teenage pregnancy

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All Day At The Movies – Fiona Kidman

Published March 8, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

When war widow Irene Sandle goes to work in New Zealand’s tobacco fields in 1952, she hopes to start a new, independent life for herself and her daughter – but the tragic repercussions of her decision will resonate long after Irene has gone.

Each of Irene’s children carries the events of their childhood throughout their lives, played out against a backdrop of great change – new opportunities emerge for women, but social problems continue to hold many back. Headstrong Belinda becomes a successful filmmaker, but struggles to deal with her own family drama as her younger siblings are haunted by the past.

A sweeping saga covering half a century, this is a powerful exploration of family ties and heartbreaks, and of learning to live with the past

What did I think?:

8th March is International Woman’s Day, commemorating the movement for women’s rights, equality between the genders and celebrating all the achievements of women around the world. To celebrate this day, I’d like to showcase a very much new to me author (although incredibly prolific in her native New Zealand), Dame Fiona Kidman with her wonderful novel, All Day At The Movies which was brought to my attention by Gallic Press. A huge thank you to them for opening my eyes to a talented writer I have only now had the good fortune to come across and for the copy they kindly sent me in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed every sweeping moment of this narrative, packed full of drama, heart-ache, testing times and indeed, triumphs of one particular family. I loved how the author put so much heart into each character that she created and this only served to make me feel more connected and invested in each of them individually as a reader.

All Day At The Movies is an epic family tale spanning about sixty years focusing on a few members of a family down the generations. At first, we meet a determined mother, Irene Sandle who tragically, has become widowed with a young daughter, Jessie to support. She is forced to work in the tobacco fields of New Zealand in the early fifties which does not pay much and is back-breaking work but provides a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. However, in trying to provide a stable life for herself and her daughter, Irene becomes embroiled in a life that she hadn’t planned and unfortunately, will have severe repercussions for the rest of her children down the line as their story continues once Irene is gone.

I cannot say anymore than this – to do so would be to give far too much away! Let me just say, we follow a few of Irene’s children and how they deal with the struggles in their lives once their mother has gone and they are forced to navigate the world without her, without much support or strength from the other responsible adults in their lives. We hear very little about Jessie as she runs away entirely from the situation but it is obvious that the damage has already been done. We see a more prominent effect on the children left behind i.e. Belinda, Grant and the youngest girl, Janice who you could suggest goes through the most traumatic experiences. However, all children are affected in some way or another and even though Belinda does manage to make some success of her life after a rocky start, there are still demons that return to plague her, especially those connected with her siblings.

I absolutely adored the structure of this novel. It’s almost like a series of short stories, beginning in 1952 with Irene’s story, meandering right through the seventies and eighties and ending in 2015, where we begin to realise the full extent of how each of Irene’s children have been affected by their past experiences. It’s rare to find a perfect family of course, and relationships between certain members of our families can be tricky at times but Fiona Kidman illustrates these difficulties beautifully with a very sensitive analysis of the bonds that hold us together as a family and how tenuous these links can be, especially where there are issues of trust or neglect. I certainly wasn’t expecting some of the themes that the author covered, including emotional and sexual abuse, death, racism, poverty, adoption, mental illness…. I could go on, I’ve just scratched the surface with the amount of issues addressed here!

Finally, I just want to touch on the fact that the author also uses events in New Zealand’s history (which I know shamefully little about) to make an already action-packed narrative even more exciting. I was completely swept away, surprised and delighted by this fantastic novel which was a real joy to experience and I was quite sad to come to the realisation that we were in 2015 and there were no more generations of Irene’s family to follow just yet! I could have read about them for much longer and there’s certainly a few of the characters stories that will stick in my mind for a long while yet.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):


All Day At The Movies by Fiona Kidman was the seventeenth book in my quest to conquer Mount Everest in the Mount TBR Challenge 2018!



Banned Books #13 Detour For Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds with Chrissi Reads

Published July 27, 2015 by bibliobeth



What’s it all about?:

A selection of ALA Best Books for Young Adults, this novel tells the story of a 15-year-old girl who must face the consequences of becoming pregnant.


Logo designed by Luna’s Little Library

Welcome to our seventh book of 2015 and the thirteenth book in our series of Banned/Challenged Books. We’ll be looking at why the book was challenged, how/if things have changed since the book was originally published and our own opinions on the book. This is what we’ll be reading for the rest of 2015 – the post will go out on the last Monday of each month so if you’d like to read along with us, you are more than welcome.


Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Chosen by : Beth


Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Chosen by: Chrissi


Forever by Judy Blume

Chosen by : Beth


The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Chosen by : Chrissi


Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes

Chosen by: Beth

But back to this month….

Detour For Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds

Chosen by : Chrissi

First published:  1993

In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2005 (source)
Chosen by: Chrissi
Reasons:  sexual content
Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: Challenged…. perhaps. I’m not really sure. There is only one really detailed sex scene which is certainly nothing in comparison to books like Judy Blume’s Forever (also a Banned Book on our list this year!). The rest of the sexual content I don’t think is anything teenagers wouldn’t talk about at school between themselves or find in other books even before sex on the internet became so prominent i.e. when this book was first published. I can’t really see it being taught in classrooms at that time.

CHRISSI: Yes and no. I can see why it would make some teachers uncomfortable to study it with children. But as a general book for the school library/to recommend to teenagers? No, not at all. I think all too often sexual content is shied away from and there really shouldn’t be such a fuss made of sexual content in books. I sometimes think the more a teenager is told not to read something, the more they want to! I actually think Emmy comes across as very strong in this book. She is determined to have a good life for her child and live with the consequences of being a teen mum.

How about now?

BETH: Nowadays, as I mentioned in the previous section, teenagers have access to much more explicit sexual content compared to what is written about in this book. I think it’s a great book for teenagers to read as it’s real-to-life and stresses the important of contraception if teenagers are going to be having sex, something I think is very important. It also shows that things go wrong, people let you down, you have a hard choice in front of you and your life could change forever but if you have dreams, they are still achievable – you may just need to adjust them slightly. I don’t see a problem with school libraries making this book available for students to read as the messages in it are too important to get political about.

CHRISSI: I think it should be read by teenagers and young adults. I certainly don’t think it’s overly explicit. Nothing in the book totally shocked me and I feel it dealt with some issues that needed to be addressed. Emmy doesn’t have the best home life and I think it’s important that this is represented in fiction, as some young adults (and adults alike!) could totally relate to this! Her boyfriend is a complete idiot too… something else that other young adults/adults might relate to! 😉

What did you think of this book?

BETH: It’s a good read – perhaps I didn’t relate to it completely as I’m a bit above the age bracket it’s aimed towards but I appreciated what the book was trying to say and support the author in that. I think that teenagers would relate to the characters and enjoy the story. I also liked that it explored other themes like parenting, race and friendship.

CHRISSI: I don’t think it’s a book that will totally stay with me for a long time. I didn’t find it overly memorable, but I enjoyed reading it and think it should definitely be out there for teenagers!

Would you recommend it?

BETH: But of course!


BETH’s personal star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Join us again on the last Monday of August when we will be discussing my choice of Banned Book – Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.