Rebecca Boxall

the christmas forest

The Christmas Forest by Rebecca Boxall is a Christmas tale of love and friendship. Enid has Asperger’s Syndrome and has been talking via letter to a man called Fred.

The story focuses around Enid planning a trip to Australia to finally meet Fred for Christmas, supported by her sister Bess. But will it happen? That is the big question that hangs for a large part of the novel. Enid’s friends are unsure, Enid is sure, Fred is sure, but who will win out?

Despite the short nature of the novel, The Christmas Forest is a pleasantly good read. The plot moves fast enough to keep you interested, and Rebecca Boxall writes wonderfully. Asperger’s Syndrome does take a centre role in this novel, and Boxall handles it with care and it is well researched.

The narrative is sweet, and is definitely one I would recommend for the Christmas season.

It is interesting to note that Boxall has written Enid with Asperger’s, as a lot of research shows that it Asperger’s is usually diagnosed in males. Boxall is bringing to the forefront women with Asperger’s and allows the reader to submerge in Enid’s plight and characteristics.

All in all, I would definitely recommend The Christmas Forest. What did you think? Have you read it?

Let me know what you thought in the comments!

[Book Discussion] Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman details the lives of two sisters as they grow up, from living with their aunts to finding their own lives.

Personally, I enjoyed the novel, it was light and entertaining. It wasn’t entirely what I expected it to be from the description, but was enjoyable.

I liked how the novel played with the ideas of love, betrayal and magic. The novel was really ambiguous in its use of ‘magic’. I felt like I was constantly questioning whether their magic was real, or whether it was just truly bad luck that kept bringing all these misfortunes on these women.

The writing style of the novel was fairly simplistic for the most part, but there was certain parts that stood out. It was written like a storyteller, you were getting all the information from some omniscient narrator who always knew just a little more than the reader and the characters in the novel. Perhaps in a more metaphorical sense, this was the magic speaking.

Hoffman knows how to write about love, or perhaps, knows how to make use of the feelings of love, as this is perhaps the biggest theme of the novel. Love centred everything, love between sisters, love between family and finally love between partners. Hoffman described the frustrations of love between family, and the scorching love between partners. At first it was sightly off putting, but in the end, I did kind of enjoy the overdramatic descriptions of love, particularly between Gillian and Ben Frye.

Overall, I would recommend it to someone, but perhaps only for someone looking for something within a certain genre.

What did you think of Practical Magic? Let me know!

[Book Review] Release by Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness has always had a way with words and infusing reality with the unreal. This is clearly shown through Release.

Release is a bildungsroman of sorts. It takes place over one day, and follows one boy called Adam Thorn as he navigates friendships, love, relationships and coming out to his parents.

The other half of the story follows Katie, or Queen as she wanders after she wakes up from her murder.

Ness builds a relationship with his characters, and his writing style flows through the day, only giving you the information you need to know. Not all the plot points are cleared, but it never leaves you frustrated with this. It’s a simple look into the way that the teens are growing up.

The other half of the story deals with vengeance and retribution, told in parallel to Adam Thorn’s story. I did not really understand how the two stories would intertwine until the end of the novel, but thematically, the two halves of the story blend well. One deals with the desperation and the need for vengeance, the other deals with the act of growing up and realising that you need the help from others, and learning where your family lies.

Both sides of the story are truly heartbreaking.

Despite not being an intricately written tale, or a tale where there is a lot of guess work and wondering how things will end. Personally, I would recommend Release, it is insightful, and a pleasant read.