Numbers

One of my old school friends, Katherine, was nominated for the Liebster Award. It’s one of those award meme things that bloggers pass on to their friends and other bloggers.  Specifically this one is for newbie bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

I’m not a newbie blogger, I’ve been blogging for practically 14 years so in choosing me as one of her 11 bloggers to pass the award on to she’s breaking the “rules” and being a rebel.  I don’t know or care how many people follow my blog, it’s not why I write. I write because I love to write and because I get so much out of it. I am however grateful to those who do read and especially to those who take the time to comment be it here, in person, on facebook, twitter, whatever.

I could tell you how many twitter followers I have (only because I looked it up earlier) but that’s a false number to be honest and I don’t know it has any real meaning – so many of those I’m sure aren’t on twitter anymore or are following so many people or with such filtered timelines that I rarely show up in their feed. I suspect less than 25% of the 800+ people following me on twitter are actively paying attention and seeking out what I say and would notice if I stopped tweeting.

But anyway my point is I’m probably not the right sort of person to nominate for one of these chain award memes. Especially this one

I’m supposed to nominate my 11 favourite blogs to pass it on to. I’m not going to even try. I read a lot of blogs but it’s no longer a huge list of frequently updated blogs that I read religiously everytime they post. It’s an article here and an article there. Someone posts a link somewhere or I google and I read something relevant.  A big part of that is many of my old favourite blogs are no longer updated or are updated much less frequently.  For some reason I’ve never gone out looking for ones to fill the metaphorical gaps left in my RSS reader.

I do in many ways miss the days when blogs were the big thing and I had friends who blogged and bloggers who became friends.  But at the same time I love twitter and facebook (mostly) and the closer and more instant relationship it’s given me to the same (and more) people.

So if you’re looking for a blog to read other than mine I can’t recommend my favourites as I don’t seem to have any more.  But as a thank you for thinking of me and nominating me I will point you towards Katherine. She has more blogs than I can keep track of (I don’t know how she keeps track of them all either) but she was nominated for and nominated me on her My Reading Paradise blog.

Ableism

A year or so ago (maybe longer) I wrote a few posts explaining a few disability terms.  I called it my disability glossary.  I did intend to expand it to cover other terms but as often happens life got in the way and I didn’t.  Last week someone mentioned my having posted about ableism on facebook and wanted me to define what it was. I struggled a bit when put on the spot in person but said it was basically “like racism but for disability.” This is my attempt at a better definition

Ableism is sometimes called disablism.  The two terms are basically interchangable – the difference in my opinion is one of models of disability. Disablism is more of a social model term and ableism is a medical model term. (I have definitions of the two models here). Having written that I realise that the fact I’m a proponent on the social model of disability but prefer the term ableism probably doesn’t make sense.

Ableism is based on the assumption that it is better to be non disabled (what has previously been referred to as able-bodied) than to be disabled.  It’s discrimination based on ability. Simply put it’s discriminating against me or another disabled person because we have disabilities.

It might be something said (the person who asked me to define ableism was referring to a status about ableist comments). For example

  • “oh I wouldn’t have noticed that you don’t when you’re normal”
  • “[our disabled toilet] is full of cleaning stuff because it isn’t needed by disabled people often.”
  • “all wheelchair users are lazy”

It might be in the way I’m treated

  • ignoring me in the queue at the pub and serving two people behind me
  • having to phone to book something because wheelchair tickets are only available by phone and then constantly playing a “you should do this online” message as I hold.
  • made to sit separately from my friends because you can’t accommodate my wheelchair in the regular seating.

Ableism can also come in because of assumptions about what disability is.

  • Finding out on Monday morning a group of friends went out at the weekend and didn’t ask me because they assumed I wouldn’t be able to join in.
  • The question “how many times a day do you have carers visit you?” rather than asking “do you need carers?”
  • Grabbing my wheelchair and moving me where you think I want to go rather than asking if I need a hand.

Ableism is often done thoughtlessly.  In many ways that’s easy to deal with. Point it out and if it was truly thoughtless it’s often quickly resolved.

But all too often it’s done to shock or to get a laugh.  Comedians are pretty bad at that.

Thoughtless or deliberate ableism is wrong and it’s painful to experience.

 

Rainy, Reading, Resting Day

12:55pm Saturday It’s kinda rainy today (although it has stopped raining and brighted up a bit). And I’m tired and a bit blah.  But it’s Dewey’s 24 hour readathon today so that’s basically the perfect circumstances.

I’ll be updating my progress here on this post (and maybe on twitter too) through out the day.  Probably going to be a little late getting started though as I need to make a sandwich first. I’m not sure what I’ll be reading but I think I’ve finally settled on my first book.  A reread of an old favourite. I’d call it a childhood favourite but although I loved the series as a child I never read this particular book until I was an adult.

3:03pm I didn’t get started reading until about 1:30. And I didn’t manage to read the book I planned to because it seems the free copy I downloaded from the net is an epub and I can’t read that on my PC. Will have to hunt for an app.

But it was a Chalet School book I’d wanted to read and I did manage to find another one I could read.  It also is another one that I didn’t read for the first time until I was an adult. Adrienne and the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent Dyer. 174 pages.

Total so far: 1 book, 174 pages

4:34pm Last week I did the first of three sessions on a mosaic making workshop. The next is next week and the final one the week after.  I’ve started making a mirror and have divided the frame into sections. I still need ideas for the 5th section and ever since I did another mosaic workshop a few years ago I’ve had a copy of A Beginners Guide to Mosaic by Peter Massey and Alison Slater on my shelf (46 pages).  So I got it down and had a look to see if there was anything I liked and that might work for that final section.  And maybe there is. I’m not sure because most of the designs are for big things but I could possibly use some of the patterns used for edging to fill my final section (I’m doing a pattern/geometric based design rather than a picture of a thing).

It’s maybe a bit of a cheat but it’s a book I’ve been meaning to look at all week.

Total so far: 2 books, 220 pages

19:33 my dinner is in the oven (jacket potatoes) and whilst waiting for the oven to heat up and then while they cook I read The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West (141 pages – it’s actually a few more but I skipped the afterword).  It’s a good book! A unique perspective on the First World War and something of a classic without being hard going. Also Chris, the soldier in the book, is disabled. Yay for books including disabled characters.

I chose that because it’s one of the 1001 books you must read before you die (here’s a link to the goodreads group for the book). I have been using the list for inspiration for the past several years (since 2009 I think). The list has been updated several times and I’m using a master list of every book that’s ever been on it – 1305 of them.  The Return of the Soldier is the 150th book I’ve read from the list.

I like jacket potatoes for a readathon dinner because they’re yummy and also take a long time to cook with no effort which gives me a set amount of time to get lots of reading in. An enforced deadline if you will so I don’t get board and start wondering about twitter or whatever.

Total so far: 3 books, 361 pages.

Midnight: I’ve spent a long time faffing since my last update. But I did a 30 minute reading sprint with some people from twitter. I started reading The Gathering by Anne Enright in that time and read 55 pages.  It’s another of the 1001 books and I think interesting is the best word for it.  It’s certainly not going to be a quick or easy read.

Then a bit later I did another 15 minute reading sprint (that’s just finished) and I started reading Carnation of the Upper Fourth by Elinor M. Brent Dyer. It’s late and I wanted something quick and easy to read. Plus I’ve never read this one of her books so it’s a treat. I’ve managed 30 pages in that 15 minutes.

I’m winding down for the evening now and probably won’t update again until early in the morning. But more than likely I’ll read a few pages once I’m in bed.

Total so far: 3 books, 2 partial books, 446 pages

Sunday 12:25pm I meant to get up at 9 but as by the time I’d read a bit more and was in bed with the light out it was 2am I didn’t actually end up surfacing till 11 is.  I’ve just read for about 35-40 minutes and finished reading Carnation of the Upper Fourth by Elinor M. Brent Dyer.  (149 pages total) I liked it a lot.  The one down side of her stand alone books is I want to read more about the characters but there isn’t any more!

I think that’s probably it for the readathon for me.  I want to get a chunk of my knitting done this afternoon though so I’ll probably put an audiobook on while I’m doing that (I’m listening to Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimmage by Haruki Murakami). It’s weird that I’ve not listened to any audiobooks during the readathon because they’re pretty much a readathon staple for me.  But that said I’ve not been listening to audiobooks really this year and don’t think I’ve actually finished a single one.

