Quick Book Reviews: ‘Switch Bitch’

switch-bitch

Switch Bitch (Roald Dahl)

Simply put, this is a collection of short stories about sex. But this isn’t as cheap and tawdry as you might imagine; the stories are all wonderfully inventive and each with delightful twists at the end. Indeed, you’d expect nothing less from Mr. Dahl. This was something of a bizarre read for me as well, as I’d only ever read his works intended for children (although they could get dark and twisted in places as well), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being a particular favourite of mine growing up. So reading one of his more adult-oriented works was certainly an experience for sure. What he does especially well in this collection is effortlessly make parts of the stories emotionally crushing yet hilarious at the same time, which is no mean feat.

Two of the stories, ‘The Visitor’ and ‘Bitch’ are told from the perspective of ‘Uncle Oswald’, presented as a notorious womaniser whose memoirs have been discovered by his family. ‘Visitor’ is particularly brilliant as, not to give anything away, a dream-come-true (for him) scenario of sleeping with another man’s wife and daughter becomes a nightmare, when he is cruelly, yet justly punished for his intended transgression at the end. My first reaction was ‘Oh….shit’ but quickly turned to hysterical laughter. ‘Bitch’ meanwhile is perhaps a little silliler and ‘out there’, the ending in particular, but it captures the sheer primality of our carnal desires very well. The character in general, despite his attitude towards women (he has a strict ‘one time only’ policy’, which he repeatedly stresses), and complete lack of morals, is one you just can’t truly hate, and his (mis)adventures are truly a joy to read.

‘The Great Switcheroo’ meanwhile, involves two husbands crafting a master plan to sleep with each other’s wives, without the wives actually knowing that it isn’t their husband in the act with them. If this sounds completely implausible, suspend your disbelief – the plan and how it is carried out is actually quite ingenious, and fully explained step-by-step, again emphasising the lengths we will go to for sex. Again, not to spoil things too much, but while the plan technically does work, it has devastating consequences for one of the husbands in question, but again, this is written in such a way that is darkly humorous.

‘The Last Act’, meanwhile, is probably the most brutal of the four – there is little comedy in this one, given that it deals with a woman contemplating suicide following the tragic passing of her husband. While this ends up being delayed when she lands herself a job, an encounter with an old flame quickly sends her falling into the abyss again, and I personally had to put the book down and process what I had just read after the ending, which really does show how cruel and callous humanity can be, at its worst. It pulls no punches, this one, and is a very raw and emotional read. Probably just as well, then, that the more light-hearted ‘Bitch’ is the story to close the collection.

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection, and read it all more or less in one sitting – I was certainly hooked in. Would highly recommend it, and therefore will award it a 5/5!

Check out my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

Weds poetry prompt: ‘Panic’s Puppet’

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This week’s prompt: Write a ‘repair’ poem.

Panic’s Puppet

Iā€™m all too quick to panic,
Easily shaken and rattled
By diving into needless battles,
Yes, Iā€™m not always very selective
About where my stress is directed,
Expecting a swift resolution
After an impromptu mental explosion,
And broken pieces to magically reform
Following each inevitable storm
Of clouds which cannot be changed
Nor controlled, yet still I attempt to.
It is only after the eventual calm
That I can stand back and repair
The further damage I have done,
And find the correct answer.
If only the mind made its move first,
Before the heart hastily runs in
Then I might just spare myself
From this misguided torture
And recover the rational me for good.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

Entering the world of Open Mic…

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So recently I have been trying to get myself out there and perform my poetry at any open mic nights or poetry slams I can find, and also began enlisting those with me to record me so I can establish a presence on the poetry ‘circuit’ – as a few months back there was one publisher I was eyeing who were taking submissions, but required you to have proof of an established presence within spoken word poetry. Hence the motivation to build up exactly that! So in this post I am sharing with you videos of two of my performances; I am hoping with time and practice I will become a bit more natural and confident with it, but I hope you enjoy regardless šŸ™‚

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to see more in the future, and of course I’ll post them here on my blog as well šŸ™‚ Has anyone else braved the world of open mic? Would be interesting to hear others’ experiences…

Check out my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

Weds poetry prompt: ‘Diamonds of Intent’

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This week’s prompt: Write a ‘pieces’ poem.

Diamonds of Intent

The ambitions and big ideas
That chatter away in my head
Are quickly and ruthlessly broken
Into petty, incomprehensible shards
When cast out into reality,
Merely becoming minute pieces
Of a fabled master plan
That I am unable to assemble
Or indeed, even recall the path to,
As these evanescent half-concepts
Are inevitably carried away
Up to the vast, confusing sky
Before becoming lost in the clouds
Never to be seen again,
Their fragile and fleeting nature
Ultimately meaning it is futile
To attempt that final cohesion
Until the mind seeks and finds
Those rare diamond intentions
That the world cannot so easily shatter.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

‘Letter from a Dragon’

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So this is just a little piece that came about after I went to the ‘Essex Author’s Day’ back in March, that was part of the Essex Book Festival going on that month – one of the workshops that I attended, entitled ‘Develop Your Writing’, was headed by a Literature professor at my old university (I graduated in 2008 with my English Lit degree – nearly 10 years ago!!), and the aim was to provide us with several prompts and ideas to write something themed around dragons – and we heard some examples from students as well. I didn’t follow any of the given prompts specifically, per say, but while there on the day I was suddenly inspired to write about a somewhat grumpy dragon setting the record straight to humankind about what dragons were really like. I carried on with it and polished it up a little once I returned home, and then just kind of left it sitting for a while, until I was suddenly inspired to unearth it and finish it properly today. And here it is…I am going to try and get in the habit of posting bits of writing that aren’t just the weekly poetry prompts (or the monthly challenges), so I hope you enjoy this one. It may become something more in the future, perhaps a short story of some kind? Watch this space, anyway…

Letter from a Dragon

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Weds poetry prompt: ‘Visitors to Forever’

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This week’s prompt: Write a ‘forever’ poem

Visitors to Forever

In a world that stretches
For almost forever,
There is but a precious fraction
Of time to tread across it all,
So explore and feed your eyes
This infinite feast of wonders
Spread across a vast plate
While your body can still cross over
And consume it all,
For we are but temporary visitors
In this miraculous blue marble
And must use wisely our time within.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 8th May 2017)

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EDIT: Updated 8th May 2017 – Ah – been a while since I’ve updated this, hasn’t it? Apologies for that. In the time since the last post I have since completed Good Bones and Profiles of the Future, and may post some brief thoughts on them shortly. I have also added Pompeii and Switch Bitch to the list.

…As for the subject of this post; yes, it is the dreaded ‘To Read’ pile that, for those like me who enjoy a good book, seems to grow ever bigger due to the heavy demands and committments of our everyday lives. It became a bit of a problem for me last year, as I was constantly buying books from second-hand bookshops/charity shops, thinking ‘I’ll get to all these someday’, only to find I had so many building up in my room, still unread. It was at that point I literally sorted them into a ‘To Read’ pile, and began, you know, actually reading the blasted things, further vowing to not buy anymore until I had finished them. I’ll admit I make the occassional exception – if there is a new Margaret Atwood coming out I will either buy it or ask for it as a gift, for example – but I’ve generally managed to keep to this pretty well. So, in order to keep an actual list for myself, here are all of the books that have amassed in the pile, with links to their Goodreads pages (I will give my account on there some attention as I work through all of these as well!). Click to read on…

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