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nosaferplace Book Club: Radio Silence (David Owen - Guest Post)

Radio Silence
Author: Alice Oseman
Publisher: Harper Collins
Read why Dave chose Radio Silence as his nosaferplace Book Club pick here:


I set Jacqueline Silvester (Author of Wunderkids) the challenge listed below. Find out what books we both chose!

Challenge - Spell out the title of your novel with other books that you love.


****This is a personal, way too much information post about my bodily fluids. If this offends your delicate feelings, I wouldn't read any further if I were you****

Periods. Can't live with them, can't live withou -- what am I saying? I could live without them. In fact, I'd pay to live without them. I'd give up an internal organ to live without them. There are the rare breed of women that don't mind their periods, but let me tell you, I am not one of them.

I have had periods for 10 years, come January 8th. Yes, I remember the date. It was my best friend's birthday and I called her and mumbled down the phone that I had "become a woman" - because what 13 year old would dare to say the word, period? Flash forward a few years, I still couldn't say the word period without blushing and I still couldn't buy my own pads (thanks mum!)

Was there anything worse than going to a friend's house and realising they don't have a bin in their bathroom? Or a friend telling you she had supplies in her bathroom, only to find the dreaded tampon available and attractively hanging over the toilet seat, attempting to insert a vibrator-shaped fluffy object into your vagina? Or a boy trying to have his way with you and mumbling that, "it's that time of the month"? Or changing a pad in public and trying to do it quietly, so the entirety of the girls loo didn't think you were waxing in a cubicle? Why are pads so noisy to unwrap?

Now I'm 23 and I'm ready to talk about periods. I went from a 20 year old who used to say (to my now husband), "I can't until a few days" and then give him "the look" to a 23 year old who says, "go round the shop and get me the night pads, this is a heavy period and the blood won't stop coming". And guess what? He doesn't care. And neither do I. Periods are normal and we need to talk about them, especially to men.

Let's talk about schools. They don't educate you on periods. What they tell you: you will bleed for a week out of every 28 days. Wear pads or tampons". That's it. What they don't tell you: Get period knickers, otherwise you'll ruin every pair of nice knickers you own with blood stains. Buy long pads, because guess what? When you lay down to sleep, that blood has to go somewhere. Be prepared to have long baths and sit on the toilet for copious amounts of time - it's the only time you'll be free. Let me tell you, the average pee takes me 10 seconds. Period pees take me a few minutes. I sit there enjoying the freedom of not having a piece of fabric irritating my already sensitive vagina. You may have periods that last a week, but a lucky few will get periods that last two weeks. I salute you. You'll also feel like you're about to give birth before the blood's even thinking about exiting your body. Girls, how many times have you laid on the floor in immense pain because you can't physically stand up? I used to do this at work so often. You'll put on between 7-14 pounds and inflate to the size of a pregnant woman. Your breasts are so dense and heavy, you could do a workout with them - that's if they're not so tender, that you can actually touch them. And clots (looks like strawberry jelly, yum!) - the first time I had one of those, I thought I had just turned into Jane the Virgin, who had somehow become pregnant and miscarried. I was petrified. But girls, if it's smaller than a 10p piece, apparently it's normal...who knew? And don't even get me started on your moods...

I'm not sure if I want to punch you, cuddle you, eat you or have sex with you. But those are the four moods I experience on my periods. I don't recognise myself when I'm on my period, I am no longer me.

I saw this advert today and I did a happy dance. 
Normalising periods needs to happen. More adverts like this please.

I think the most important piece of advice with periods, is go by what's normal for you. Me and my best friend have completely different periods but they're normal for us and if there's any changes, make sure you go to your GP. And I know it sucks, but we're all in this blood filled monthly nightmare together.

You can handle your period, so why can't everyone else too?

nosaferplace Book Club: Hope (Elizabeth Corr: Guest Post)


Author: Rhian Ivory

Publisher: Firefly Press

Read why Liz Corr chose Hope as her nosaferplace Book Club pick here:

Here’s To Hope…

‘Time passes; I don’t know how much. I sit on the floor panting, looking around at the mess I’ve made… My desk chair is upended, the wheels spinning uselessly, and one of my snow globes has smashed, leaving a little pool on my desk, shards of glass swimming in the remains. I think there’s something wrong with me.’

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Hope, written by the insanely talented Rhian Ivory.

Following the death of her father, and failure to get into drama school, sixteen-year old Hope’s life is spinning out of control. The future that she had her heart set on now appears permanently out of reach. Meanwhile, her body seems to be engaging in one long act of rebellion, literally fighting her mind for control. Feeling increasingly isolated from friends, particularly best friend Callie, and struggling to connect with her mother, Hope doesn’t know what to do next.

Help is at hand however, in various guises. After a failed (and particularly traumatic) audition, Hope meets Riley on the ferry. Like Hope, Riley is frustrated by the direction his life is taking and doesn’t know what to do about it. After their initial meeting, the pair provide one another with support (winding each other up at times, too) through a series of rather endearing, and sometimes very funny, text messages.

More important to Hope’s ultimate recovery, however, is Pryia, a member of the Singing Medicine team at the hospital where Hope’s mother works. Reluctantly, Hope joins the team, and initially is overwhelmed by the suffering of the young patients she sees. However, with Pryia’s encouragement, Hope eventually re-discovers her voice, bringing joy – and hope – to the children she sings to at the same time.

Hope also opens up to Pryia about the debilitating symptoms, including almost uncontrollable anger, she experiences on a monthly basis. Pryia finally convinces Hope to be brave and ask for help from her GP. After Hope discovers there’s an actual medical diagnosis for the symptoms she’s been suffering, things slowly start to get better.

Last but not least, Hope’s eternally optimistic grandfather, Nonno, helps Hope see that her future is far from over: when one door closes, more often than not another one opens up.

Hope is a beautifully written book. There are parts of the story - particularly how Hope and her mother handle their respective grief - that resonated with me deeply. Ultimately however, Hope is an uplifting, joyous story, with two clear messages.

Sometimes you need to be brave enough to ask for help before you can heal.

And sometimes you need to be adventurous and embrace change (whether or not you invited it), because when you do…well, that’s when you let hope in.

Altogether a fabulous read. Highly recommended.