Total for the October 2014 readathon: 4 books, 1 partial book 565 pages

You Know You’ve Got CP When…

…whilst at a famous London landmark a child chooses your wheelchair as the thing he’s going to take holiday photos of. Sod the landmark, her chair’s got lights!*

They’re resurfacing the road/path outside my house so I headed home a different way to usual. And doing so meant I had to go in the road a tiny bit (which along with it being a bit out of the way is why I don’t normally go that way). So I put the hazard lights on my chair on. As I did so I remembered this story from a month ago and thought “how the hell did I forget to blog about this?”

Mum and I went to London for the weekend last month.  We went to see the poppies at the Tower of London. I blogged about that and shared some of the photos I took. If you only have time to read one blog entry, skip this one and go look at the pics.

I used my seat riser to put myself up a bit and see a bit better. I was creeping (it goes into a creep or crawl mode when it’s up and I move) through the crowds for a while as we looked with it still up. As well as making it easier for me to see it makes it slightly easier to get through the crowd as I’m more noticeable being on the same height as standing people.

We were stopped looking at one point and a lady next to me asked about my chair.  She seemed very impressed by the riser and how useful it is, mentioned working with some disabled children and how it would help them.  With her was a little boy probably no more than seven (but I am rubbish at guessing ages) who I think was her son.

He was also really taken with my chair. He liked the lights.  I put them on and showed him. I was chatting to his mum a little bit and taking photos of the poppies.

The little boy was also taking photos.

of my chair and it’s lights.

I was amused imagining the story of what he did on his weekend in London and the tales at school the next day.  And of the time in ten years when they find those photos and remember a day when it wasn’t a brilliant exhibition at a London landmark that he wanted to remember but the lights on a wheelchair.  Or more than likely they find the pictures and think “what the hell is that?”

Because only when you’ve got CP is a part of you what captures a child’s imagination and becomes part of their holiday snaps.

*this is what I like to imagine his thoughts on the matter were.

Emma Elsewhere

Soha, the housing association I rent from, have started a blog.  It’s called Get Greener With Soha and it’s written by staff and tenants as a place to share hints, tips, hobbies etc all around a theme of getting greener and being more sustainable.

I’m one of the residents who has posting access and I’ve been writing about ways to get cheaper (or otherwise more sustainable) books – I think I’m a bit more on the sustainable is thrifty and looking for cheaper side of things than the sustainable is green side of things that a lot of the other bloggers have been going down.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about libraries and why they are a great resource.

Yesterday I wrote a post about ways to get second hand books.  And immediately after I posed the link on my personal facebook page someone posted another way of getting second hand books which I’d known about and meant to include but forgot. Yeah.  Good at the writing not at proofing or checking my writing, that’s me.

I have at least one more post in mind about cheap sustainable books.  And then I might have to find another topic to write about.  Or just witter on a bit more about reading.

You Know You’ve Got CP When…

…you get really annoyed when people try to make everything that ever happens to you into a “disability thing” and assume that if you try to do something it’s got to be “because you’ve got CP.” Then you get half way through writing a blog entry about someone remembering you when you meet for the second time, months after the first time and the words “you know you’ve got CP when…” floated through your brain as it happened.

Only to stop writing and delete it when you realise that you’re doing it too.  Assuming that it happened because of CP.

It’s not (necessarily) a CP thing that she remembered me 7 months after I first did one of her mosaic workshops, thought for a moment and said “it’s Emma isn’t it?” and then later commented “didn’t you come with your mum last time?”

I wasn’t the only person returning from the first workshop (the venue hasn’t done a mosaics one in between) and she said to a couple of them “you came before.”

If I’m going to get really very annoyed with people make those assumptions I’ve got to bloody well stop doing it myself.  That was an interesting thing to realise.

And in the mean time dyeing my hair has gone from on my to do list to a lot higher priority. Because if I am going to stand out and be noticed why the hell shouldn’t I have purple hair and stand out for something I chose as well as my wheels?

Twenty Things: Go to a TV Filming

My friend Alison and I went to watch The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice filmed on Wednesday.  So I can tick that off of my Twenty Things list.  Putting that on the list was a bit of a cheat because although I’d been thinking of the list for a few weeks by the time I wrote it on Monday I already knew that we would hopefully be going to the filming.  The gave out more tickets than they had spots for so we had to go and queue.  And although we thought we might not get in we did and it seemed pretty easy.

