Ancient Mali – Mansa Musa I


, , , , , , , ,

Mansa musa1 -ancient Mali
Mansa was a Muslim, so he must have been buried. What I would like to know was what they put on his tombstone. I think I’ll try building his inscription here. I’m gonna have a couple of goes at it. Lets see-
Here lies
Mansa Musa 1
Richest man in the history of the world
Built a mosque every Friday
Sent a congratulations note to the people who temporarily conquered him,

That looks good. Got the dates right. and Can you believe it? All three statements that are below are TRUE.

But, no, seriously, if I was to credit this seriously important man with anything, and I’m doing it with the lucky vantage point of 2013, it would be this.
Mansa Musa 1
Here begins the Rennaisance.

I know I’m going backwards-starting from his fictional tombstone-but these are the reasons he’s really, really important.

What’s surprising is that he didn’t wage huge wars and win them, he didn’t really invade anyone or actually become invaded long enough for anyone to care. He didn’t have an eternal love, start something immediately that was huge, change literature, art, music, or even have civil wars. I know it sounds boring, but Musa s time was probably a time of peace and prosperity. These things need a deep dissatisfaction or need to change. None of that was there during his time, till, maybe the end of his rule.

He is probably the most important king of Mali, and he and his famous Haj pilgrimage is referred to by several Arab scholars like Ibn Battuta, Al-Uman and Ibn Khaldin. He also had several, several names and titles given at various times, so much, in fact, that it wouldn’t have fit on my inscription, so I didn’t try. Here are some though- Emir of Malle, Futa Jalion, Lord of the Mines of Wangala (beat that, Sauron!), and Conqueror of Clinata.

(Now from the beginning) Mansa Musa was the son of Kankou, his mother. His father is not important. His older brother was Suleyman and his grandfather was Alai-Bakr. There was a tradition in the Ancient Mali empire, of the king appointing a deputy in charge of his kingdom when he was away, sick or on pilgrimage. Later, this deputy would be appointed heir by the king.

The king before Mansa Musa, was plagued by a strange obsession that led to his death. He believed that he could reach the edge of the water. He ordered some ships to set sail for the edge, find it, and return. Only one ship did. The sailors claimed that they kept sailing until one day, they all reached a huge whirlpool and all the other ships fell in while they turned in time and came back, avoiding getting sucked into a death – dark and wet.
The king refused to believe in any of it. He said there must be an edge to the water and he had to see it. So he got several more ships ready and left with them immediately, entrusting Mansa Musa with the empire as the deputy. He never came back.

‘Mansa’ literally means King of Kings, or Emperor. Musa was a very common name in the Mali empire. Mansa Musa more than anything ever, is known for his salt and gold, two things that made him, the wealthiest man in history. In fact in the fourteenth century, salt was literally worth it’s weight in gold, without which no one could travel in the desert. If it hadn’t been for his salt, Musa would have died a terrible, painful death.

Musa’s capital, interestingly enough, was Timbuktu. And, yes, it is very far away. It was also the centre two things very important to this seriously rich king, and by extension, everyone. The first? Musa was, as it can be gathered, deeply invested in religion, or, more specifically, invested in Islam. He spent a great deal of time, and worked hard to foster a growth of Islam in his Mali Empire. He built a mosque every Friday all over his wealthy empire. Some of these mosques which date back to the fourteen century can be seen standing even today, still in good condition. He generously gave to the poor, prestigiously followed all the teachings of this religion and of course, went on Haj. We’ll come back to that. The second was education. He built universities everywhere. Apart from his mosques, the only thing that remained as standing evidence of his rule today are his universities in Timbuktu. They are still here also.

What in heck happened to his wealth?? That was one of my biggest questions. Unfortunately, it’s gone. Plundered. Invaded. After his death, stolen and spent by civil wars. Spent and lost in inadequate administration, because Musa’s sons couldn’t hold on to their fathers wealth. As if that isn’t bad enough, enough treasure seekers to fill Paris couldn’t find them now. But when he was alive, Musa had, around, what was worth, in today’s terms, 600 billion.

Musa, because of his splendor/grandeur became rivaled in power only by Morocco and Egypt. However, he was briefly invaded by outsiders, and they even managed to capture a vitally important city. What did the super wealthy, scary. Mansa do? He sent a note to his captors, congratulating them on their success on capturing his city. However Musa soon got it back, and fortified it, keeping his empire safe for centuries.

