[BOOK REVIEW] Naturally Tan: A Memoir by Tan France @tanfrance #NaturallyTan @EllieCrisp

Queer Eye is one of those shows you just adore watching and whilst watching you start falling in love with the cast. For me, Tan is the one I immediately fell in love and whose story I was interested in learning more about – and I got the chance to do that because of the awesome publisher! If you haven’t seen Queer Eye on Netflix yet then I highly recommend it because it’s so good and because of the brilliant cast –Tan, Antoni, Karamo, Bobby and Jonathan.

Naturally Tan is Tan France’s memoir where he tells us many stories – from his upbringing to him being cast as the fashion expert on QE. The UK hardcover is so gorgeous because underneath the jacket you also get illustrated Tan as well as on the inside of the book you get a lot of drawings [for each chapter] which are amazing!  In Naturally Tan, Tan talks about many things he’s gone through in his life – from racism to stardom. One thing I especially like is that Tan is someone who, when a situation asks for it, doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is – we get many instances where Tan speaks up described in the book e.g. Tan had to deal with an awful boss. Besides Tan’s life story we get some fashion advice from him as well as do’s and don’ts. Tan doesn’t shy away from talking about real issues e.g. racism where he [since he was a child] went through a lot of mental analysis on what to do, how to act when faced with racism. Whilst on the subject of race issues – Tan tells the reader that in his life he’s had twenty-four incidents where he had to stay longer at the airport to answer a few more questions such as when’s the last time you’ve visited Pakistan? when’s the last time you held a gun? [I’m paraphrasing these questions]. I’m glad that in his memoir Tan deals with those tough questions because they are issues still! This book made me feel so happy while reading because of many lovely stories Tan shared about his life. We also get more info on how the whole casting process of Queer Eye went and how Tan met Antoni, Bobby, Karamo and Jonathan! I also wanted more of Tan – more from his stories because I felt like some were very short and ended abruptly. I would’ve loved to know more about his childhood and him and his family [yes, he provides this information but I wish it was done more in-depth].

If you’re a Queer Eye and/or a Tan France fan then this is definitely a must read! I honestly think that every reader will find something interesting in this book. Some life lessons and a lot of lovely stories that will warm your heart! [I’m now obsessed with Tan and his husband – so cute!]

I would like to thank the publisher Virgin Books (Ebury Publishing-Penguin Random House UK) for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by the fact that I got a free copy from the publisher.

My rating:

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Tan France has been a successful fashion designer behind-the-scenes for over 15 years, and now steps into the spotlight as the star of Emmy-winning makeover hit, and Netflix re-boot, Queer Eye. Surrounded by an all new cast, France is the witty wardrobe wiz leading the charge in the fashion department and is ready to make America fabulous again one makeover at a time. This experience is so much more than just new clothes to the British born fashion advisor however, it’s about real-life issues, changes and acceptance on all sides. The epitome of style and class, Tan is the creative mind behind successful brands including the popular ladies clothing lines Kingdom & State and Rachel Parcell, Inc. Prior to his personal success as a designer, he spent his summers working in his grandfather’s denim factory while he secretly enrolled in fashion college in preparation to start a new chapter as a fabulous design star.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram.

[REVIEW] Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot @BloomsburyBooks

What I love about reading memoirs is the true life stories that really affect the reader and Heart Berries: A Memoir was no exception.

“Nothing is too ugly for this world, I think. It’s just that people pretend not to see.” 

I will keep this review short because this is a short book – about one hundred and twenty pages. In this short memoir Mailhot describes so much of her life in such a vivid way that you feel like she’s telling it to you. The writing style of this book isn’t your usual one because this memoir is more like a diary where thoughts go from one place to the other. I found Terese to be so strong and even though she always got back to that person I felt for her and understood why she did it. This memoir includes mental illness because Terese suffers from PTSD and Bipolar II. I enjoyed reading her hospital stays because I am very much interested in mental health and facilities where people are treated. I love how she portrays mental illness honestly and this story was something I needed to read. In the end of this book some stories she tells are repeated but that didn’t bother me.