I quite enjoyed it but more seeing what they were doing and everything that was going on than the actual filming.  I’d already seen the final as they showed it first but I had to watch it again when it was on TV and I wasn’t being distracted by all the people wandering about and things happening around me. During the screening I felt like I kept missing bits but when it was on TV it didn’t actually seem like I had.

When An Extra Slice was screen all or part of me was visible on the screen several times as due to my need for a wheelchair space I ended up sitting at one of the tables in the front where they feature the people.  I’d assumed there was a high chance that would be a wheelchair space so it didn’t surprise me.

But what did annoy me was multiple members of staff asking if I needed to stay in my chair. Getting tickets is a lottery and I put in the “any other info” part of that that I’d need a wheelchair space. I emailed them when I got my tickets and said I’d need a wheelchair space amd when it got to the day before and they’d not replied I called them and told them (they eventually replied to my email at 2 am the day of the filming. I didn’t see it til I got home after said filmng) and a note was supposed to have been made.  And they wouldn’t allow Alison to sit with me due to space in the section that was “for people with bakes”. They had no other wheelchair spaces  I very much felt as though they weren’t prepared for a wheelchair user.

It’s particularly annoying because those who brought bakes and were featured (not everyone was) were allowed to have one friend sit with them even if the friend hadn’t helped with the baking. We were originally told they would see if they could move Alison but this didn’t happen. I should have pushed them once the rest of the audience was in. Well, really I should have just said no when they said they were separating us rather than “it’s disappointing.” Luckily the people next to me were friendly because we had to have our drinks on the floor and I had to ask them to reach it for me a few times.

In general the physical access wasn’t amazing but it was doable. If I’d had my powerchair it would have been niggles but with the manual it was a long distance, a rough ish path and a ouple of crazy cambers. I had to be helped to bunny hop over a few ramps that ended in lips. They had a golf buggy to get people there who couldn’t walk the distances from the waiting marquee to the studio (they said it was 400 metres) and I was told I’d be taken on that. The person in charge of the golf buggy was thrown by my asking if it was wheelchair accessible, could I stay in my wheelchair on it (on some you can). So needless to say I didn’t use the golf buggy. A staff member pushed me at least half of the walk and then Alison pushed me the rest. And again when my section went for a mid way through wee break they got me a pusher (but I think that was more I had to go to a different part of the building for the disabled one so had my own escort anyway). At one point my pusher had to stop to grab a door and was all “how do I get you through it and keep it open?” he hadn’t considered that I could wheel myself through it.

I would have described it as other than the wheelchair space issue very doable because they were so helpful. But there was no help available to get back to the car park so Alison had to push me the entire way (so much for independence) – luckily the gates etc I’d used that others hadn’t were unlocked. Those who used the golf buggy got there help back. It’s great to provide assistance to those whose mobility issues make distance a problem. But it needs to be accessible assistance and for me it wasn’t.

I did enjoy it. Jo Brand was funny, some of the bits that got cut out were hilarious too (and I was really surprised by one bit that got kept in) and the warm up comedian was amusing. Some of the audience bakes that weren’t featured were amazing. Mary and Paul in a hot tub was one of them. The warm up comedian took it and showed them in a break. Paul’s comment was he didn’t have a hairy chest as was depicted on the cake.

I think I would go again if it was to a show I really loved.  I like An Extra Slice but I’m not a massive fan of it – I’d been putting my name down for tickets for various things and this was the one that came up. I’d also be a lot more proactive about access (I thought I’d been proactive enough in advance but obviously not) – insist on sitting with whoever I went with and if I go in the manual either a pusher both ways or being able to park much closer.

I’m blogging about this one but letting it go in terms of feedback to the companies involved as I don’t think I’d get a useful for me outcome from any follow up I did.

Twenty Things

I used to be a big fan of the 101 in 1001 idea – 101 goals to work towards over the next 1001 days.  I had two 101 lists that each ran for a period of 1001 days and I completed many from. I then wrote a third list but that petered out and I never really did much with it.  I had been thinking of writing a new 101 in 1001 list but the thing is that’s a lot of goals and a long period of time and to be honest it might be better to have a shorter list of goals to work towards over a shorter time period.

So here is my list of twenty goals to work on by the end of 2015.  It’s a bit of a cheat in places in that one of the goals I’m almost definitely going to complete this week and there is already a vague plan for me to do one, maybe two, of them next month. And there may be an access issue with a fourth but here’s the list anyway.

