Book Review: Olive

Book review: Olive by Emma Gannon

This book review contains spoilers, but I have written SPOILERS STARTING so you can avoid them.

Olive is Emma Gannon’s debut novel. The book feels a little like a fictive version of Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love (which I loved) and takes us on a journey through London and a young woman’s life.

The young woman is Olive; a pop culture journalist who finds herself outside the expectations from society as well as the life development of her friends. She does not want children, whilst that is what everyone around her seem to want to talk about. She feels a bit left out and start to wonder if she has to do what society says to remain close with her friends, with the possibility of losing herself.

The book discovers the possibilities and challenges that comes with not living a life according to “the norm” and invites us to see different perspectives with the help of Olive and her friends.

It is a great contemporary story of how it is to be a young woman. It is about friendship and about support. I think support is the key bit in this novel. It made me think of how I am as a friend, partner, daughter, and human being.

I also loved the bits in between chapters where the author included quotes about child free lives. There were funny, wise, and cute.

My favourite characters were Dorothy, and Jacob.

SPOILER STARTING (and continues until it says SPOILER FINISHED)

The chapter where she is meeting up with Jacob got to me in a way I was not prepared for. It was brutal, and honest, and brilliant. I cried so much.

The only thing I would have liked to see more of was character development. Olive found her way in life, and her own way to love and care for a “family”, but I wish I could see more of the same from her friends. Poor Isla was bitter the whole time, and it didn’t feel like she actually accepted anyone’s apology nor reflected on her own issues at all. I wanted to see why Cecily was so in love with her dick husband, and I wanted to see more of Bea who definitely could have been one of my favourite characters.

Instead, the book focused, in my opinion, a bit too much on trending topics. There is this bit about a cab driver talking about gender and basically that boys should be boys and girls should be girls. I would have been ALL FOR that if the characters then would have discussed this. Instead, the characters in the cab basically called him a dick and got on with it. The topic was raised and killed again. It didn’t feel like it had a purpose except for the topic being included.

SPOILER FINISHED

Overall, a lovely read with some lovely characters and unexpected moments. I also love any book that takes me through London so that I can feel at home. It is such a nice feeling recognising places and the sensations that come with them.

Book Review: The Midnight Library

This review contains spoilers, but not until the very end where I have documented my initial thoughts.

Nora Seed has lived a life full of regrets and misery. A life where none of her dreams came true, and all her relationships fell apart. When she doesn’t want to be a part of it all anymore, she finds herself in The Midnight Library – a place between life and death. Here she gets to discover what would have happened if she made different choices, if she didn’t have any regrets.

The first book I read by Matt Haig was How to Stop Time, and the feelings I felt then matches the feelings I have now. I understand. I understand why Matt writes in the way he does, I understand why he creates a world where you can experience a million different lives. I understand why he wants to discover all the possibilities and all the different versions of ourselves. I understand why he wants us to be able to discover our possibilities. This is how I want people to feel after reading my writing too.

It is uncomplicated, relatable, insightful, and reflecting. Matt Haig knows human connections, maybe better than anyone else, and he knows how to explain it.

I love this book and what it represents. It is an important book and I highly recommend it.

I finished the book, very appropriately, at midnight, and wrote down my initial thoughts:

I felt like there was something off the whole time Nora spent in the library. I was unease with her situation and it just felt wrong. All those lives that was “her” didn’t feel like her. She didn’t feel like someone who needs to have it all. She felt like someone who just needs a purpose. And potential. And possibilities. When she came back to her root life, things felt right. She was back where she belonged. It was a little life, but it was her life.

Review: The Psychology of Time Travel

In 1967, four female scientists invent time travel. One of them suffer from mental health issues caused by the stress, which leads her to break down in television and her departure from the project. The other women continue without her and create an organisation which become highly successful, but not without keeping a close eye on their employees and their mental health…

My first thought was: Girl power. I loved the female characters, their relationships and that I could almost assume that most characters were female. They felt strong and inspiring, and I wanted to get to know them more.

I really like the concept of time travel (two of my favourite books of all time are Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley), and I think that the time travelling was fun to figure out, and not too complicated. I loved the Time Travel Glossary, and especially the term “Legacy fuck” which means “Intercourse with one’s past self”.

I kind of wish there were more character development, and I really wish I got to know the characters better. I want to know more.

Finally, I felt that it was so exciting and intriguing in the beginning that the suspense was lost in the end – I knew what would happen. But maybe that was because I was supposed to feel like a time traveller too? Maybe I got to experience a “Completion” which according to the glossary means “To live an incident you’ve already read or heard about”.

I would still give it 4 stars – a great debut novel, and I recommend it.

Have you read The Psychology of Time Travel? What did you think?

Write they said… It will be fun they said…

So apparently, I celebrated my birthday in January, went to Dublin, and then I stopped writing…

And during this time, this thing called corona happened and the whole world went upside down. Kind of like if the world would have been stuck in a plastic bowl and someone put down an electric mixer in there and pressed play.

I went into lock down in March, and have been working from home since then. It has been going surprisingly well. I don’t mind working from home, and have learnt how to not go mad (which I totally thought I would). For me it takes routine, books, good food, making sure I move around during the day, and a lot of walks around our area.

Then I was lucky enough to be able to go to Sweden for two weeks in August. It was like fleeing reality. I read loads, played card games with my siblings, talked about books with my mum, watched football with my dad, went swimming almost every day, and ate all the ice cream.

And then I was in quarantine for two weeks after coming back to the UK.

And here we are now.

My first weekend of freedom back in the UK I went book shopping for the first time in over 6 months. It was a very happy moment. And with this I have also created another Instagram, where I will post about books, feature my own writing, and connect with others within the writing community.

It is, conveniently enough, named after this blog – writerhannaandersson

Check it out if you are on Instagram, but if you prefer the blog world, I will start updating this space too. With longer versions of my Instagram posts.

Until next time,

Hanna