Tag Archives: Books about vulnerability

BOOK REVIEW: Haunting My Ghosts: A Novel Experience by Noëlle Blake

Just pages into the prologue, I was struck by the vividness of each scene which soon became animated in my imagination; the film reel was rolling.

The action is suspenseful and dramatic, but saddening as you feel how the burden of main character Shelby Rivers’ early life is set to potentially destroy her future. And with this combined eeriness and poignancy, Noëlle Blake thrusts you into Shelby’s very accomplished but single Sex and the City-esque life, while at the same time exposing its hollow centre.haunting-my-ghosts-2

She is a community arts coordinator who at long last feels a real connection to her work, without judgement or the stain of inadequacy. However, not even something so integral to her life i.e. her career, is safe in her quest for revenge. We meet her current friends as well as friends no longer, and read her candid internal commentary. But once you take the character away from her affluent two-bedroom ground floor apartment in ‘Sandenham’ overlooking the canal – and I imagine her to wear chiffon wrap dresses with slightly windswept hair and wedges to match – the reader can empathise with a very relatable aspect of human nature: the desire to be acknowledged and have our feelings vindicated.

Rather intelligently, Blake leaves clues dripping throughout the chapters of what will be. Minute details which I overlooked on the first read became more obvious the second time round, but nothing about Blake’s descriptions or references are accidental. No words are out of place or meaningless.

In saying that, there are parts I felt less words would’ve done. Elaborate phrasing and wordy dialogue at times felt forced and led me to question – ‘would they really say that?’ However, this novel is a beautiful literacy challenge and has set a benchmark for future readings of impactful and contemporary fiction.

Haunting My Ghosts is personally more of a drama than a thriller, but a great debut from an author whose work already shows huge promise.

Rating: 4/5

Buy now from Amazon.

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Debunking Myths with Brené Brown

Discovered in, and happily bought from Waterstones in summer 2014, cast aside for fiction some time in August 2014, divinely rediscovered at the side of my bed, December 2014.

Discovered in, and happily bought from Waterstones in summer 2014; cast aside for fiction some time in August 2014; divinely rediscovered at the side of my bed, December 2014.

If I hadn’t spent weeks contacting all manner of psychotherapists and psychologists for “complementary consultations” earlier this year, which would form the basis of an article I’d pitched, quite possibly I’d never have come across this fascinating woman and her research. The name was delivered with a side of ‘no-can-do-on-the-free-thing-but-this-might-help-you-out’ to my email inbox, and researching her opened up a treasure trove of wisdom that at the time, literally spoke to me. 6-8 months later, unfortunately the article remains unwritten as anonymous magazine stopped replying to my emails – my fault – but good news is, I have this book.

Just a snippet from Chapter 2…

MYTH #1: Vulnerability Is Weakness

“The perception that vulnerability is weakness is the most-widely accepted myth about vulnerability and the most dangerous. When we spend our lives pushing away and protecting ourselves from feeling vulnerable or from being perceived as too emotional, we feel contempt when others are less capable or willing to mask feelings, suck it up, and soldier on. We’ve come to the point where, rather than respecting and appreciating the courage and daring behind vulnerability, we let our fear and discomfort become judgement and criticism.”

Brené asks for her reader to consider a culture or social system you’re apart of when she poses deliberate questions in the book. Almost instantly, I think of my immediate family who I’d say are entangled within said paragraph above, and I believed/ still embody through my actions, myth number 1. If you’re unaware of Brené Brown, her light and airy website is the best place to start or better yet, type her name into Google (minus the accent), followed by TED.