  1. Visit the British Library (14/11/14)
  2. Go to a TV filming (The Great British Bake Off – An Extra Slice, 08/10/14)
  3. Watch Cirque du Soleil perform (Kooza at The Royal Albert Hall 30/01/15)
  4. Visit The Shard
  5. Emirates Airline (cable car) in London
  6. Get swimming regularly again
  7. Make a blanket for my bed
  8. Reach 200 books read from the 1001 books to read before you die list
  9. Go to the Imperial War Museum on  a day it’s actually open
  10. Listen to one audiobook a month
  11. Finish my novel
  12. Write the fanfic that’s been at the back of my mind driving me crazy for months
  13. Have my nails done professionally with extensions and nail art
  14. Watch all of The Bridge
  15. Start eating more variety – there are plenty of things I eat but find tricky to make so don’t. Figure it out.
  16. Go to bed before midnight every night for six weeks
  17. Botanical Gardens in Oxford
  18. Go back to Buckingham Palace before my 1 year pass expires
  19. Chips on the sea front
  20. Try a new craft taster workshop

 

Travel

I feel like this should have a much catchier title but I don’t know what it is!

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few months about travel.  About whether I could swing a proper trip next year, financially, practically and most importantly all of the disability related aspects that go into it.  And I’ve been considering the disability aspects of it even more over the last few weeks. I’ve had a night or two away in this country over the last few years but I’ve not had a proper holiday since 2007

I have two options in mind – a dream trip and a more realistic trip, closer to home to visit a friend. For both trips I’d be travelling by myself which isn’t a problem because I’ve done that before on a plane. But recent events have made me think a bit about this and left me unsettled.

First there was an incident where my good friend Sarah flew. And the airline destroyed her powerchair.  Thankfully that was on the homeward part of her journey so it didn’t ruin her holiday – and she’s been able to get the airline to cover the cost of a replacement chair. But it’s a pretty heart stopping thought. What the hell do you do if you get to your destination and your wheelchair, your only form of mobility isn’t there or is destroyed?

My mum reminded me when I told her about Sarah’s wheelchair about an incident when I was a teen when we watched as the airport staff dropped my manual chair off an ambulift. Luckily it bounced. Given that’s level with a plane door and how high planes are I’m surprised.

And another friend posted a story on facebook about having so many problems with a language barrier she’d been convinced her chair wouldn’t be there when her flight landed. It was, but again what do you do if it isn’t? I don’t see a language barrier as an issue on either of my hoped for trips but… it was definitely a moment of “oh no do I need to worry about that as well?!”

I’ve come to the conclusion that any travel for me would need to involve either taking both my manual and powerchairs. Which is doable once I’m there but whilst getting to/from/around airports with luggage and one chair seems easy to plan, throwing in a second chair brings more logistics to solve. Or I take the manual and hire a powerchair wherever I’m going and hope it works out.

But then there’s the hotel issue.

Mum and I went to London a couple of weeks ago. We stayed in a particularly well known chain of budget hotels which has a reputation for being one of the best for disability access and advertises with a famous comedian.  I’d for some reason got it in my head that this was a relatively new hotel (true) and that it only had adapted rooms with wheel in showers (false). Then I saw an access review on DisabledGo for that particular branch and some rooms were adapted with baths.

So a few days before we went I called them and asked please could they make sure I got a room with a shower and could we have it as a twin.  The person I spoke to told me she “thought” they only had showers in their adapted rooms so not to worry. I told her that wasn’t what the internet said so please make a note anyway.

When we checked in the person at reception commented about my having phoned and that she was the one I’d spoken to. I found her patronising.

The room we went to was an adapted room. Made up as a double. And with a bath.

I’d tell you I was shocked or even surprised by that but I wasn’t. I would have been surprised if they’d given me what I wanted first time (pleasantly so).

Back to reception. Mum’s walking next to me going “don’t get angry”

Someone else was on reception. I explained and he found us another room. I don’t think he understood why it was a problem though. We had to wait while they made it up and they got us a free drink while we waited.

It helped and we got the room we needed and we had a good stay.

But I was still pissed off.  Because what is the fucking point of my booking an accessible room and going to the trouble of ringing them to explain my needs if I’m going to get fobbed off because the staff member thinks she knows better and my requests ignored?! And I was thinking of other stays in that particular chain over the last six or so years.

