Thanks for stopping by. Mummy Mayhem is no longer updated. I now have a new, albeit smaller blog over at www.jodieansted.blogspot.com.au.

Drop by anytime. :)


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Biography Review - Confessions of a Park Avenue Plastic Surgeon

Author: Cap Lesesne, M.D.
Review date: Sep 2009

It was the first paragraph on the back of this book that caught my interest.

One of the world's top cosmetic surgeons reveals just how far the rich, the famous and the desperate will go to be beautiful.

Basically, the book is promoted as a "tell all", although it becomes quite apparent the "all" refers to procedures and techniques more than the people he has worked on. Dr Lesesne talks endlessly about his abilities (let's just say he likes to blow his own trumpet a bit) and of the types of procedures he does, and the kinds of people that he works on (described as "an invesment banker" or "a major, Emmy Award-winning actress" or "a European royal") which, although interesting, if you're not in to a Guess who? game, can become quite annoying. Not that, with doctor/patient confidentiality you would expect him to have a list of names in the book with their procedures written next to them, but considering the title, you would think there would be some more telling information in there! He does, however, touch on his relationship with Katie Couric (of the USA's Today Show fame, now a CBS news presenter) under the chapter entitled America's Sweetheart. It appears things didn't end well there. Hmmm.

In the beginning of the book, Dr Lesesne documents his journey, in quite some detail, in to becoming a plastic surgeon. I think, not knowing who he is, I found this a little tedious to read. But the worst thing I found about reading this book, is how it made me feel about myself afterwards. Dr Lesesne talks in detail about the aging process. What goes first (the neck apparently) and what traits he feels need to be addressed etc. It made me look at myself in the mirror with a much more detailed and judgmental eye than what I did before reading this book, and as an almost 40 year old, I didn't like what I saw! I found myself pulling my face this way and that, stretching out my neck...looking for all the things he had pointed out. If you're like me, and you're not planning on going under the knife to try and hold on to your (semi) youthful appearance, then I'd recommend you not read this book. Unless, of course, you have amazing skin, next to nil wrinkles etc, and it might make you feel even better about yourself. Personally, I don't want to stand anywhere near you right now. Hmph!

A number of times, I almost gave up on the book. But I don't like to do that anyway, so I pushed through. It's not one I would highly recommend. Although, having said that, I did find it slightly useful at the time. I had a large mole removed from my ear, and because of its position, my dermatologist suggested I see a plastic surgeon. Dr Lesesne does give a good deal of information in the chapter entitled Failures (and What to Ask a Surgeon) on how to go about finding the right surgeon, and what qualifications they should have (and it incorporated Australia's relevant details). So there you go. All was not lost.

My rating out of 5:

Biography Review - See Naples and Die

Author: Penelope Green
Review date: Sep 2009

This is the follow up to Penelope's book When In Rome. (Read my review on that one here.) In See Naples and Die, Penelope takes a job in Naples, leaving behind her beloved Rome to throw herself in to the unknown of Naples. She decides to uncover the "real city" of Naples.

Whilst her first book was more about her search for a relationship, chasing a more relaxed lifestyle and set against the beautiful backdrop of Rome, this book is focussed more so on the actual city of Naples. The people, the places, the culture. She becomes quite fascinated with the Camorra - Naples' mafia, and the Camorra's effect on the city and she interviews many different locals to help her form her opinion on the city.

But it does have a little romance in it as well. Still chasing a special relationship with someone, she does eventually meet a bass player in a local band whom she thinks might be just the person she's looking for....

Whilst I, once again, enjoyed Penelope's writing, the content for me wasn't exactly what I had hoped the book would be about. Don't get me wrong: I was interested to hear about Naples, but for me, there was too much about the city, and not enough about Penelope and her life in the city, this time. Therefore, my rating below reflects my enjoyment of the book, not how well it was or wasn't written. (Having said that, it's not like I'm a book critic anyway!!!) Penelope has recently released another book called Girl By Sea which is her final book in the trilogy. I have now purchased this and added it to my pile of books and will review once read! Stay tuned....

My rating out of 5:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Biography Review - The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Author: Antonia Fraser
Review date: Sep 2009

'Divorced, beheaded, died...divorced, beheaded, survived...' you can hear this rhyme, recalling the order of Henry VIII's wives, like an endless respectful susurration on the lips of visitors to the historic places associated with them. - Six Wives of Henry VIII, Antonia Fraser

Yeah, I don't know what 'susurration' means either, but apart from that, I found this book very readable! Often historical biographies are filled with a lot of political mumbo jumbo, especially when political figures such as Henry VIII are concerned. But not this one. Yes, there is, of course, comment on the political state at the time. There has to be. Henry VIII's relationship with Anne Boleyn, and subsequently his divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, was the catalyst for the reformation of England. But having said that, it should be noted that this book is very sympathetic to the point of view of the wives of Henry VIII. Antonia Fraser also highlights the kind of man that Henry VIII was. (No one played the blame game better than he did!) The book is very intelligently written but, as I said above, very readable and enjoyable.

As a side note, I should tell you that not long after starting the book, Hubby and I commenced watching Season 1 of The Tudors - the television series about the life of Henry VIII and his wives. Whilst the tv show is not an entirely accurate portrayal of Henry VIII's life at all, there is much in the show which is taken directly from history. Even some direct quotes that were thought to be made at the time by Henry VIII or his wives etc are used in the tv series. The show only added to my interest in the book and, it's worth noting, that English actor Henry Cavill, who plays The Duke of Suffolk (Charles Brandon) in the series (Henry VIII's best friend) is rather easy on the eye! In fact, I have a bit of a crush on him. (Ssssh! Don't tell my husband!)

Antonia Fraser has written a number of historical biographies, so it's safe to say she knows her stuff. I hope to start her book, Marie Antoinette - The Journey, soon. It's included in my big pile of books, carefully arranged on my bedside table for future reading! This is an incredibly fascinating and good read!

My rating out of 5:

Biography Review - When In Rome

Author: Penelope Green
Review date: Sep 2009

I loved this book. Penelope Green documents her decision to leave her PR executive job in Sydney and move to Rome to play out her long-held dream to live in Italy. (I'm always impressed when anyone takes a step outside of their comfort zone, aren't you?) She leaves behind her life in Sydney to find herself in a foreign country; unable to speak the language, without a job lined up and without a place to live. As her publisher writes:

In frank and hilarious detail, Penny writes about her immersion into life in the Eternal City: from her first giddy Vespa ride to wrestling with the Italian language and culture (not to mention a few lecherous locals), to seeing in her birthday at midnight with a kiss from her lover under the floodlit Colosseum.

I read it a year or so after returning from a trip with Hubby and our two big boys to Italy in 2005. Rome was our last stop on our itinerary. Penelope writes beautifully about the sites and people of Rome, which took me back to our time there. She's pretty candid about her relationships and really takes you with her on her journey. I thought it a pretty good read!

My rating out of 5: