Category Archives: Non Fiction

Review of Thinking Out Loud: Love, Grief and Being Mum and Dad.

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When we think of footballers we think of arrogant men who believe the world revolves around them. As a Manchester United fan I knew that Rio Ferdinand was a very private person, so I knew that he was not your typical, big-headed, self-obsessed  sports celebrity.  When I heard that his wife had died I felt a wave of sympathy wash over me for him and their three children, and for their families, but then I didn’t really give it much thought after that.  Reviewing his book brought me back to that time in his life and I tried to recall what I’d read about Rebecca’s death at the time. All I could recall was that she was in her early thirties, and that she’d lost her fight with breast cancer.

This account of how Rio struggled to come to terms with the death of his wife and how he felt like he was failing his children gives an insight into a very private time in his life.  Some people may not appreciate that he talks so candidly about his grief, his inability to cope, but his message is a powerful one; what support is out there for grieving widowers?

Rio Ferdinand is a self-confessed unemotional person. As a professional footballer he  lived a very sheltered life in terms of how a household runs, and how to bring children up – in other words, he had no clue. Both of those tasks had been the domain of his wife Rebecca, but in the wake of her death he felt useless and unable to cope.

The book gives a little background information on Rio and Rebecca’s private lives, which I think is crucial in gaining the perspective that was intended when this book was written.  The picture that is painted by Rio is one of a dedicated wife and mother  who proudly keeps her home and children’s lives running like clockwork so that Rio can concentrate on his footballing career. He talks about how they had bought a property out in Portugal, a property that they had planned to spend many years enjoying once Rio had retired from professional football.  Rebecca never got to enjoy that holiday home, her life was cut short before Rio had retired, leaving him crippled by his grief and having no clue where to turn to.

Asking for help was not in Rio’s nature, but this was something he had to learn to do for the sake of his children.  All that Rio knew was how to be a professional footballer, The tools he had learnt to be at the top of his game were useless when it came to caring for his children, and this added to the struggle he was facing.

Talking about his grief, how he was almost consumed by it, how he eventually sought the help he needed, and how he began to move forward without Rebecca makes this a raw and often emotional read. This is not a feel good book, nor is it a self help book, it is one man’s account of how he struggled through the sea of grief that losing his wife caused. The important message within this book is that noting will ever prepare you for losing a loved one, grief is very personal, no two people grieve the same and this is important to remember. The book also offers information on where you can find help if you need to.

I don’t think this is the type of book you can say you have enjoyed, reading how one man almost drowned under the sea of grief that had engulfed him does not make for pleasant reading. The emotions are raw, the struggles are real, Rio’s experience is heartbreaking, but the aim of the book is to highlight all of the above and try to point other grief stricken people, particularly me,  in the right direction. The book was written after a television documentary had been broadcast about the exact same subject. It is a very honest account of how Rio sunk into the abyss after Rebecca died.

 

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Book Review of Goddess 2.0 by Rev. Dr. Karen Tate.

Goddess 2.0 is an anthology of Goddess teachings and thoughts on the Goddess by Rev. Dr. Karen Tate and over 20 other writers. In this anthology, each author shares with the reader their thoughts on life following Goddess worship, as well as how allowing the Goddess into their lives not only enriches lives but also how a life following the Goddess allows us to be more compassionate to ourselves, other people, and the world in general. What this book offers is hope to all of those people who are looking for an alternative way of life and worship to what the current patriarchal way of thinking offers.

Many subjects are covered in this book, they are as follows:

The Resurgence of the Feminine and the Awakening of the Soul by Anne Baring.

Power by Barbara Walker.

The Dark Goddess in the 21st Century: Facing Our Final Destination by Cristina Biaggi.

Feminist Theology as a New Religion by Shirley Ann Ranck.

Goddess Based Morality of Women’s Health; Abortion and Healthcare by Starhawk.

Goddess at the Center, Goddess Everywhere by Nancy Vedder-Shults.

One Small Step by Linda Iles.

Becoming the Priestess or Priest of Isis by M. Isodora Forrest.

21st Century Ministry by Rev. Dr. Patricia Iolana.

