Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dirty Liar by Brian James

Article first published as Book Review: Dirty Liar by Brian James on Blogcritics.

The blurb at the back of the book says that the main character, Benji is “trying not to self-destruct”, and truer words have never been written.
Benji is going through hell just trying to survive. After a traumatic experience with his mother and her boyfriend, he has moved states to live with his father, step mother, and new half-sister. But things are never that easy, and Benji soon realises that you cannot escape the past no matter how hard you want to.

Despite the somewhat negative nature of the book, I really enjoyed reading it. James truly captured the dichotomy of a troubled sole. As much as people say that Benji is just out for attention, the opposite is the truth and all he wants is to be left alone. But when being alone means being alone with your thoughts, that proves to be the wrong course of action.

I love the way that James writes. There’s a certain poetry to the way the sentences flow together and apart. He also doesn’t use the typical grammatical marks for speech; instead he separates speech like so –This is someone talking–This disconnected way of writing works really well to further the fact that most of Benji’s life exists inside his head, and the outside world is just distractions.

I did a little bit of research and found that Benji is actual a character in another one of James’s books called Perfect World so I’m excited to find that as soon as possible.

I recommend this book for teenagers because it will help them to realise that they’re not alone in their thinking, but also for parents because it might help them to understand their kids a bit better.

If anyone else has read this book please leave a comment whether or not you agree or disagree with my views.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Top Female Characters On TV #1

So, the moment we've all been waiting for, queue dramatic music, my top female character on TV!

Murphy Brown!!

Murphy Brown is my favourite female character who was every on television, and I say all the time that she should be granted the honour of best female character on TV for all time. Murphy wasn’t a superhero and didn’t have a superbrain or any other superpowers, and more often than not she got into trouble because she couldn’t keep her mouth shut, but this is what makes her such a great character: she does what she thinks is right all the time, and when she wins it’s because she has tried.

In the pilot episode of the series, we see Murphy coming back to work after a stint in rehab because of her alcohol addiction. This as well makes her more human. Murphy struggles with her alcoholism throughout the show and they portrayed this in a real way. In one episode in particular she offered to sponsor another journalist in whom Murphy could spot the symptoms of alcohol addiction.

Murphy Brown as a series was also one of the best at the time. It was a sitcom, yes, but it brought in a lot of real life politics and opinions. In one of the most famous episodes of the entire series (and personally I think one of the best episodes of TV ever) was where they included a real-life segment of news. Politician Dan Quayle spoke poorly about the series and Murphy’s character in particular after she decided to raise her child alone (the father was a war correspondent, and both he and Murphy felt that his job was too important for him to give up, but he would make an appearance in the child’s life when he could). In response to the speech, the fictional news team FYI devoted a segment to the modern American family, showing that not all single mothers are single by choice; fathers die or go to war or are in jail.

Murphy is my favourite female character on TV for all time because she was strong and brave and human. She stuffed up some times and made mistakes and got angry for no reason, but she was also kind and loyal and (mostly) nice to her friends. She and fellow journalist Frank Fontana had one of the best friendships on TV despite their different genders and competitiveness had one of the best friendships on TV despite their different genders and competitiveness---they never tried to make them have a sexual or romantic relationship either!

It seems that a lot of people either don’t like Murphy or don’t know her because she only got 1 vote on my FaceBook poll. If you are one of those people who don’t know about Murphy Brown then please check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

So what does one else thank about Murphy Brown? After reading my views, does Murphy move higher up your list? Let me know in the comments.


Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year

From MeiTeng at

It's the new year upon us now, all over the world we are now in 2012. Rather than looking forward to the future I'd like to look back at the past, 2011 specifically. See, 2011 was the first time that I started blogging as well as the year where I got my FaceBook and Twitter accounts.It's also the year where both myself and my sister graduated university. I read many books, wrote many things, and thought about even more. 
Before we get too much into 2012 I'd like to pass on some advice that I learnt in 2011. It's not new advice but it's something that I think we should be reminded of every day. The advice is: there is always gonna be haters. 
To me, this means that no matter what you do or where you go there is going to be people who don't like what you do or who you are. Whether it's people dissing your music or complaining about your sexuality or just being a prick to you because of the way you dress, haters gonna hate. Now, when you realise this you could spiral into a pit of depression but think of it another way: people are going to hate what you do no matter how hard change to please people, so there's no point in chancing yourself for them. Just after you pretend to like a different band and buy all new clothing you'll meet someone who hates all of that, and you change again. And again. And again. 
So when you think about it, there's no point in changing to please someone else. 
So don't!
As a writer this advice is particularly help. It made me realise that I shouldn't try to write a certain way to please some critics because it's just going to piss off some others. So I'm just going to write for me. If you like it, that's great. But if you think I'm too snarky, too serious, or too un-funny then you're more than welcome to leave. I hope you don't, but I'm not going to change myself for you :D