Muslims, if they can, must go on a pilgrimage to their holy city, Mecca. This pilgrimage, as I’m sure you know, is called Haj. So when the Mansa decided to go on Haj, he pulled out all the stops. According to Arab writer Ibn Khaldin, this pilgrimage happened in the year 1324. 60,000 men came along with him, 12,000 slaves, 80 camels and (accounts vary) 30-500 pounds of gold, along with heralds, fully robed, horses for everyone, all their bags and enough food, water and salt for all. On the way, he literally handed out gold to everyone he met. He got there, but because of all of this extravagance, the price of gold fell, and there was a strain on the Mali economy. So, this king borrowed as much old as he could from outside traders etc on high interest so save it. He then became the only person in history to control the value of gold in the entire Mediterranean. These acts, or rather all this wealth that he lost hve way or returned ultimately was what funded the Italian renaissance. Without it, they would have never had patrons, power or money.


Johannes Gutenberg and the printing press, Faust and the bible


ImageJohannes Gutenberg

Image the Gutenberg Bible



Johannes Gutenberg was a German and the first European to build and work a movable type printing press. He made it really easy for everyone to print books forever. They didn’t have to sit long hours copying by hand, they could use the press. Books became available to the public and they became less expensive. In addition they began to be produced on a large scale. He typed the first printed book, and of course it was the Bible. One of them (they’re called the Gutenberg bible) is on display in the new York public library, bought by Lenox, who brought the first printed bible to American shores. There were 182 bibles most of which had 42 lines on each page. 

He built the press around 1439, and it changed the very fabric of society for ever and ever. Okay, that doesn’t make sense, its just a fancy term. information, which had been relatively unrestricted by people but rendered inaccessible now transcended Borders and became easily available to Every one. It brought restoration to the masses and resulted in threatening the religious and political leaders in charge. Meanwhile, the literacy rate shot straight up, and offset the literate elite and their powerful hold. It caught the Italian Renaissance at the perfect moment. 

Gutenberg didn’t just invent the process for movable type, he used oil based ink, his press was like the wooden agricultural screw presses of his time. He put all these elements together and created the press. Not just the printing press, the media ‘press’. Mass communication began because of him. Starting to fall in place? 

Gutenberg was a blacksmith, goldsmith, printer and publisher who introduced printing, born in 1395 in Mainz, Germany to Friele Gutenberg, involved in either gold smithy or the cloth trade. Much of Gutenberg’s early life was a mystery. He had to leave Mainz at some point. No one knows where he was. But we do know where he wasn’t – at Mainz, ( Helpful, huh?) and we do know when-1430. that’s the one solid thing everyone agrees on. 

The idea for the press came to Gutenberg ‘like a ray of light’. He first mentioned it when he agreed to share a secret with emperor Charlemagne to please him in the place of a failed mirror gift. He later began his real work. Soon after, he met Faust. 

Actually, Faust was Johann Fust, a German moneylender and so called magician. He agreed to lend money to Gutenberg to fund his work( 800 guilders). Gutenberg began work on his bible and ultimately typed the bible. There is speculation that there were two type presses, one for commercial use and one for the bible. Gutenberg finished 182 copies (after borrowing 800 guilders more),  most on paper ad some on vellum. A man called Peter Shoffer was also involved in the deal. He became Faust’s son in law and created some of the first typefaces. 

After a disagreement between Fust and Gutenberg, Gutenberg was sued in the archbishops court by Fust, and Fust gained control of half the bibles and the press workshop. Fust and Peter ( i know, the name coincidence is freaking me out too! ) went on to print the first book. Meanwhile, Gutenberg started a small printing shop an continued his dream. However, it’s hard to tell which ones were Gutenberg’s because he never signed or was associated with his work. 

it was thought the first thing printed on the press was a German poem. during that day, his Gutenberg Bible was sold for a lot less money than a hand printed one. Today, however, it must be work around 30 million dollars.

After Gutenberg’s time, the printing capital shifted from Mainz to Venice and other printers like Aldus Manutius took control. It was a huge deal during the reformation and Martin luthers 95 theses were also printed early on. In fact all books printed before the 1500s are called incunabula.

Black Struggle for Independence- The north star, Superman and the Ku Klux Klan.


, , , , ,

“Do you know Mr Ayak?”
“No, but I know Mr Akai”.

