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I have just submitted the following article to an online newspaper. I thought I would share it with you too…..

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A few years ago, I was at a party enjoying a white wine, when someone said to me, “Oh, you drink!”
I was their five year old child’s school teacher, and because I spent my days reciting nursery rhymes and counting to ten, they obviously thought this continued after work too.The fact that their child’s teacher was drinking, even (horrors) slightly tipsy, was shocking!

Primary school teachers tend to not smoke and swear when at work, they don’t have sex or lose their temper. Some people think they don’t at home either.

I met similar views when growing up. My father was a Baptist minister, and growing up in a manse was a strange experience. We were seen as ‘different’, as people who didn’t behave as ‘normal’ people did. It was also assumed that my thoughts and views would be the same as my father’s. I recall giving an opinion once, and someone saying, “But your father doesn’t think that.” They were totally confused – how could I have a different point of view to my father, when he was the minister?

I began writing full time two years ago. I was invited to a lunch, and the after dinner speaker was the bestselling author Adele Parks. As she told us her story, how she loved to tell stories and write, I thought, ‘I could do that.’ I have always told stories – to my children and pupils and friends – now I write them down and tell them to strangers.

When I wrote my first book, Hidden Faces, I wanted to show that people have different sides, different masks if you like. Everyone says ‘write what you know’, and I followed this advice with my first book. I wrote about being a primary school teacher, I wrote about growing up in a Baptist manse, I wrote about people having different sides to their characters, changing their behaviour to fit who they’re with.

I have now written three books, the second will be published in the Spring 2017. I am a person who likes to laugh, and that humour infiltrates my books, making the stories an easy read. I tend to write about strong women and teenaged boys, because these are the people who I know best.

Anne E. Thompson writes a weekly blog at anneethompson.com

Her first book, Hidden Faces, is available from bookshops and Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hidden-Faces-Anne-E-Thompson/dp/0995463204/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476260112&sr=8-1&keywords=hidden+faces+by+anne+e+thompson

Hidden Faces final cover 6 July 2016

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Book Review….

Book Review (No spoilers!)
The Night Manager by John leCarre

Now, this is quite funny. I decided to read something different. I had finished The Night Manager (review below) and I wanted to read something easy and light. Usually I read spy/crime/thrillers. I thought I would try something completely different. So, there is a woman, who uses Twitter a LOT. Honestly, her face is always on there! So, I thought, okay, she seems to have written several books, and is clearly trying very hard to market them (she has my sympathy) I will try one.

Well, then it gets to the funny bit. You see, I went on to my Twitter account, to find the link to her latest book so I could buy it and…..she had blocked me! I didn’t even know you could block people on Twitter. I am not completely sure why she did this, possibly it was a mistake, or it might be because a while ago, I posted something on Twitter and she commented. I then reposted it, and she sent me a message, complaining I had deleted her comments. I had not – at least not intentionally – I wouldn’t know how to even if I wanted to, in fact, I hadn’t even seen her comments. But my IT skills are fairly basic, so I replied, apologising and saying it was in error, not to be nasty. Perhaps she didn’t believe me. Perhaps there was another reason. But she has blocked me.

So, what to do? At first I was rather put out, decided I would buy someone else’s book. Then I decided that was silly, why should I change my mind just because I had been blocked from her Twitter feed? It might have been a mistake, or maybe she has an ill mother or some other stress in her life that I don’t know about, and had over reacted. I am not perfect myself. Sometimes I react wrongly. Sometimes I need people to cut me some slack and ignore a sharp tone or a statement that came out wrong. So, I bought her book. If I like it, I’ll write a review (if I don’t like it, I won’t. No need to write a bad review, there is enough negativity in the world.) I haven’t had time to read it yet, so watch this space…
So, on to The Night Manager.

My brother told me I should buy The Night Manager DVD. His recommendations are usually good, so I did. The DVD shows all the episodes from the television series. I didn’t even know it had been a television series (I don’t watch telly much.) So, Son 2 was home, and after dinner each evening, we sat and watched one, or sometimes two, episodes. It was brilliant (hence the rather indulgent two episodes some evenings!) A good mix of brilliant acting, a great script and that fine balance between not being confused while watching but also not being able to guess quite HOW it was going to end. Worth investing a few hours of relaxation.

When we had watched the last episode, I decided to buy the book for when we went on holiday. John leCarre is one of my favourite authors – in fact, he is the person in the world who I would most like to meet for coffee. I’ve seen him interviewed a couple of times, plus I love his writing, I think his brain is amazing and that he would make for a very interesting person to chat to. But anyway, back to the book. Although I have read quite a lot of his work, I had missed The Night Manager, so downloaded the Kindle version and read it on holiday. It did not disappoint.

I would definitely recommend that you watch the televised version first, and then read the book. The characters in the drama are excellent, and when I read the book, I could still hear their voices in my head. Even though one of the characters actually changes gender between the telly version and the book, it doesn’t spoil the enjoyment at all. In fact, a lot about the book was different. There are huge differences in plot, places and finale. But the essence of the characters and the main themes in the story, remain true in both.

At the end of the book, there is a short conclusion by John leCarre. He also comments on the differences, saying that when he heard they were going to change so much in the filmed version, his thought was to tell them to “write your own bloody book”. I’m so glad he didn’t, that he was wise enough to trust the people who made the televised version. We can enjoy both of them.