One of them I went straight into a room that met my needs and it was probably the most accessible room I’ve ever seen in a hotel room (and I’ve stayed in some hotels that specialise in disability). One of them like this one where the room I got didn’t meet my needs but I was moved to one that did. And one they didn’t have a room that could meet my needs so I was stuck.

So a complaint went in to their head office when I got home. And the manager of that hotel called me.  I was very pleased with his response and I hope changes will be made to prevent stuff like that again – some based on my suggestions and some based on things he brought up. But that’s just his particular branch. I’ve had the cost of our stay refunded too.

But then the fact I’m planning to stay in another of their hotels later in the year came up. It’s a lovely place he tells me, new, only just opened a week or so before and he’d stayed there himself. If I want he’ll call them and explain the situation and sort it for me so I don’t have a repeat. So I say “yes, please.” and ask him to email me to confirm.

I’m really happy because I feel listened to, problem sorted, bonus money back (I didn’t expect that as we actually stayed and did so in a room that met my needs) and I feel I’ve made a difference. Life is good.

Ten minutes later his email hits my inbox and the crash of access woes back into my life and brings my mood down. Life is not good.

This brand new literally at that point open less than a fortnight hotel didn’t at that time have any accessible rooms that would meet my needs – i.e. with a wheel in shower – and they didn’t know if they would in time for my stay. I assume they must have had accessible rooms with a bath otherwise I want to know how the hell they were allowed to open.

It took a week for me to get a definitive answer.

During which time almost everyone was suggesting I cancel my stay and I was stressing because I’m going for a very specific that weekend only event. And I was trying to see if I could find somewhere else to stay if I did cancel. At which point I discovered that the other well known budget hotel chain (them of the “no sleep till bedtime” adverts)  was allowing me to search for accessible rooms in the location I needed and bringing up hotel rooms only to include part way down the details of the first three hotels the words “unfortunately this hotel has no wheelchair access.”

I’ve now been promised that this new hotel will have suitable rooms by the point I stay and they 100% guarantee I’ll get one.

But I’ll believe it when I get there. And in the meantime I’m wondering just how possible a longer trip abroad really is.

A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher

So as I wrote when I posted my interview with Susan Fletcher earlier today I’m taking part in her blog tour for her new book. As a part of the tour, I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I have been trying to think more before accepting books just because they’re free but as soon as I heard about this book I knew I had to read it because I loved Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables so a book telling the story from Eponine’s perspective really intrigued me.  And I have to say A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher really hit the mark for me.  It’s published tomorrow (2nd October 2014) and you should all buy it.  You can still enjoy A Little in Love if you haven’t read Les Miserables (or seen one of the adaptations) but you really should read Les Miserable as it’s a brilliant (if slightly too long in places) book.

The cover for A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher. It's red and dark blue with white bits and shows the face of a girl. It's hard to describe but it's awesome
The cover for A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher. It’s red and dark blue with white bits and shows the face of a girl. It’s hard to describe but it’s awesome

Paris, 1832.

A street girl lies alone in the darkness, clutching a letter to her heart.

Eponine remembers being a child: her swing and the peach tree, and the baby brother she loved.  But mostly she remembers being miserable. Taught to lie and cheat, and to hate the one girl, Cosette, who might have been her friend

Now, at sixteen, the two girls meet again and Eponine has one more chance.  But what is the price of friendship – the love of a boy?

I have to say Susan Fletcher has done a brilliant job with this book.  She’s managed to take a character – Eponine – who in Les Miserables is a thief and someone I think you’re supposed to hate and make her understandable, real and human. The thief becomes a teen girl who justs wants to be loved.  I don’t think that’s out of character for Eponine as she appears in Les Miserables because Susan Fletcher has simply taken the things there were hints of and fleshed them out.  She’s also managed to take another hateful character – Madame Thernadier – and give a brief insight into who she is and make her seem more human too.  I still didn’t like her though.

As I was reading the book the songs from the musical kept coming to mind – particularly at the beginning and I’m listening to the soundtrack now as I write this. I may have annoyed my neighbours lately with how much I’ve had it on. Not that I’m bothered by that.

I can’t say the end of the book surprised me because I’ve read the original and knew how it would end. But I was disappointed to reach the end anyway and as with the rest of the book thought it very well handled.

A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher is a power book that I loved and found hard to put down.