The GoddessAwaits by Bob Gratix.

Reviving The Serpent; Symbol of Regeneration by Amy Peck aka Amalya.

On Building Bridges, Not Walls: A Goddessian – Christian – Muslim Perspective by Trista Hendren.

The Mother of All the Living and Societies of Peace by Carol P. Christ.

What’s Good for Women is Good for the World: Foundations for a Caring Economy by Riane Eisler.

Reawakening Our Earliest Sacred Stories by Karen Tate.

Columbia: America’s Forgotten Goddess by Andrew Gurevich

Veganism: The Most Powerful Antidote To The Dominator Paradigm by Charlotte L. Cressey.

Activism and the Dark Aphrodite: Battling Oppression and Fascism in Greece by Harita Meenee.

Lillith Meets The Green Man by Elizabeth Fisher.

Goddess Ethics in Action by Bob Fisher.

Economics of Goddess Spirituality; Interconnection and Social Justice by Starhawk.

Women and Politics by Delphine DeMore.

What Does The Goddess Have To Do With Politics? by Tabby Biddle.

In this book, you will not get your usual fare of lists of Goddess names with explanations of which pantheon they belong to etc. This book talks about the Goddess in a generic sense, rather than an individual Goddess, except for a couple of articles where the authors have specified a particular Goddess by name. This book helps us to understand that Goddess worship, and following the path of the Goddess can be extremely fulfilling and integrate perfectly with every aspect of our lives.

For instance, Starhawk argues that healthcare is a moral issue and that it must be given universally, not just to those who can afford it. This is a topic that affects many people worldwide and the author’s argument can teach us that by following the Goddess we too can feel passionately about such important issues as health care and its availability to all.

Riane Eisler proposes that recognising the critical importance of “women’s issues” is essential for everyone, women and men, young and old, and that “caring societies” are not only more compassionate but also more economically successful.

Within this book, you will find a broad spectrum of ideas and causes that not only affect women and the poor but affect everyone, everywhere in the world. The book teaches us that it is OK to be passionate about causes that affect us all, that we can have an interest in politics and still be compassionate and caring. This book offers us a new way to worship deity in a compassionate and caring way, as opposed to what the patriarchal teachings have drummed into us for centuries.

The book is very well written, the topics are both thought provoking and enlightening. Each of the authors care very deeply about the issues that they have covered and their offerings are well researched and interesting, and very relevant to the book itself.

If you are looking for a light read or a comprehensive guide to Goddess names and pantheons then this is not the book for you. Admittedly, the book is a little heavy going, but that is to be expected given the topics that are covered. This book is for anyone who cares passionately about the world around them and is looking for an alternative form of worship and way of life.

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Review Of Once Upon A Gypsy Moon

Once Upon a Gypsy Moon by Michael C. Hurley

Once Upon A Gypsy Moon by Michael C Hurley.

I suspect the target audience for this novel/memoir is really men.  It is written by a man and feels like a conversation with a man, for want of a better expression.
The synopsis suggested a story of a man who had gone through a divorce and was struggling with who he was in the wake of the divorce.  That much is true.  The book is penned by Michael Hurley as his memoir of a time in his life when he was in crisis with himself.
Very well written, but lacked the emotional struggle I had expected to read of.  A lot of God references, and if like me you do not believe in God, then these references can become a bit tedious at times.  There was also a hell of a lot of technical talk in the book, maybe it should be expected given that the book is about a voyage at sea and invariably technical things tend to go wrong on boats and the like.

The book was not what I expected, although it is very well written.  If you are looking for something thought provoking then this is for you.  Despite my annoyance with the over-use of references to God, I did find myself pausing to reflect on my own life once or twice.

A couple of reviews I have seen about this book have said there was not enough conflict, I disagree.  The author is in conflict with himself, mostly, throughout the book and that really helps to drive the story forward. I thought the voyage itself came to a natural conclusion, albeit a disappointing conclusion for the author.  I had half expected the voyage to be abandoned once he met and married his second wife.

I enjoyed reading this book and will give it 3 stars ***

Buy your copy here

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