It’s here. The Journal. By my friend A.M Rees.
Full disclosure: I was prepared not to like this book. I bought it purely because I love the author and want to support her. I wasn't bothered about the content: I’d have bought her views on paving slabs if she’d written a book about them.
Anyway, my copy of The Journal arrived on Friday. Further disclosure: I didn't look at it! But that was because I was in a bit of a mood at the time. The postman buzzed my intercom to ask me to sign for the parcel. I started waiting for the lift but knew that one was out of service and the other didn't seem to be moving either, so I ran down the fire escape. That was fine: I don’t get in a mood that easily.
Signed for the parcel, went back in and waited for the lift. For some reason, you can go down the fire escape stairs, but you can’t come back up them. Maybe it’s because it’s a fire escape: I don’t think they’re designed to let people back into the burning building. Anyway...
The guy was still messing about with the out of service lift, so I stood waiting for the other one. And I waited. And I waited. And I looked at the fire stairs that I couldn't use and I tutted. And I waited some more. And I began to feel mildly impatient. The other lift, meanwhile, seemed stuck on floor 903. My breaths became very much like sighs. Then huffs. Then grrrrs.
I watched the other lift bouncing around between floors, coming nowhere near the ground. I looked at my parcel, not cross with it, just looking at it (grrr).
The other lift! Here it comes! It’s coming! 3...2...1...G......B. B? B? My camel’s back broke.
Two sets of stairs I can’t utilise. A lift that is just having a bit of carpet cut for it. And another lift that is allergic to the ground floor. Good grief.
Approximately three hours/minutes later, I was back in the apartment. I put the parcel on the table: obviously I didn't have time to look at it – I had three hours/minutes to try to claw back!
It was Monday before I – calmly – picked it up again. I can only say that it was worth the wait (although I’ll obviously never get those three minutes back).
Thankfully this isn't a book review – it’s just me writing – so I don’t have to try to explain The Journal. It would lessen the experience for you if I did anyway (oh yes, you should read it!). It is heartbreaking, heartwarming (your heart will warm and break) and astonishingly authentic. I loved it. No, I really did. Even if A.M Rees wasn't a super-mega-friend, I would still have enjoyed the book (she calls it a novella). It is small and beautiful and extremely readable. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't have written about it. I’d have tried to find something nice to say about it to her face: nice cover, perhaps; nice typeface.
Here’s a cute story. I met up with my new favourite author today and she said that she was embarrassed about me reading her book as she was such an admirer of my writing (she means these blog things! I know: she is adorable). She was hoping I wouldn't read The Journal! If the lift had taken any longer, I probably wouldn't have.
Buy a real paper version here (recommended by me, unless you live in a building with stairs you can’t use and you think one of the lifts might be out of commission on the day your parcel arrives)