The ku klux klan, or, the kkk were are a group of people who spent several decades during the black’s oppression killing and beating up blacks and burning their houses. These people were not barbaric, they were inhuman. They were simply evil. And I don’t mean sexy evil. The KKK greatly enjoyed killing, lynching and maiming, completely unprovoked, for no other reason than skin colour.

They are also called the Hooded Order, and were known as an extreme right political group, believing in things like white supremacy, white nationalism and anti immigration.; there were three KKKs over history, and even today it still exists though not in great dominance. As of 2012, it is said to have between 5000 and 8000 members. Today it is said to be a hate group by most accepted definitions.

The first KKK wore white conical hats, masks & robes as a symbol in the time of their iron fist spread and looked terrifying as a rule. The second adopted the same costumes and codes as the first but introduced cross burnings, and the third were opposed to the Civil Rights Movement and welfare/progress amongst minorities.

The first KKK was formed in Pulaski, Tennessee on December 24, 1865. Their name was formed by joining the Greek kyklos, meaning circle, with clan. George Gordon wrote the crazy dogma for this Klan, reinstating white supremacy and fighting to restore rights to the southerners. Nathan Bedford Forrest became the national leader of the Klan, called the Grand Wizard.

Behind the Klan mask was wartime guerilla groups, anti black vigilantes, common thieves, neighbours with age old grudges, poor farmers, everyone whose wallets would get lighter because of Black Emancipation., everyone who enjoyed commiting crimes, like sadists and rapists and- here’s the surprising part (but typical to human nature)- a few freedmen. Everyone who were threatened by the blacks in any way also joined the Klan. They were like a huge white shadowy monster that personified everyone’s radical hatred of blacks and committed all the crimes the others were either too human to commit or too afraid.

To that end, they all were against the voting rights, education rights, economic growth and rights to hold and bear arms of all blacks. They launched a mighty surge of fear into almost every southern state, and into the hearts of all Republicans, Black and White. Several people hated the klan formed the anti-KKK and threatened the KKK with reprisal.

Several blacks too formed armed units and patrolled the streets at night too kep their houses safe. Sometime 1870, a federal grand jury decided the KKK were a terrorist organization, and soon, the first phase ended.

1915-1944 was the time of the second Klan.

Two things happened to bring this horrible thing back. A movie (yeah I know it sound stupid but it’s true) glorifying the original KKK was made, called The Birth Of a Nation. This plunged everyone into a nationwide Klan fever. A man called Leo Frank was lynched in Atlanta. He killed a white man, but the Georgian Governor had commuted his death sentence to life in prison, to much general uproar.

The people who had opposed this decision had come together along with many others in Georgia to form the second KKK. There was a strong religious flavor to the Klan this time, most of them were Protestant ministers. The Klan seemed to strongly focus on protecting the home. Home, meant at that time, of course, women. So many historians jumped of the deep end, ranting about how the klan protected white womanhood. Unlike the first KKK, they worked in urban areas and they also used burning crosses, which have been synonymous with the Klans ever since.

through 1950s through 1960s, the name Ku Klux Klan became adopted by several groups.

Superman was a radio show during the 1940s. A young writer named Stetson Kennedy decided to expose the secrets of the KKK. He went undercover, attended meetings and found out about it’s rituals. But when he took his information to the authorities, the had little interest in doing anything about it. Then he decided to approach the writers of the Superman radio and give them his findings. His timing was perfect. Post ww2 had set in and superman had no one to fight anymore, and the KKK seemed the perfect enemy. He revealed all the KKK ‘s secrets, codes, meeting places and rituals, completely removing their mystique. Every single child knew the KKK’s secrets. In two weeks the Klan was a laughing stock. They had gone from intimidating to silly. People showed up at their meetings just to mock them. in the meanwhile, the KKK’s recruitment went down to zero. Some of their codes involved phrases like: “Do you know Mr. Ayak?” A-Y-A-K: Are you a Klan-member? And if you understood and were part of the KKK, the reply code was: “No, but I know Mr. Akai.” A-K-A-I: A Klan-member Am I.

So, Superman, the Man of Steel defeated the KKK.

