>> Friday, July 13, 2012
TITLE: Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class
AUTHOR: Owen Jones
It took me a while to read this, as it enraged me so much I kept having to put it down. It wasn't anger at the author, but sharing his own anger at the situations he was describing. Many people reading even the title of this will say (as some of my friends have) "But a chav the way I use it isn't about being working class, there are plenty of middle class chavs!". To that, all I can say is: read this book. You'll never use the word again.
I can't say it better than Jones himself:
'It is both tragic and absurd that, as our society has become less equal and as in recent years the poor have actually got poorer, resentment against those at the bottom has positively increased. Chav-hate is a way of justifying an unequal society. What if you have wealth and success because it has been handed to you on a plate? What if people are poorer than you because the odds are stacked against them? To accept this would trigger a crisis of self-confidence amongst the well-off few. And if you were to accept it, then surely you would have to accept that the government's duty is do something about it - namely, by curtailing your own privilages. But, if you convince yourself that the less fortunate are smelly, thick, racist and rude by nature, then it is only right they should remain at the bottom. Chav-hate justifies the preservation of the pecking order, based on the fiction that it is actually a fair reflection of peoples worth.'MY GRADE: A B+.
TITLE: The Sense of an Ending
AUTHOR: Julian Barnes
Tony Webster is in his 60s and contented in his life. But a letter from a lawyer opens a can of worms, as it sparks a reexamination of an incident from his youth, and makes Tony discover that memory might be more treacherous than he once thought.
I hate reviewing books like this one, because since I grade books here purely for my enjoyment of them, it's going to make me look like an illiterate idiot. Eh, well, here goes. Yes, it's technically a brilliant book, and it explores some really fascinating ideas and themes. Unfortunately, however, it does all that in a way that left me cold and didn't excite me. And I'm not talking just about emotional excitement; it didn't excite me intellectually, either. If the book had been any longer than the 150 pages it was, I might have struggled to pick it up every time I put it down.
MY GRADE: A B-.