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I’m having a brief respite from the olive world this week, and following another passion of mine – reading! I haven’t written a book review for I would guess at least 20 years. But I’ve really enjoyed this book (well sort of, parts are pretty painful) and I’m really glad I came across it – a uniquely told, very honest love story.

I started my blog because everyone you talk to says it’s something you have to do for a new business. A completely unexpected and pleasant side effect has been that I’ve come into contact with lots of people doing lots of very interesting and varied things. One of these is M-R Stringer (that’s definitely M-R, not Margaret!) Being an avid reader I am deeply in awe of the fact that she’s written a book. That’s been published. And having a lively and interesting blog herself, where she comments and replies, means that I feel as if I know her a little. It’s very cool! Being able to converse with an Author! So having discovered her blog, and finding it thought provoking and entertaining, I thought I’d have a look at her book. I found a copy in the library – my bookcases are all overflowing so I’ve banned myself from buying more books 🙁

"And Then Like My Dreams", M-R Stringer

I have to admit I probably wouldn’t have picked it out as it’s an autobiographical work and I’m not a big reader of the genre. The only other I can recall reading is Obama’s “Dreams from My Father”.

“And Then Like My Dreams” (ATLMD) is very well written, and therefore very easy to read. M-R has a colloquial style of writing so you can really imagine her talking. And with a nod to their work history in the Aussie film industry, there are brief interspersed scenes written as scripts which add an additional dimension.

The book was written to celebrate her husband Chic and describes their life together, largely based in Sydney, although with some treasured European trips. It’s a Huge Love Story, but much more symbiosis than soppiness. It’s mostly in chronological order, with occasional skips back and forth. It has felt to me much like flicking through a photo album. Highlights of a shared life. And I feel it’s a shame that her proposed subtitle “Still and Moving Pictures” didn’t make the final cut, as it brings to my mind a kind of perpetuity. M-R writes vividly, so it is really like looking at pictures. Some of the places she describes I’ve been to myself, but many I haven’t. But I feel as if I can see them both the same. And she illustrates her much missed Chic with all the things that make up a relationship. Big events and little snippets. Shared jokes. And photos.

I was glad that the book did skip forwards at times, because the end, without those glimpses, would be terribly hard to take. I was in tears as it unfolded. M-R still manages to add moments of humour, and kindness from friends, family, and the professionals they had contact with, but I found some of the descriptions of their experiences with the healthcare system devastating. My advice is to obtain a box of tissues before you reach the final chapters! But I suppose that’s how life is. There are the highs, and then the most awful lows. M-R is incredibly, brutally, honest about herself throughout, but particularly about coping with bereavement.

“And Then Like My Dreams” is an insightful description of a very close marriage, and succeeds in its aim to introduce Chic to a wider audience. So go and read it too; there are far more laughs than tears within the pages. FFx

A few links, in no particular order…

M-R’s blog is at margaretrosestringer.com

Her publisher is here www.fremantlepress.com.au

This book price comparison site shows you the prices for multiple retailers in several countries www.booksprice.com

And it’s also on Kindle (although I think this may not have all the photos in it) www.amazon.com