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Amazon link:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-Manager-John-Carré/dp/0340597658/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1474219070&sr=8-5&keywords=the+night+manager

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Thank you for reading.

If you enjoy good books, why not try Hidden Faces?

Hidden Faces final cover 6 July 2016

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hidden-Faces-Anne-E-Thompson/dp/0995463204/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474385833&sr=8-1&keywords=hidden+faces+by+anne+e+thompson

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Next week I write about our church, which also tends to have things go unexpectedly wrong.

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Star Wars Review by An Uninitiated…

I’ve never watched a Star Wars film. Ever. Until yesterday, when I went to see Episode 7, The Force Awakens. As none of my family have been particularly besotted by it, I actually knew nothing of the story either. So, would I understand the plot? Would I be captivated by the story? Wowed by the special effects? Here’s how my Star Wars initiation went:

I watched the film at the cinema with friends who had all seen at least some other Episodes. I instructed them to not explain the story to me, I wanted to see how much I understood on my own. (Risky strategy as asking for explanations during films is pretty standard for me at the best of times.) Being at the cinema was an important element – I guessed from sighs and general audience reaction when a character was well known.

The film began with a written explanation. We were introduced to a character, Luke Skywalker. Not, I felt, the most original of names. If I was writing a film and suggested the space man was to be called Ben Moonhopper or Peter Starjumper, I think it would be rejected. Husband was not receptive to this pearl of wisdom.

We then saw what appeared to be giant Playmobil men in a spaceship. I always enjoyed my children playing with Playmobil, so could relate to the decision to include them in a film. They were all white and all identical, which was somewhat confusing until one helpfully put a bloody handprint on his head, thus differentiating himself from the others.

Another character was a giant marble with a sliding head who made squeaky farting noises. The audience seemed to warm to him.

There were lots of people in tatty clothes. I did feel there was a mismatch between the technology needed to produce spaceships and intelligent robots and the technology used in clothing manufacturing. Perhaps it was a fashion statement.

We then met an actor who I didn’t recognise, who had Rufus Sewell eyes (good for acting tension, fear and discomfort during torture scenes. Not someone you would leave to care for small children.)

One of the Playmobil white men removed his helmet, which was a surprise. There was a man inside. He was rather sweaty so I’m thinking the design of Playmobil suits was perhaps not a good one for general use. Also not sure how one would launder them. Husband told me this was irrelevant and would I please be quiet and just watch film. In fact, all the Playmobil men had real people inside them. I am not sure why they wanted to look identical. It would be good to wear on the school run when you had just rolled out of bed.

The next character we met was a girl (dressed in bandages – I really did not get the costume ideas.) She bought a powder that she could add to water and heat and it bubbled up into something that looked like bread. This was intensely interesting. I would LOVE cooking dinners to be that easy.

Although the clothes were rubbish, all the hairstyles were very complicated. Maybe costume budget got used up on hairspray. And sand – there was a lot of sand.

The girl who was the clever cook could also speak lots of languages, including ‘machine’. As well as American and Scottish (particularly tricky one I find.)

The film had lots of machines. Lots of loud wind instrument music (actually, the music throughout was excellent. Well done Mr Williams.) There was lots of sand. Lots of explosions. Lots of props that I recognised from toyshops and fast-food giveaways over the last forty years. There was some good dry humour, some impressive chase scenes and a lot of hair spray.

I was then completely confused when Indiana Jones turned up. Very unexpected. He still has very good hair (which is essential for a Star Wars actor.) No hat or whip but still wore a leather jacket. Another actor also pointed out the jacket. He is a very good actor, I warmed to his character immediately (perhaps because he was the only one I recognised.) Actually, connecting with the characters was something I found difficult. I never felt like I knew them, so didn’t really care if they got blown up. He arrived with a giant teddy/extremely hairy man who had a speech disorder. I never really understood if he came from a planet of hairy beings, was a pet or they were just being inventive with costume ideas.

For most of the film the scenery was fairly stark. There were plants in one bit, when they turned up at a futuristic Hogwarts but mostly it was machines and sand. It didn’t look a very comfortable place to live.

There was enough explanation for me to mostly follow what was happening, though some of the story only made sense if you have seen previous episodes. I knew when a character from a previous film had popped up by the audience reaction and I could tell when something important was happening because the music changed from wind instruments to strings, but there weren’t many clues for the uninitiated in the script. I also got confused by what was spaceship and what was planet. I would see a character enter what was clearly a spacecraft, then when they left it they were in a snow covered forest on a planet.

The plot followed the same basic theme of most other films : Good fighting Evil. There was an added element of The Force, which I never quite got to grips with. For most of the film I thought this was some kind of power that the evil chaps had but then later the good characters said, “May the force be with you.” I have heard this phrase quoted on television so I knew it was famous – I still have absolutely no idea what it means.

The film was well made, had some good special effects, lots of action, some clearly sad bits and happy bits. However, if you have not seen other episodes, there was no real connection and the emotion passed you by. I would say, if you are the other person in the world who has never seen a Star Wars film, watch some of the others first. This one did not really stand alone. You kind of HAVE to watch it because everyone else will but I don’t think it was ever intended to be watched in isolation. Either that or take a book to read……

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Thank you for reading.

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Another article by Anne E Thompson:
https://anneethompson.com/christian-tearfund-materials-and-poems/the-world-was-dark/
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