Earlier in the week I found myself at the National Centre for Circus Arts in Old Street for a Secret Sweat session with Women’s Health UK and Starbucks. When I bought my ticket nothing was said except the date and that it was going to be in London. I was curious and intrigued. Then when they announced that we would be learning circus skills – trapeze work, tightwire walking and acrobatic balancing – I couldn’t wait. This would actually be me living out a childhood dream. For one evening I would be joining the circus.
I am the child of immigrants. This shaped me and two things which my parents passed down – one unconsciously and one consciously – are:
- That the class system is for other people and literally means nothing.
- That education is your ticket to freedom.
Education was how I would make my life, gain my independence, and secure my future. It is what would expand my mind, introduce me to views which matched my own, introduce me to view which wouldn’t, and introduce me to views I hadn’t even thought of. However my life and upbringing never meant that I had to fight to get an education, like Tara Westover. She fought tooth and nail to expand her mind and Educated is the story of how she achieved that.
At the age of 20 I hosted my first dinner party. I invited my university friends over and channeling my mother I made too much food for the two people who would be coming. I had spent the day sweating, cursing, and wrapping my finger in a plaster after I cut it on a can. Until then I didn’t know how hard it was to cook with only nine digits.
This is one of the books I was so excited about reading in 2018. To be honest, I don’t know why – until I heard about it, I didn’t know who Dolly Alderton was; I didn’t know she was a journalist, I didn’t listen to her podcast, and I didn’t follow her on social media. But there was something about the subject matter and definitely something about the cover which made me want to get it as soon as possible. (And it is such a beautiful cover isn’t it?)
I read Me Before You much, much later than everyone else did. I am not one of those people who eschew from things because they are everywhere in popular culture; quite the opposite actually. With the first in Lou’s story I just missed everything. It was very different with After You which I have reviewed here. I read that in 2015 and re-reading my review I think I was very kind. Frankly I didn’t enjoy it. So when I managed to grab an advance copy of Still Me at the end of last year, I was very reticent about actually reading it. But read it I did.
WARNING: there are spoilers for both Me Before You and After You in this review.