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Enjoyable Bling: I am the Secret Wag

I am the Secret WAG: The True Story of My Life as an England Footballer's WifeI am the Secret Wag by Anonymous

Transworld released this memoir / biography to coincide with the World Cup. As I had recently been trudging my way through a number of heavy and gloomy novels I was thrilled to win a copy in a Twitter competition. It’s not necessarily the sort of book I would always choose but I hoped it would be a good antidote to my recent reading.

Money, cars, homes, holidays, shopping sprees… The Secret Wag confirms that everything you assume about the lifestyle is true. But what is it really like living in both the spotlight and in your husband’s extensive shadow?

First Impressions: I wasn’t taken by the first few pages. Her husband writes the introduction and I found his assessment of her being a strong, loving, independent woman was a bit cliched and over the top. I also wasn’t impressed with some of the language used: someone is in DeNile. This usually makes me groan and put a book down but there was something about this story that made me want to keep going. Maybe it was the comment that footballers are only ever found in three places: training, a club or playing XBox.

Highlights: The more I read, the more I realised that the writer is quite intelligent. When writing about her children she seemed incredibly sincere and honest. I don’t know enough about the WAGs to be able to make a decent guess at the Secret Wag’s identity. When I think of WAGs the name Coleen Rooney circles mind but that is mostly the extent of my knowledge. I wonder if the Secret Wag is maybe married to someone in a lower league and this is a pastiche of stories; Coleen was friendly to her at an event and Toni Terry perhaps not. Anyway, after reading about the restrictions on a WAGs life I do wonder if the author is just desperate to use her mind for anything other than booking manicures and tipping off the paparazzi.

If I was an editor: I wouldn’t be surprised by some of the average or poor reviews for this book but seriously, what do people think they are picking up to read? Do they honestly hope to find something profound and life changing? The book is exactly what you would expect, but a fun journey. The parts of the memoir I personally didn’t enjoy so much were the description of the couple’s amorous interludes. It didn’t read very passionately to me and I wonder if it was included to provide some excitement for readers wanting an extended version of a Heat article.

Overall: I really enjoyed this memoir for what it is. It is exactly what I had hoped for and expected. No scandalous tales implicating others were included (to the disgust of some other reviewers it seems) but I hardly expected this.

I am the Secret Wag: 4 Stars

Thank you to Transworld for a copy of the book!

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Venetian Love Story: Journey from Venice

 9780143202738Journey from Venice by Ruth Cracknell

I don’t think I’ve read a memoir since Louis Nowra’s The Twelfth of Never (highly recommended in my hazy recollection…). I have such fond memories of watching Ruth Cracknell as ‘Mummy Bear’ in Mother and Son as I was growing up and was saddened to learn of her death a few years ago. When I saw this orange Penguin edition on a trip back to Australia I just had to buy it.

Ruth and her husband Eric escape their busy lives and plan the trip of a lifetime in Venice. Not long into their trip Eric becomes ill and is quickly admitted into intensive care. This memoir charts the final months Ruth and Eric have together.

First Impressions: Ruth Cracknell has a unique writing style with interesting sentence construction. However, I was just as seduced with Venice as she was and found this short memoir hard to put down.

Highlights: The first half was lovely. Despite Eric’s illness and quick demise, Cracknell made me fall in love with Venice all over again: the architecture, the art, the food and restaurants, the Venetians themselves… For a rather depressing subject matter it made me want to book a flight! Cracknell also has a wry humour and her account of Eric’s hearing aid which included her using a profanity was great. Cracknell is keenly observant and often poignant – the vista of the cemetery that can be seen from the hospital has stuck with me.

If I was an editor: I would point out that the second half wasn’t quite as gripping although as it recounts Eric’s demise back in Sydney this is hardly surprising. I did feel I was with Cracknell counting down the days but also trying to still time. I became a bit confused with all the people dropping in and out, visiting Eric for what may be the last time, but no doubt this mirrors the chaos Cracknell was going through herself. For the life of me I couldn’t remember who Kirily was and despite flipping back I couldn’t find out.

Overall: I couldn’t put it down. I learnt a lot about Cracknell’s personality; she is no Maggie Bear!

Journey From Venice: 4 stars

 

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