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Sarah's Library

I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad).  The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.

Currently reading

The Last Honeytrap
Louise Lee
Progress: 100/346 pages
Complete Works of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

Alice in Wonderland by Elle Lothlorien

Alice in Wonderland - Elle Lothlorien


9/1 - Overall I'm enjoying this, most of the humour seems to work for me, but I am feeling a little touchy about all the Australia bashing that's going on. I am Australian and I've been to Surfer's Paradise, I have no idea what she was talking about when she said that Australian men don't go to pubs and clubs to meet girls, that they go to meet up with their male friends. That's rubbish! Go to a club tonight and you won't see the guys hanging with each other chatting and ignoring the girls, you'll see them doing everything they can to get the girls' attention, buying them drinks if they think they have a chance and generally making a fool of themselves in the pursuit of going home with her.

During the summer I see shark bite victims on the news at least once a week (from somewhere in the country). The biggest, most vicious animal I've been bitten by is a small housecat and that hurt quite a bit, I in no way believe that a person could be bitten by a shark (even a small shark) and not realise it for some minutes, and only then because she passes out due to extreme blood loss rather than the searing pain of having a chunk torn out of her butt. No way in hell. In fact an Italian boy was bitten by a reef shark in knee deep water on the Great Barrier Reef a few days ago. The shark took a chunk out of his calf and the boy was in surgery within an hour of the attack. From the sound of it she would've needed surgery too, not just a few stitches and two days in hospital. If Lothlorien wanted to create a 'damsel in distress' situation she should have gone with a jelly fish sting, which is actually more likely than a shark bite, still seriously painful and requiring of treatment (although not usually a stay in hospital).

Some of the lines that had me cackling after midnight last night

Page 9
'That's when I notice his freckles. They're barely there at all, just a smattering sprinkled across his tanned nose and cheeks, but I feel the last bit of my conversational brilliance (and decorum) slip away. "Freckle juice," I blurt out.
He looks confused. "'Freckle juice?'"

Ho boy. "The, uh...the book?" I clear my throat. "The children's book, Freckle Juice? I thought it was about how to get freckles." I shrug. "Then I read it. It doesn't tell you."'


Same page
'"I like your freckles," I say. "I'd like to see what they look like when they're dry. And spread out over a pillow." Oh, my God, I didn't just say that, did I?'

At that point I had to put my Kindle down to hold my stomach while I howled with laughter, also because I wasn't sure I could go on, knowing the amount of embarrassment she was about to endure. But nothing happens, Rabbit doesn't mention that outrageous statement and the conversation continues.

Now for some editing mistakes

Page 11
'I pull the reigns back - hard - on my urge...'

Wrong spelling, should be reins.

Page 42
'...in one way or the other for the last four years...'

The idiom is one way or another, it's even a Blondie song from 1979.

Page 48
'...your friend's next donkament

I had to look that one up, it seems it's a poker term for a game of poker where everyone starts out with the same number of chips and the players play until someone has won them all. To be continued...


10/1 - Page 85
'"Just an endemic species of poisonous spider that likes to make its home on the underside of toilet seats.'"

Umm, only in dirty, stinky outhouses or public toilets that aren't regularly maintained. Those of us sophisticated enough to have indoor plumbing don't feel the need to check under every toilet seat we come across because they just don't get inside that often (huntsman are worse), you're far more likely to find them hiding in your gumboots at the back door or under a pile of tools you haven't used since last summer.

Page 90
'"Forget it, I can't take it seriously," I say [...] He holds up a pink and purple, rectangular-ish, paper-like item that he's referred to repeatedly and determinedly as "an Australian five-dollar bill". The ones in his other hand are even more absurd, with the green and aquamarine one-hundred-dollar bill the worst offender of the bunch. [...]"...I can't take any currency seriously that looks like belongs in a psychedelic-inspired Special Edition Monopoly box."'

Australian notes may be quite colourful but all that colour, and their plastic texture, make it the hardest currency to counterfeit in the world. The colours make them easier to identify when mixed together in your wallet - pink for $5, blue for $10, orange for $20, olive green for $50, blue green for $100, and they're very difficult to damage without a pair of scissors (like most other plastics, they just don't tear).

Page 116
'Souris was right; the "Graffiti Gallery" of Nambucca is pretty great.'

Ohmigod! I think I'm going to faint, that almost sounded like a compliment directed at Australia.

Page 117
'We both watch as the efflux of water from the river pushes the inbound ocean water around a sandbar...'

According to Wikipedia efflux refers to any flux of ions, molecules or other substances from the intracellular space to the extracellular space. In cell biology, molecular biology and related fields, the word extracellular (or sometimes extracellular space) means "outside the cell". This space is usually taken to be outside the plasma membranes, and occupied by fluid. The term is used in contrast to intracellular (inside the cell). See this page for more details on intracellular space https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrace... and this page for more details on extracellular space https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extrace.... There's way too much information for me to copy it all down here, suffice to say that using the word efflux to describe the currents of the ocean is like giving the weight of a pinch of salt in lbs. or kilograms, nobody describes it like that (and if they do they just sound like they've spent a lot of time reading the words of the dictionary without taking in the definitions).

Page 135
'Even worse, most stretches of the highway are restricted to 60 kilometres per hour...'

No, no they're not. Has Lothlorien actually travelled on an Australian highway?

Same page
'...which is how fast Americans go when we're, like, passing a stopped school bus disembarking small children...'

