Tag Archives: aiden chambers

This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn by Aiden Chambers

Let me start by saying that This is All has been sitting in the purgatory that is my To Read list for at least a handful of years. It’s a fictional diary of sorts, detailing the life and writings of 15-19 year old Brit Cordelia Kenn. She begins the book as a sixteenth birthday present to her unborn child and it chronicles her first love, losing her virginity, her budding friendship with a beloved teacher, and the growing pains-strangled relationship that she and her parents struggled with. n232254

I absolutely loved it–thank sweet baby Jesus–because the massive tome is 800 pages long! (And, I’m sure you’ll understand what I mean when I say that there’s Harry Potter 800 pages and… well… everything else 800 pages.) A few months ago I read The Kissing Game by Mr. Chambers and I just didn’t get it. So color me surprised that a 70 year old man could capture the inner-workings of a teenage girl with such clarity!

“The demons of the Devil don’t use your weak weaknesses against you, they use your strong ones. If you’re rational and logical, they argue their case rationally and logically. If you’re loyal and faithful, they turn those against you. If you’re passionate and emotional, they make you passionate and emotional about your worse fears. Your weak weaknesses are no use to them…. They find the strongest weaknesses you didn’t know were yours and use those against you.”

The hugeness of it all is divided into several parts to digest more easily. I didn’t mind that, but for some reason Chambers felt it necessary to have a 150+ page book that required you to flip back and forth every other page A to B to follow two different strains of Cordelia’s experience at once. I understand that one is what she was writing at the time and the other was what she was living at the time, but spare me. It’s awkward enough to support such a heavy book for hours on end without having to keep track of where the hell you are every two pages.

(As a side note: I don’t remember if it was ever described, but I always pictured Cordelia and Will to be black. It doesn’t matter really, but did anyone else find themselves imagining the same thing? Also, the ending and the tampon scene… SAY WHAAAAT?!)

All in all, probably one of the best coming-of-age stories I have ever read. I just wish I had the clarity, strength of character, and insight that Cordelia had when I was floundering through my teen years.

5 mopes of 5

 

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The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers

I was really really hoping this was Ian Somerhalder’s biography that I happened across, but alas, it wasn’t. The Kissing Game is actually a collection of short stories by British author Aidan Chambers. (Way less titillating, I know!) Kissing_Game_cover

Unfortunately, TKG didn’t titillate me at all. The description on the jacket cover makes it sounds SO much better than it actually is.

“Aidan Chambers explores moments of truth, when a character or an event suddenly reveals an often-surprising meaning: A girl loses her humanity when she takes a summer job as a theme-park character; a boy tries to save a girl from a fiery death, only to discover the same event happened one hundred years before. And the titular story, in which an innocent game takes a fatal turn, will haunt the reader for a long time.”

NO.

I mean, yes. All of these things technically happened, but they were nowhere near as exciting as you’re lead to believe. I usually have a few favorites in a book like this, but no. To be fair, this is supposedly an example of a newish genre of story-telling, as explained at the back of the book. Flash fiction. I’d never heard of it but by definition it:

“Often contains the classic story elements: protagonist, conflict, obstacles or complications, and resolution. However, unlike a traditional short story, the limited word length often forces some of these elements to remain unwritten – that is, hinted at or implied in the written storyline. Different readers thus may have different interpretations of the flash fiction.”

Many of these “stories” were simply conversations. Some were only two pages long. None of them inspired me or captured my attention. Maybe that makes me unsophisticated. Sorryyyyyyy.

I just want a little more *ahem* story to my stories, you know?

2 agoraphobic stutterers of 5