I found this to be a great memoir which I would definitely recommend to people who enjoy them. It’s a must read.

Heart Berries: A Memoir is a brilliant book written by Terese Marie Mailhot – in it she deals with her rough upbringing as well as family and relationship issues in a way that is so interesting and fascinating.

I would like to thank the publisher Bloomsbury UK for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Terese Marie Mailhot is from Seabird Island Band. She graduated with an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She served as Saturday Editor at The Rumpus and was a columnist at Indian Country Today. Her writing appears in West BranchGuernicaPacific StandardElle, and elsewhere. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Heart Berries: A Memoir. She serves as faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts and she’s a Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University.

Find her on: Website, Twitter and GoodReads.

[REVIEW] The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir by Maude Julien @OneworldNews

I was attracted to this book because I adore memoirs but something stood out when I came across this book because when I read its synopsis I was immediately intrigued. I added it to my to-read-list and then began investigating it further.

In Maude Julien’s memoir The Only Girl in the World we enter the world of power, control and madness but at the same time of escape and finding salvation from it all. Maude Julien’s father is an individual whose personality is deranged – filled with lunacy and ideas of upper most greatness. At a young age Monsieur Didier had a majestic plan which was to raise a superhuman – someone who will make him proud and who he’ll teach all the necessities one needs to conquer this world. He managed to get a child from some people and promised them that she’ll be given the best education he can afford and that she’ll be safe in exchange for her parents to never see her again. The girl he ‘adopted’ later on became his wife and they had a child named Maude. His wish of creating a superhuman was  becoming a reality with the birth of Maude and he began doing everything he could to make her exactly that. The training involved her to, at a very young age, drink alcohol and build tolerance for it, holding an electric fence for ten minutes without flinching and other horrifying things. With all these things that happened to her she still managed to stay sane and overcome some large psychological damage caused by her parents with the help of therapy and her friends.

The one thing that instantly pulls you into the story is the first three pages of the Introduction when Maude tells us her fathers chilling plan and at the end of it she writes ‘That child was me.’ I felt shivers down my spine when I read this Introduction. Once I began reading this book I kept turning and turning pages because the story it contains is unbelievable and gripping. The things her father teaches her are ludicrous and I will provide some examples of her fathers ‘wisdom’:

‘If you go and live with other humans, they’ll treat you the way the ducks in the pond treat Pitou. They won’t think twice about making mincemeat of you for the stupidest reasons, or for no reason at all.’  pg. 13

‘‘You don’t know how lucky you are to be spared from being polluted by other people,’ he tells me.’ pg. 19

‘Love is a colossal sham to amuse the masses. If anyone ever tells you he loves you, don’t believe him. It will be because he wants something from you: your power or your money. Never,  never, never trust anyone. I alone know what’s good for you. If you do as I say,you can rule the world and overthrow the darkness.’  pg. 141

‘You see what living beings are like? You think Perisaut is so sweet and affectionate towards you, but he wouldn’t think twice about eating you if he could – he’s happy enough eating his own kind! People are the same, they’re cannibals, quite prepared to betray you and eat you. Do you see now why you can’t trust anyone but me?’ pg. 172

These are clear examples of his lunacy and grand ideas for her. What amazes me is how she managed to find hope from all the torture and torment she endured. I just wish that we had more of her now life story because I’d be interested in learning about her education as a therapist and the ways she overcame her struggles. We do get a glimpse into her now life where she talks about the effects she has suffered due to trauma but I wish it was longer.

For any memoir lover this is a must-read because of Maude’s chilling childhood filled with psychological control, torment but also hope that one can overcome severe trauma.

I would like to thank the publisher Oneworld Publications for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 

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Having escaped her parents’ clutches, today Maude Julien is a psychologist specializing in manipulation. She is working on a second book that examines case studies she has encountered in her work and is currently preparing a TED Talk on psychological control

Find her on: GoodReads