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Sunday, 2 June 2013

"Me thinks the Lady doth protest too much!"

Well for the first time in the ARC Challenge I found myself at a loss as to what kind of art piece could best represent my feelings about "Young Enthusiasts" by Elizabeth Jenkins
I had bought this book from a jumble sale many years ago, because it's pages were old and yellowed and it had that lovely smell of old paper. As part of this challenge I had decided to read some of the "old, yellowed" books I have collected over the years, and as this book is still available to buy I excitedly gave it a go.....da da daaaaaaaaaa......

I have read many different types of book and styles of writing over the years, but this book stands out in it's total uniqueness.

It would be impossible to give away the there isn't one. The book seems to be a combination of supposed anecdotal memories, none of which I found particularly emotive, and intellectual discussion/observances  with regard to the pros and cons of the educational system of the time.

The book itself is only 214 pages long...the first 30 pages felt like an eternity....then I went out into my blessed garden in order to fortify myself and finish the rest.
Even then I could be heard exclaiming, ranting and groaning under the immense effort not to give it up as a waste of a sunny day (much to the amusement of my family).

By page 189 I caved.....surely it must all come together at the end? I read the last page.....went back to read the remaining pages as I MUST have missed something....nope.

This semi-fictional piece of writing reads like a note book/diary with no discernible timeline...I didn't know if we were in the 1930's or 1947 (date of publication). Mostly the lead character(I don't recall her mentioning her own name) is first inspired by a child's appearance...then whether they have any true interest in the subject she teaches (English Grammar). Basically, she has her favourites, whilst being mortally offended by a parents out right accusation of the fact. These are the "beautiful" people as I came to regard them...attractive, elegant and with the souls of the romantic poets...

 Whilst the children of "insolvents"(as it would be gauche to call a person poor), though to be encouraged to improve their writing style where inevitably cast aside as being unworthy of the expenditure of one's nervous energy.... 

not a direct quote, but very much in the style of the author, and certainly the impression I was forming of the personality of the teacher telling the "story".

I actually had a headache from trying to make the book mean anything at all, other than being a "whining monstrosity of self importance" 

I only managed to make a piece of art from this book when I remembered I was supposed to be making a journal page about "Anger" for Jeanette's free First Aid Journalling class.
Anger is something I reserve for the most deserving of cases...and one such cause in my life is a wasted education...not because a child may be difficult to engage with, But because the system doesn't encourage them enough. I describe these as the "invisible" children. The ones who work quietly at the back of the class, drawing no attention to themselves, just getting by, or the ones who struggle for no immediately apparent reason. I know there are children who appear to have absolutely no interest in learning at all, but maybe they just haven't met the right teacher yet?

(can you tell I struggled not to rant over this one lol ?)
Enjoy :D XXX


  1. Wow....honest review.....thank you for the warning....will totally ignore said book if I ever come across it. Sounds like a horrible woman and an even worse teacher.
    Great art work....your anger really comes across.
    Hugs xx
    p.s. I'd have flung the book to the end of the garden!

  2. Fabulous review...I echo your feelings about education, Gina. Today, it seems that all the extra effort goes into teaching the "gifted" with those less so...invisible!! You did well not to rant throughout your review...good self control (lol.) Your art is perfect and well done! Thanks for the honet review.

  3. Totally agree with your thoughts and comments about education with or without the book. Brings up anger big time in me. No wonder people are looking for alternative education for their children. hugs, Donna (Love your artwork - great interpretation)

  4. Lol! I talked about the same issue this Friday. A story without a message or some kind of point is just not worth the read. At least you got some great art out of it. :)

  5. First of all - I too love the smell and the feel of yellowing paper leaves. I could never read electronic books entirely because of this tactile experience. This book, though, sounds awful. I have been a teacher for more years than I care to count and this woman sounds infuriating. Your art work though is amazing. It is cram-packed with emotion. Great use of colour! x

  6. Old books smell delicious!

    About your review, what NatashaMay said. A book without a proper message is difficult to digest (and like).

    I love that your art speaks about children left behind, and kind of suggests a graving for the book too.

    And there is something in the eyes of that poor babe that speaks of hopelessness. You are so good at painting emotions in my heart, my Gina.

  7. Defo one to stay away from then! Love the journaling. I think there were two wonderful things about this book from your explanation the fact that is smelled & had the appearance of yummy oldness and the end! lol better luck next month Dxx

  8. Isn't it fun reading our old and yellowed book collections? Artwork superb and thank you for the how-to photos. I bet this book was in ever such nice condition as it had never ever been read before by anyone (until you of course). Sounds as though it needs a severe case of altering! I agree with you about the lost children of the classroom.

    Janet xx

  9. I am amazed you stuck with this book as long as you did! Too bad it didn't come through in the end with a reason for having read it! Thanks for the welcome back, i plan to try to be on here a bit more regularly, bu one never knows how plans will work out

  10. I got cut off in the middle there, i was also going to say i am off to check out some more f your book reviews that i have missed...

  11. Wonderful art work, it almost makes reading the review unnecessary as it says it all. As someone who spent most of my teaching life trying to rescue "invisible" children I understand the anger.
    Jen x

  12. Great review, and i'm glad to be warned off. Your artwork is an inspired idea. It's so hard to create a painting for a book that is not enjoyed. Enjoyed reading about your struggles with it, and loved the art.

  13. oooooh, this makes me sad and angry and I haven't even READ the book!

    I'm glad she wasn't my teacher!

    Your irritation comes across perfectly in your wonderful artwork.

  14. You might have struggled, but your created a wonderful piece of art! Thanks for your honesty about the book ;o) Hugs ;o)

  15. Damn doesnt sound like a book I am gonna rush off to buy lol Isn't it strange how a book can stir up such intense annoyance. Fabulous artwork though, you def got your feelings out.

  16. Sorry, but I'm laughing at the honesty of your review. Pretty sure I won't be making an attempt at this book! Great artwork though, no matter what feelings inspired it ;) x

  17. And another wonderful book to tear apart and alter! I'll remember if I ever come across this title for a couple cents! ;)
    I really admire how you made your piece of Art. You make it look effortless but I could never copy! ♥

  18. Kudos to getting through the antiquated book!!! Thank you for the honest review and "right-on-target" opinion of today's (and yesterday's) educational system. I have been in the trenches of public schools as a teacher and made an effort to reach all my students; but, sadly my colleagues were either burned out or tuned out (just went to collect a paycheck).

    Artwork - A PLUS-PLUS!!! As the emotional expressiveness is apparent; beautifully executed craftsmanship; great use of color...I totally sense your anger and frustration in this!!

  19. Feeling angry and irritated with the book has helped produce a great piece of artwork for the theme of anger. Well done for persevering with the book! Great review as well. :-)