Friday, 27 March 2015

Book Review: KP The Autobiography by Kevin Pietersen

KP The Autobiography
Kevin Pietersen
This book was bought for me as a gift from my friends Hannah, Charley, Grace & Craig so a big thank you to them for this book.
I don't normally read autobiography's as such. I have only read 5 or 6 in my life. For me I will only read them if I think the person who has wrote it has a great story to tell. It amazes me how many people have autobiography's out and they have only been doing what they do for about 4 years.
In 2014 when this book was published it made front page news in the UK. The controversy and revelations inside shocked not only the cricket world but the sporting world as a whole. Cricket has been part of my life for the past 31 years and having seen Kevin Pietersen play live for England on many occasions it was an easy choice to want to read this book.
For those that are not familiar with Kevin Pietersen (KP) he is a professional cricket player that was born and grew up in South Africa. At the age of 19 he had one dream and that was to play Test Cricket. He realised that due to political reasons in South Africa he would probably not be able to do this for the country he lived in. KP's father was South African but his mother was English so he made an emotional journey to England as a shy but eager young man to try and reach his dream else where. KP signed for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club in 2000 unaware that within the next 5 years he would be one of the most popular cricket players in the world. At the start of the summer in 2005 very little people had heard of KP. By the end of that summer he was on the front of most papers and the talk of the country along with his fellow England cricketers. Why you ask? Well in the summer of 2005 England played a home Test Series against the old enemy Australia. England had not won a Test series against Australia since 1987...... well that is until KP and his team mates came out to war. It was like a heavyweight boxing match all through the summer England on top then Australia then back to England. The country went cricket mad. People were glued to the TV and radio. People who had never really watched or liked cricket were talking about it. In the end England won the series 2-1 and set off on a week... maybe a month of celebrations. KP and his England team mates were treated like rock stars.
Months after this great summer things took a turn for the worse for KP. Not from a cricket point of view but in a kind of in the media for the wrong reasons kind of view. The media has labelled him as arrogant and that the fame had gone to his head. He became cocky and sounded like it was all about him and not the team.
Over the next 9 years KP went on to become England's highest ever Test run scorer, He became not only a great test cricketer but one of the most excitable one day players to ever play the game. Unfortunately with every great cricketing story it came with controversy. The media again labelling him as a money grabbing mercenary for wanting to play in the IPL (Indian Premier League) rather than play for England. There were always stories about him falling out with everyone and causing problems on tour with coaches and other players. We had Textgate and the parody Twitter account scandal. But the most shocking out of all the stories was the bullying scandal within the England cricket team.
I will be brutally honest about KP. My impression of him has always been "One of the best cricket talents in the world but comes across as a bit of a you know what" KP says at the start of this book that all he wants people to do is read his side of the story and then judge him afterwards.
Well Kevin I have read your book and my opinion of you has changed so much. I asked myself why I had this opinion of him, but when you think about it, its the media that tell us that, that is what he is. An arrogant, mercenary trouble maker. Is Keven Pietersen perfect? No but he will admit that. This book is just more proof that there is always two sides to a story.
The book itself is very well written. It flowed very well and was as honest as they come. It gave you a really interesting incite into the lives of an international cricket player which really shocked me in places. Along with the serious stuff it was humorous in parts including one of the funniest chapters I've read in ages called Le Grand Fromage. KP does not hold back at all in this book and tells us how it is.
This book has not only changed my opinion of KP but also of people like Andrew Flower (Head Coach) Matt Prior, Graham Swann & Stuart Broad (England Players) but most of all the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) This organisation that runs everything cricket in this country is more political than the government and so stuck in their own ways you would think it was 1954. For someone who has been involved in cricket for so long it shocked me how bad they really are. 
Have I anything bad to say about the book. It would have nice to read more about the summer of 2005 and more of the success and but that would be about it.
I scored this book a 4.5 out of 5. If you love cricket then I fully recommend you read this. Also if you like sport itself I would give it a try. I have not really gone into too much about all the gossipy stuff and scandals on this review because I don't really want to ruin it for people. Reviewing an autobiography has been a bit strange as you can't describe most things without giving too much away. Do any other bloggers have this problem as well?
I would love to know what other people think who have read it. Has your opinion changed about KP?
Speak soon

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
I first heard about this book about a month before it was published. I follow a lot of book related people on twitter and kept seeing the same hashtag over and over. One day I clicked on #girlonthetrain to see what it was all about. I was surprised by how many people had read pre-published copies and it was all people were talking about. It had been a long time since I had seen a "Buzz" like this around social media about a book that was not yet published. They said is was a psychological thriller which is a cross between Gone Girl & Before I go to Sleep. (You can read my reviews on these by clicking on my book reviews above) Having enjoyed both of these very much I was straight down the book shop on the week it was published.
Meet Rachel, a women who catches the same commuter train every morning into London for work. She knows it will stop at the same signal each time overlooking a row of houses and their back gardens. Rachel has even started to feel like she knows all the people that live in the houses and has given them pet names. She thinks that all the people are happy and have perfect lives, that is until one day she see's something that shocks her. Rachel see's this as an opportunity to introduce herself, but maybe she wishes she didn't. She soon realises that life would have been much better is she had just stayed just another girl on the train.
I liked this book from the off. I don't know if it was because of the excitement I had from what I had been reading but I fell Straight into it. Rachel was the main narrator of the book, She was an alcoholic which I thought gave this book that extra edge. Suffering from hangovers and memory loss gave the story a great spin on things. You don't know what is going to happen and the narrator has no idea what did happen.
I thought all the main characters were very well written, you got a great picture in your mind about them all. Each one of them though felt like they had a dark secret to tell which gave the book that mystery from start to finish.
The good thing about The Girl on the Train was that it kept you guessing all the way till the end. I'm sure there will have been people who got it earlier but for me it was only about 5 pages before I found out. Even then you just had to keep on reading.
This is Paula Hawkins debut novel and I have to say it was written like someone who has had 10-15 books prior. It was kept at a fast pace and after each chapter left you begging for more.
Do I have anything negative to say about the book? no not really I loved it and I was glad the hype lived up to it, although next time I am on a train and it stops and I see someone in their garden I don't know if I will smile or shudder...
I scored this book a 5 out of 5. From the very beginning to the end it was mysterious, dark and kept you on the edge of your seat. If you are into thrillers/mystery books then I would fully recommend this to you. As we will soon be into holiday season and you are maybe looking what to read then make sure you take this with you.
I would love to know what other people think who have read this. Do you agree with me? Let me know.
Speak soon