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Book Review: Any Other Mouth

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By Lucy Rogers

Rarely do I come across a book, where upon completing it I reach immediately for my laptop to tell someone, anyone about what I have just read. I am of the opinion that reading a book, any book, is an experience. And this book was one hell of an experience for me. I read the entire book, which is a collection of short stories that are all intertwined with one another, in two sittings; choosing reading it over eating and having to drag myself from the magical world of Anneliese Mackintosh in order to carry on with my life (which isn’t half as exciting or interesting) and by the end I had gone through every emotion there is to feel.

I have to admit, there’s something special about why I chose to read this book in the first place. The author is in fact my new Story and Structure seminar tutor for Creative Writing and upon meeting her she told us about the book of hers recently published. Charmed by her bubbly and positive personality I couldn’t wait to get my hands Any Other Mouth. As soon as I bought it I delved straight into it and didn’t put it down for hours. I was immediately stricken by the honest, blunt and thus hilarious outtake on the harsh realities of life. By her own self-admission this book is autobiographical, which constantly made me wonder throughout which parts were ‘real’ and which were fabricated for the novel. However, towards the end I came to the conclusion that each and every word was so poignant, honest, funny, emotional and thought provoking that it didn’t actually matter what parts were real and which parts she made up. Her writing style is fantastic, and the way she inserts a blunt humour into an incredibly sad account is admirable. Just by simply reading this book she has taught me to be bold with my writing. Nothing is too personal to share if it makes a good story. It’s something I have found hard to come to terms with, but this book has pushed me to make that step.

There was one chapter in particular that reduced me to floods of tears; ‘A rough guide to grief’ must have been hard to write, but it was even harder to read. I’m fortunate to have never lost anyone close to me but this chapter allowed me to imagine the pain of going through this. A book that can play with your emotions is a successful one as far as I’m concerned. I have a bit of an obsession if you like, with authors and their story; how they came to write certain books and what they are really like as a person. For this reason I feel incredibly privileged to be able to read Anneliese’s book and know that I am going to get to know her as a writer more than I possibly ever will with another author that has had such an impact on me. That to me is what made the experience of reading this book all the more wonderful.

Gushing overload is coming to an end, but I will just finish my take on this book by saying that I feel as though I will learn an awful lot from Anneliese as a writer, and am counting my lucky stars that she is our tutor.

Lucy Rogers is in her first year studying English and Creative Writing at MMU. Read her personal blog, Freshly Unprepared, here

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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