Meanwhile, in the 1860s, the blacks in the southern slave states were attempting escape from their slave camps. They were living a toiling arduous life, working and slaving fourteen to eighteen hours a day in inhuman conditions and being beaten, whipped and maltreated, not even getting enough food and at night from their sorrow and anxiety, beautiful soulful music came from those camps in the darkness. Music like “Follow the Drinking Gourd”(or big dipper). They began escaping and trying to make it north to the free states where slavery was abolished and they could live a free life as freedmen, citizens of the state. They ran away at night with the help of some white people and other free slaves and headed on a long, perilous, frightening journey up north. They hid during the days and travelled by night.

To tell you how hard this journey was, try imagining something. Let’s forget, for the moment, that they were blacks, who, at that time, had people wanting to kill or enslave them looking for them everywhere. Try hiding in trains/ in cars/walking to the next city. Hard enough? Impossible? Now try doing it without stopping once, for food: no breakfast, lunch or dinner. No drink, no water unless you steal it. No rest ever. Definitely no asking for directions. You have no idea what is going to happen. Now try doing it at night. Now imagine you have lived in that one state your whole life. You have no idea what the next city is going to be like. Now think this: the only (I mean only) thing that’s telling you you’re going in the right direction is a tiny star, called the North Star. You wait for night and follow it all the way. That’s what it was like for them. But they kept going. And going. They got out eventually and today there is a Follow the North Star Program in Indiana, giving everyone an idea of what it would be like to walk in a black’s shoes for a few miles.

In 1863, luckily, Abraham Lincoln passed the emancipation Proclamation and banned slavery in ten states. Instantly, 25,000 to 50,000 blacks were free. Even the vampires could forgive him.

Vikings: the legacy and Leiff Erikson


Image   A Viking Warrior    

Image a viking Longship
ImageViking weapons- crossbow. mace, club, bow and arrow and swords.

500 years before Columbus, Leiff erikson discovered and landed on what is now America and Canada on a knarr ship with a crew of 25-50 people. this was one of the peaks of the age of the noble, barbaric seafarers we now call the Vikings.
A ‘Viking’, is a seafaring voyage, any one, of trade, commerce, – and yes, conquest and expansion. It was an ancient Norse word, often seen on ruins and obelisks in the Germanic regions where these people lived. Nowadays whenever anyone thinks of a viking gets a mental image of a bearskin – wearing, curved horn helmeted , club wielding huge muscle man. Basically the medieval equivalent of your history teacher. Truth be told, apart from the horned helmet myth – we’ll get to that later- you’re not so far off the Mark. Vikings were kind of like the really big guy, you wanted on your side in a fight and who often bullied you in the playground. 

The Viking age is characterised by a series of raids, starting as early as 790 to the Norman conquest in 1066. This is the Scandinavian Viking age, but it can also be broadened to include all germanic lands. The vikings travelled south by the baltic sea and the norweigan sea. The Norse Vikings descended from the norweigian and Danish Vikings given feudal overlordship by the French. There is a possibility that the Vikings reached the centre of the Islam empire, Baghdad. The often went to volga to hoard their goods, like furs, slaves and riches. Important trading ports included Kiev. 

One possible theory of the vikings conquests is that they took advantage of the Britain in schism and were free to pillage. Another idea is that the old trade routes died out after the fall of the roman empire and they had to explore new lands. So by making new routes, the profited from international trade. 
But Vikings are not savages. People normally have reasons ( though maybe not good ones) when they start pillaging and raiding other countries. The reason for this battle is the same reason for most ones- religion. Charlemagne, the great French king, began forcing Christianity on all handy nearby pagans, and other religious followers. He gave them a choice between conversion and death, and forced many of them into baptism. This lead to huge unrest and resentment amongst the pagans and the vikings, who wanted revenge and were never ones to take things lying down. There were a series of unspeakable Viking battles, and by unspeakable I mean unpronounceable – hafrsfjord, hjorungavagr….you get the picture. 

The wars were designed so that no one will ever even mention them, the main democratic assembly was called, wait for it, a Thing. The vikings were crazy. There was a famous incident where porgnyr ( thats his name, its not a typo) the law speaker told the then king of Sweden, olog, that the people, not the king held power. The king realised he was powerless against the thing and gave in.

Leiff erikson was the son of erik the red and was born around 970c or 980c. He was not the first person to sight the American land, nor was he the first to land on it. There was a merchant, by the name of Bjarni Herjollfsson. He did both first ad it was under his guidance and help that Leiff built a crew, took a ship and set sail. He reached the Americas, and noticed the wheat and grape vines growing, he called it Vinland. 