I don't think that's anything to be proud of. I did a few calculations based on Wikipedia's statistics for Australia's population/road deaths compared to California's population/road deaths. In 2010 Australia had a population of approx. 21 million and had 1248 deaths on the roads. That's 56 deaths per million people. The same year California had a population of approx. 37.3 million and had 2791 deaths on the road. That's 74 deaths per million people. From those figures it seems to me I'd be better off living in a country that does its best to keep the number of dead people on the roads to a minimum. Generally, my opinion is that if idiots want to speed and kill themselves, then let them. Unfortunately, those idiots usually fail to kill only themselves, they usually take some other innocent driver (or one, or more, of their passengers, or a pedestrian with them).

Page 137
'"It's easier for most players to remember that they have 'fives full of kings' than to remember 'I have three fives and two kings'"'

Really!?! A slight rearrangement of the words is enough for a poker player to go from needing to glance at their cards every 30 seconds to one glance per hand?

Page 145
'...in the relatively quiet hamlet of Manly Bay.

Was there any research done for this book at all? There is no Manly Bay. There are Manly Beach, Manly Vale, North Manly, and plain Manly, but no Manly Bay.

Page 163
'"Benin, Comoros, Vanuatu, Seychelles."
I wrinkle my nose. "Are those even real places?"'

Well that just continues to perpetuate the myth (maybe it's a reality, hopefully not) of the stupid American who knows nothing about anywhere other than their own backyard (at least she's not Australian).

Same page
'"I don't know...does Laos count?"
"Isn't that in Asia somewhere?"
He nods. Next to Vietnam and Thailand."
"Why did they send you there? Do you speak, uh..." I have no idea how to turn the country name into a language, so I just let it hang and wait for him to fill it in.
"French?" He grins. "I thought we already established that."
French? They speak French in Laos?"
"It's a former French colony, so yeah."

(Straight from Wikipedia) The official and dominant language is Lao, a tonal language of the Tai linguistic group. However, only slightly more than half of the population can speak Lao. The remainder, particularly in rural areas, speak ethnic minority languages. French is still commonly used in government and commerce and over a third of Laos' students are educated through the medium of French with French being compulsory for all other students.

Page 183
'"Okay, so English settlers brought rabbits with them to Australia to breed for food and stuff, right? But they escaped and basically started destroying the country, eating the vegetation, that kind of thing. So by the early 1900s, the government was trying to figure out a way to get rid of all the rabbits. Want to hear what their genius plan was?"
"The rabbit-proof fence."
I raise an eyebrow. "A fence? For rabbits? Don't they dig?"
"Yeah, but they jump too. And the fence was above
and below the ground."
"How'd that work out for them?"
"Worked out great for the rabbits. Once they learned how to play badminton and got the hang of tennis on the grass, they couldn't remember how they ever lived without it."'

That bit about the rabbits playing badminton she got from a political satire cartoon on the Wikipedia entry for the rabbit-proof fence that was published in 1887 when the idea of the fence was first announced. It actually worked quite well and is still used to this day to restrict the movement of emus (they eat the crops) and packs of wild dogs (they eat the livestock).

This book is really starting to piss me off and I've had to take a star off due to extreme frustration. It was funny to start with, but now I can't see the funny for all the insults. Australians love to laugh at themselves, but this has become cruel (and mostly untrue) mocking. Most of the information Lothlorien's using to get a few laughs in her book is not real or hasn't been real for some decades (the prevalence of red back spiders under toilet seats, for example). I wondered, above, whether any research on my country had gone into the writing of the book. I'm now sure she did do research, she watched Crocodile Dundee, The Rabbit Proof Fence and Home and Away and did a little Wikipedia-ing like I have to write this review, the only difference is that I'm not selling this review, while she is selling this book. I may DNF this tonight, depends on how close I get to destroying the Kindle just to make the book go away. To be continued...


20/1 - I finished this over a week ago but was too sick to get out of bed and definitely too sick to bother continuing a review of a book that never got any better. I could no longer be bothered with making notes all the way through to the end of the book (too much effort for practically zero reward). The following are the last of what I picked up.

Page 187
'"I still think we should just nape the forests...flush 'em out."'

Is that supposed to be rape? Even if it is, the sentence still doesn't make a lot of sense.

Same page
'...I'm not really sure I understand why this is so funny.'

Neither am I. She's talking about the comment above, about nape...I mean raping the forests. I can't see anything funny in the idea of 'raping' a forest in order to kill a bunch of Koalas, psychopaths might find that funny but not me.

Page 214
'"I was just trying to lighten the mood a little before you starting griping."'

That should be started.

Page 227
'He turns on a lamp, illuming a bedroom...'

Sure, illuming means the same thing as 'illuminating', but why would you choose to use a word that is described by The Free Dictionary.com as 'a poetic word for illuminate' when the more recognised form would fit perfectly? Going out of your way to use Scrabble words when the everyday ones would be just fine always makes me think of an author trying to make themselves (or their book) sound intelligent.

Page 258
'"...to figure out how many calories were in a glass of water Down Under."'

Is that meant to be a joke? There are no calories in water, 'Down Under' or anywhere else!

On page 297 two authority figures show up, a man from the 'New South Wales Gaming Control Authority' (they don't exist, but it wasn't hard to look up and find the real policing body is called the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing); and a woman from the 'Australian Police Force' (also not real, also not hard to find out that our national police force is called the Australian Federal Police, but then I suppose it would've taken me a few seconds to use the search engine to find that information and that was probably too much work for this author).

The final indictment on this book was that the last 25% of the book was all promotional material for Lothlorien's other books, including the first five chapters of two of her books. I didn't read them on principle, I don't even remember which books they were from. After this book I wouldn't read another book by this author and I'm glad I didn't pay for this one.