The March Love List
The arrival of March brought with it longer Summer nights, permission to meet in gardens again and continued success of the vaccine rollout. Good times are coming. I can feel it in my bones! In the meantime, here's a round up of a few things to read, eat, listen to and watch until you can actually go to the pub again...
Loved listening to...Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid on Audible
When Emira Tucker, a black babysitter, is questioned by a white security guard in an upmarket supermarket about the small white child in her charge, an onlooker films the interaction on his phone and urges Emira to make the video go viral. She refuses, preferring to chalk it up as a horrible experience that she’d rather forget, but when she meets the onlooker again on the subway, it becomes apparent that he is less willing to let it go.
Mortified that this has happened to her black employee, white, upper-middle class, feminist blogger, Alix Chamberlain vows to ‘wake the fuck up’ and get to know more about her babysitter, if for nothing else than to make sure she doesn’t quit.
What then follows is a story about race, class, gender and white privilege, that sees Emira becoming the object of Mrs Chamberlain’s obsession, and part of a desperate project for Alix to prove her ‘wokeness’ to the world.
Though the crux of the story hangs on a rather large coincidence, the dialogue throughout the book is spot on and really addictive. This would be enjoyable enough in print, but I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator manages to perfectly capture each and every unique voice involved in the story, making you think there is a whole troupe of actors involved in the telling of it.
It is hugely relevant, comedic and very enjoyable. I highly recommend.
Loved reading….The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
Set in Nigeria, in both the small village of Ikati and the capital Lagos, this debut novel by Abi Dare tells the story of 14-year-old Adunni as she becomes the child bride and third wife of an older man in exchange for the family’s rent. A series of horrific incidents forces her to flee this illegal marriage and she ends up as a domestic slave in Lagos working for ‘Big Madam’ where she faces further misfortune.
Despite this sounding hopeless and bleak, the story does not feel tragic. Instead, I found myself rooting for Adunni, falling in love with her voice (the non-standard English through which the whole story is told is humerous and charming), her optimism and her dreams for education in which to find her ‘louding voice’.
Though the novel is one of fiction, the themes within it are very real. Domestic slavery and child marriage are issues that many young girls in Nigeria face. By shedding light on these topics through Adunni’s courageousness and charismatic voice, this book acts as a champion for social change, whilst warming the readers' hearts at the same time.
Loved watching…Ted Lasso
Imagine my enthusiasm when Rene suggested watching a programme about a Premier League football team. Was there even a topic I could be less interested in?
Imagine my delight then, when it turns out to be the best comedy I've watched all year and I’m left asking myself if I’ve been missing out on something, having never been to a football match in my life.
Because this is a football programme with a difference. Not only is the newly-hired manager of Richmond FC (they’re not a real team, I Googled it) an American Football coach from Kansas, but he’s also the nicest, most watchable man I’ve ever seen on the telly.
This 10 part series on AppleTV follows Ted Lasso’s journey as the most condemned man in English football to a national treasure, with a multitude of poignant, comedic and heart-warming side stories involving his family and his team along the way.
It’s very funny and very sweet and gave me a very good impression of what it would feel like to love a football team. Although I’d be curious to know what a football fan thinks….
Loved eating…. Gro chocolate chip cookies
Co-op have upped their meat and dairy free range this year with their own brand of plant-based products, Gro, which includes things like pizzas, sausage rolls, ice cream and sandwiches. The most recent discovery I’ve made is their chocolate chip cookies, which are fresh out of the bakery. I know dairy-free isn’t everyone’s bag, but they’re so good, you would never even guess there’s anything “missing”. Worth a try for £1.60 whether you’re a friend or foe of dairy. I think I'm on my third bag already this month...
Loved visiting… Forty Hall
I’m happy doing literally anything that gets us out of our post code right now, so when Rene suggested going to Enfield to visit Forty Hall I couldn’t get my shoes on fast enough. We are all connoisseurs of the great outdoors after this year, aren’t we? And as country walks go, I’d say a stroll around these grounds was a solid 8.5 / 10. It has free parking, a nice little café (would be great to return when we can go inside), a decent kids’ play area, a farm shop and farmer’s market and the 1.5 mile heritage trail that we followed was pretty buggy-friendly too. Oh and sheep! We saw sheep! Talk about living the dream.