The Woman I Wanted To Be


DVF inspired me to paint my nails hot pink

Diane von Furstenberg
Simon and Schuster AU
Published 1st November 2014

Thank you to the publisher for
providing this book in exchange
for an honest review. This did
not alter my review in any way.

I’ll be honest. I know nothing about fashion or make-up or beauty and I don’t really care about it either. But I requested The Woman I Wanted To Be because I was interested in the woman behind DVF, who she was and who she wanted to be and what got her there. She has had an extraordinary life, that’s for sure.

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It’s All About Treo

It's All About Treo

Author: Dave Heyhoe
Publisher: Quercus
Star Rating: 3/5
Date Read: August 4th to 7th, 2014
Review:
It’s All About Treo is the touching true account of the brave war dog, Treo, and his human, Dave Heyhoe and their six month tour in Afghanistan to where they were deployed as a search team for hidden explosives. Alongside the Rangers, they would go out on a patrol and Treo soon became known and feared by the Taliban as ‘the black dog’. Dave and Treo saved countless number of lives during their tour in Afghanistan and came home as heroes.

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A Man Named Dave

Author: Dave Pelzer
Series: Dave Pelzer Trilogy, Book 3
Publisher: Orion
Star Rating: 1/5
Date Read: June 10th to 13th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
This is possibly one of the most unnecessary books I have ever read. The 1 star review is partly my fault, because I was 95% sure I wouldn’t like this book based on the previous two books of the trilogy. That doesn’t mean, though, that it’s my fault the book is bad.

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The Lost Boy

Author: Dave Pelzer
Series: Dave Pelzer Trilogy, Book 2
Publisher: Orion
Star Rating: 2.5/5
Date Read: June 1st to 2nd, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
The second book in the Dave Pelzer trilogy is The Lost Boy, chronicling Dave’s life in foster homes from the age of twelve to eighteen. Again I have come to the end and feel immediately like I have to put a few other books in between this and the next and final book, A Man Named Dave. I don’t feel like another book is necessary but have decided to read it for the sake of completeness.

At the start of the book, Dave insists this one is written using the language and perspective he had at that age. He also insisted the same thing in the last book. This is not a completely accurate description as many times I felt the writing to be reflective and also some of it beyond the years of the under-educated teenager he was at the time. We catch up with Dave where we left him in the last book, in the passenger seat of a police car heading outside the city limits, where after medical examinations he meets his social worker and is placed in the first of five foster homes.

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A Child Called ‘It’

Author: Dave Pelzer
Series: Dave Pelzer Trilogy, Book 1
Publisher: Orion
Star Rating: 2/5
Date Read: May 28th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
A Child Called ‘It’ is the story of child abuse survivor, Dave Pelzer. It is a grim and horrific read that makes you sick to visualize what’s occurring. It is not without hope, as we find in the opening chapter how Dave escapes the torment he has suffered for eight years. But it seems to be without credibility.

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Popular: A Memoir

Author: Maya Van Wagenen
Publisher: Harper Collins
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: April 21st to 22nd, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
At first glance, it is easy to be mistaken about the contents of this book. A shallow young girl who just wants to be popular? Who wants to read about that? Luckily this book is so much more than that.

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Slowspoke: A Unicyclist’s Guide to America

Author: Mark Schimmoeller
Publisher: Alice Peck
Star Rating: 3.5/5
Date Read: February 4th to 8th, 2014
Review:
Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book. This did not influence my review in any way.

The unique story of Mark Schimmoeller, who after college left an internship to pursue a dream of unicycling across America, is unlike anything else I have ever read. How many people do you know who ride a unicycle, let alone decide to trek across America on one? It’s an impressive feat to say the least. One Schimmoeller is fairly modest about, really. These days he has hung up the unicycle (but not quite for good) and lives a sustainable lifestyle in the woods with his wife, not far from the home he grew up in. The book is written in an alternative perspective, one based on his time on the road, the other of his quiet life where he has no electricity or water, instead uses a rain catchment system and a solar cooker and is fighting to save the land surrounding him from development.

I enjoyed the imagery presented in this book of not only the woods where he lives, but also of the places he traveled through and the interesting characters met along the way. However, I felt there were a lot of irrelevant passages about his dreams (that made no sense, as dreams in real life often don’t) and random recountings of his childhood that disrupted the flow of the narrative. I liked how he related his unicycle journey to the life he knew at home, but a lot of little anecdotes didn’t feel like they belonged. This made the book seem much longer than it was and made it difficult to finish. I found my attention wavering as I inched towards the end, even though I was curious to see how it all wrapped up – it just took some work and concentration to get there. Maybe they should have been a little harsher on the cutting room floor (applies for books too yeah?).

Schimmoeller mentions that he likes happy endings, and this is apparent in the way he glosses over how plain difficult it must have been to travel such distances on a unicycle in such ever changing environments. Any hardships are brushed off, fixed by a meal and a good night’s sleep, making it seem fairly easy to pedal cross country on a bike with only one wheel. While we definitely should encourage people to achieve great things, it’s something else to ignore all the bad bits. And even if your journey over all was a success, of course there’s going to be bad days and rough days and days where you want to go home. It’s not realistic to pretend that they don’t exist. I’m not looking for drama, just a bit more raw honesty would have been nice.

Other than the lengthy descriptions I found Schimmoeller to be a talented writer, although in some parts he came off a little self-righteous I was able to move past it due to my sheer interest in his way of life so different from my own. I can sympathise with him about the threat of further development in his secluded area, and to be honest his travel adventures made me want to have my own – just maybe with four wheels instead of one.