But there are somethings lesser known about the vikings. Like their Vikings named modern weekday names after their Norse gods. 

Sunday is easy, just sun’s day. Monday is another easy one, moons day, or Mani’s, the norse god of the moon. Tuesday, is named after the one handed Norse god of war, single combat and pledges , tyr, or Tiu, or tiw. Wednesday is voden’s day (or odin), which is associated with mercury, as a psychopomp god and also poetry and music. Next is Thors day, the norse god of thunder. Friday is frige’s day, The Norse equivalent of Venus. Saturday is the same as the roman – saturn. 

The Vikings ships were practically their biggest strength. Shipbuilding in the viking age was creating slender and flexible ships, with overlapping of planks and true keel. They ranged from 10 metres to 30 metres long. They had longships with wide drafted hulls specially built for exploration and battle. These unusual ships enabled them travel rough seas and shallow rivers, so they could go as far south as nekor, as far east as Constantinople and as far west as Greenland, Iceland and Newfoundland. these ships were called drakkar, from dragon in Norse. The other type of ships were called knarr. It had a broader hull, deeper draft less number of oars. These were designed specifically to navigate ports. and These were merchant ships used for carrying cargo and pursuits of trade. the longships were used by the scandanavian defence force, and probably were the earliest origins of what today we call Viking ships. Apart from these there’s were a few other ships, the knarve, similar to knarr. They had planks upto 17 metres long. They were smaller ships, to transport people and livestock. They could navigate shallow water and so were used for coasting. Remember these were the means of transport. So a longship would be like a Ferrari or maserati and a knarve like the car grandad drives and tries to pass on to you. Some people say the Vikings had Compasses and others say they simply went by experience.

Viking weapons are actually an active part of their religion. The havamal,  believed to be advice from voden, states that every man must carry weapons in his hands at all times, because you may not know when you need them. One of the most important things about Viking weapons is that they were often fashioned from fruits of foreign plunder. There was a very famous event when Charlemagne exchanged his weapons with the Anglo Saxon king offa. 
The vikings carry swords, the average Viking carries spears. There are several types of shield, and several knives. 

Vikings were never known to have curved horns on their helmets, that was just a myth. They also never drank their beverages out of skulls. Thank god. 

The viking age ended by the 11th century. The catholic church had been legitimised in most countries and had gained dominance. Meanwhile, it had been nearly a century since islamic silver had been in use in the markets and English silver was in use. The Vikings’ reign was over by the 11th century in Scandinavia. 

Story of Rape in Delhi


Everyday i walk into my college and see a handy chart(with pictures) telling you what to do if you ever get raped. It has helpful tips like “don’t take a bath” “help the police in identifying the rapist”. In fact it has a chart of Dos and Don’ts. I nodded seriously, like all my friends did, when told it was very helpful for protecting women. How would like to be told handy hints on what to do if you get raped? You would be bloody scared. Or you’d laugh. But how many women can’t get hold of this information, and even scarier, how many more of them actually need it? A lot, actually. Three years ago, statistics showed that three girls were raped daily in New Delhi and it has only gotten worse from there. Ok, that’s not fair. What about the fact that there are no women going around asserting sexual dominance with such ease? You very rarely hear about a man getting raped-unless (and here’s a thought to take home with you) they’re in a relationship with another man. Let’s face this fact: the men can’t simply keep it in their pants.   And please don’t give me that bizarre reason: woh apne aap koh control nahin kar paateh.

     The tragedy of Rape:

      The villain: the Rapist

     The heroine: The unsuspecting girl

      The supporting characters:

       Sceptical policeman

        Family of heroine

        Judge of legal court

        Medical examiner-optional

Think. What has changed today? What is changing?

More importantly, who is RESPONSIBLE?

No, it’s not the policemen, not the disinterested government, not the society, not even the scavenging media, it’s the RAPIST.

                Rape is the ultimate crime. I will not sympathise with the rapist, and I don’t want to understand him.  A woman once raped is never again expected to receive or return to a semblance of normalcy. This heartless, patriarchal, man-is-everything society hasn’t begun to scratch the surface of the destructiveness of this evil. If we had, we wouldn’t have allowed people elected into positions of power with rape and molestation charges against them; we wouldn’t euphemise it by calling it sexual harassment. That is a more cold, detached term, which doesn’t involve all the violent emotions in rape. We wouldn’t embellish it by blaming women or letting culprits go. we wouldn’t admonish women for coming forth and disclosing the havoc wreaked on their bodies.    

