Thursday, 29 September 2016

BOOK REVIEW | 'Everywhere I Look' by Helen Garner

Hey readers, and happy Thursday! Today I am delighted to be able to share with you another book review, this time of the wonderful Helen Garner’s Everywhere I Look. I read this book a couple of weeks back, just before I travelled back up to university, and it definitely got me into a positive mind set for a new term. Everywhere I Look is a fantastic collection of essays, personal diaries and recollections of a life decorated by moments of wonder, grief, humour, regret and the beauty of literature and creativity. Helen Garner is one of Australia’s best-loved writers and Everywhere I Look reveals to the reader the writer behind the novels, and the workings of a mind that has produced such brilliant and renowned works.

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here…

Spanning fifteen years of work, Everywhere I Look is a book full of unexpected moments, sudden shafts of light, piercing intuition, flashes of anger and incidental humour. It takes us from backstage at the ballet to the trial of a woman for the murder of her newborn baby. It moves effortlessly from the significance of moving house to the pleasure of re-reading Pride and Prejudice.

Everywhere I Look includes Garner's famous and controversial essay on the insults of age, her deeply moving tribute to her mother and extracts from her diaries, which have been part of her working life for as long as she has been a writer. Everywhere I Look glows with insight. It is filled with the wisdom of life.

I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Everywhere I Look whilst at my internship at FMcM Associates, and I am publishing my review today to celebrate the UK publication of this book – so make sure you guys head over to your nearest bookshop and pick this up!

Everywhere I Look is an intelligent, poignant exploration of life as a woman in the modern day. Garner touches on almost every aspect of life – from the complaints of old age, the tribulations involved with moving house, the often tumultuous relationship between a mother and a daughter, to emotional reflections on the murder cases that have shocked society and made us question our very nature. Garner writes with unadulterated honesty, wit, humour and acute anger. It is evident that her life lies within these pages, and to the reader she transmits her very soul. At the conclusion of the book you feel as if this is a woman you have known since forever, and the writing is so distinctive that you feel as if Garner is sat right next to you, telling you her story. 

The essays in Everywhere I Look are as a whole wonderfully written, surprising and immensely heart-warming. I never thought an essay about moving house could inspire so much emotion. My favourite essay was undoubtedly the essay about the teenage girl who was put on trial for the murder of her baby, and my favourite diary entries were the ones that recounted Garner’s friendship with a famous novelist she met in a restaurant. The language Garner uses is so intricately detailed and subtle in its beauty. As well as being touched by the elegance of the writing, I also learned so much – each essay was insightful and wise in its exploration of life. Garner is unmistakably someone who is inspired by life, and who writes directly by experience. I have been interested in reading Garner’s books for a while, but Everywhere I Look has made me desperate to sample her fiction for myself. 

Overall, I think that it’s pretty evident that I loved Everywhere I Look, and would recommend it to everyone, whether you normally read non-fiction or tend to avoid it completely. This book has definitely made me want to read more essay collections, and has also inspired me to try writing some of my own. Grab this book for yourself to find out whether it could inspire you too.

Buy Everywhere I Look here

Check out Helen Garner here:

Until next time :)

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