Exam Time...

...When I read absolutely everything else but my coursework.

A friend of mine echoed this sentiment when I told her that I thought I'd stumbled upon the most amazing read of the year a few weeks ago.
I think her exact words were "I love how EVERYTHING is always Amazing when there are exams to study for..."

While I'm not denying that I suffer from a really short attention span and acute lethargy during the June-July (and, let's face it, the October-November) periods of the year, I would like to defend myself and say that the Dorothy Koomson novel which I stumbled upon (read: snatched from the shelf) in another friend's room was well worth sacrificing a few hours of studying time.

At first, it was the cover that caught my eye- because it went along so well with the title: The Ice Cream Girls.

 Don't the frothy pink and sunshine yellow dresses just make you want to know what wonderful things are written inside?

If they don't, and you're feeling a little awkward because you're not one for "frilly/happy/sunny" types of novels, let me just say [insert age-old proverb about books, covers, and unfair assumptions here], because this book is way more than that.

I found myself living the lives of each of the characters for a week, as I turned each page and became more and more convinced of the tragedies and joys of their stories- Koomson's characters are just that real.
I know that most people say that about novelists anyway, but I know it's particularly true because this is the first time I read a book and found myself so moved by the story that reading it in the morning actually affected my mood for the rest of the day.

Koomson introduces the reader to the characters of Poppy Carlisle and Serena Gorringe  and then tells the story in chapters which run over a sort of timeline. She moves from telling us what the women's lives are like in the present, to illustrating the past events, mistakes and circumstances that have made it that way.
The characters' stories run parallel to each other, and in the end the author brings the two lives together beautifully and seamlessly. I didn't want it to end. (Can you tell?)

The story is about two girls from two different worlds who are drawn into a terrible cycle of physical and emotional abuse by the same paedophilic history teacher, and end up having to fight together to get out of it and regain the lives which were stolen from them when they were only 15 years old. The way the girls end the sordid affair is not what either of them had planned, and it's an "accident" which they pay for all their lives.
But I've already said too much ['she said coyly'- haha].

If you're not convinced,  read the first chapter of Koomson's book- then tell me you're not dying to know what's next!

I loved it- and I wish the people I knew in real life could be "written" just like the ones in The Ice Cream Girls.
Sigh. Back to reality, I suppose...

But, WAIT- there's more!

I was watching Gossip Girl, and when Dan mentioned F. Scott Fitzgerald, I thought "Oh, I know him..." (I actually liked reading The Great Gatsby in Matric, okay? Don't judge me). Then Serena and one of her soon-to-be Summer holiday beaux were discussing The Beautiful and Damned, and I decided I wasn't going to rest until I'd read it. (Who says Gossip Girl is only about high fashion and impossibly elaborate inter-clique coups d'etat...?)

So now I'm reading that.
There's this incessant bleating from the Wits Goat in the back of my mind (free upon registration) telling me I should study first and take leisure time later but, in true Scott Fitzgerald fashion, I choose to luxuruiate in my own private world while I contemplate- at length- the nature of this terrible, wonderful thing called Life, and imagine myself saying things like "Waiter! Pour me another" while I take a drag of my cigarette and listen to a nondescript jazz warbler at yet another high society party.
Oh, to be a Daisy Buchanan or a Gloria Gilbert in these modern times...

I swear these novels will be the death of my career at Wits. I know that it might have me ending up with no job and no direction in life if I get X-ed- but I just can't resist a review that says: '5 Stars- absolutely unputdownable!'. Even if it's just because I really want to find out what that silly word means! ;)


  1. Unputdownable...I think some reviewers got together and made up a word that could perfectly describe novels like these. I've come across a few myself..


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