                For starters we need to stop dividing the physical act of rape from the mental and emotional trauma involved. They are practically interchangeable. It’s simple. You have a penis, you don’t get it. The men believe they are accomplishing something by raping-power, dominance, control, thrill of committing a crime. The canvass needs to be widened to take into consideration other possible triggers of this. Say, at a guess, Bollywood. Everywhere in our movies there are evidences which point to factors encouraging crime against women. In this dystopian society where miscreants are unpunished, where is the hope for improvement? The bridge between the victims and the places where they can get justice is constantly being severed by red tape, poverty, social stigma, corruption and downright indifference.

                The women in this society are actively discouraged from seeking justice. . The truth is that the problem is deeply seated at many levels. The social customs which imply dominance of men and the mindset of women being to blame is one of these problems. Our culture pictures an ideal woman as self sacrificing, docile, quiet and unassuming person. This vision often either encourages offenders or conditions women not to fight. Bollywood has a long history of men teasing and stalking women. Automatically, stalking gains a “cool” factor. Men think it’s okay to treat women as they please. Furthermore, men even at the personal, domestic circle behave around women as they please, namely their wives and sisters. Their sons grow up thinking they can treat their mothers and wives however they want, and further pass this mantle to their own impressionable sons.

                Rape, being a mindless evil act is soon to be hardened in our minds by the latest move of turning this act into a virtual game, by a strangely sadistic and misogynistic move. This game, called “Rapelay” involves stalking and raping virtual women. While some people have to say that it would encourage performing the act for real, everyone knows that the very idea is sick and ethically insensitive. Maybe girls should buy that game and rape men with it…or do it for real. If you think what i just said was shocking, you know it must be equally shocking for me to talk about raping women. Right? Wrong?

                The anger towards culprits, the fear of it happening to them, the dread that it will happen again to someone else and the insecurity that the people who can do something will do nothing; all this gives way to a constant frustration, an emotional itch, that nothing will change, that everything is augmenting.

                If our men are actively stalking and raping women like Nirbhaya on the streets, where the heck is the world coming to? To add insult to injury, top notch politicians are giving helpful hints out: women are asking for it; by going to bars late, by dressing skimpily by taking foolish risks. Mostly this is untrue. Where it’s true: so? Women have every right to dress as they please. If men don’t have the common courtesy or basic morality to keep it In Their Pants, I’m sorry but it ain’t our fault. Everyone however is ready to point fingers, and one of them is right at law enforcement. That’s a very dicey area. By the time it gets around to doing something useful, the issue has escalated and become pending for at least a year. Many people want a stricter hand on this but all of these “many people” are of no real consequence. Corruption permeates through the entire system      





Book Review of Bitch Goddess for Dummies


, ,

Review for Bitch Goddess for Dummies:              

First off, the author really knows her characters. The author has clearly done something pivotal to a good story-getting right to the very centre and depth of each and every character, there is not a moment when any character does something out of place, says something out of character or thinks anything untypical. You might think that this would make it slightly predictable, but on the contrary, it really makes the story believable and adds to the flood of slight nuances given to each character. As in any good story, the motivations are real and driving, but also sometimes comical, which makes for a light read. Speaking of nuance, the author managed to turn many of the plot twists into a very urban, very chic book, and far off from the Bollywood stigma which so many Indian “chick lit” books carry these days

The plot itself is unusual and unique, making this book a standout in Indian literature. There are some appropriate interesting cliff hangers and conflict in the story,  both internal and external.  The author has presented pleasing and satisfying resolutions to the story. Many times you read a book with a promising start but ends disappointingly. This book manages to leave you fully content with its denouement.

The book is made special by a critical layer-language.  The language is sophisticated and has carefully placed words.  The major plus point is humour especially the image of the good Indian girl crushing men under stiletto, which never goes too far.

When you read this book shed all inhibitions and be prepared to laugh, because then you can see the real magic in the writing. The general tone is light hearted and because of this upbeat outlook, the dramatic family issues turn out to be easily digestible.

All in all, this is a cool, hip book, a definite winner, and a must-have on your shelf. Put it on your to-read list if you already haven’t. Complete with racy dialogue and fun humour, this book is a definite page turner.