#Review of Journeys in the Wild – The Secret Life of A Cameraman by Gavin Thurston – Take a look at the amazing adventures in the natural world of this award winning cameraman. Rated 5 stars @GavinThurston @SeveDialsBooks @OrionBooks @gigicroft #JourneysInTheWild #NonFiction #Nature

Journeys in the Wild
The Secret Life of a Cameraman
By Gavin Thurston
Rated: 5 stars *****

 

What a wonderfully observed, written book, full of first hand experience I have reviewed by the award-winning and dare I say, now, multi-talented Gavin Thurston. I am so pleased to have picked it up and read it. There’s adventure, trepidation, humour and such warmth within this non-fiction, diarised book. I must say I was impressed by the calibre of writing and the ability to hold my attention beginning to end. It could have been dry, but this book certainly isn’t that. It was fairly unputdownable, as I suspected it would be, so had to wait until I had a sizeable amount of time to devote to the book I have enjoyed so much. I have the blurb and my review as well as links to Gavin Thurston’s website to share with you all today. The book is available to buy now in hardback, E-book and Audiobook and available in paperback 28th May and can be pre-ordered. See links for options below the blurb and review.

Journey in wild cover

Blurb

From award-winning Blue Planet 11 and Planet Earth 11 cameraman Gavin Thurston comes extraordinary true stories of what it takes to film our planet’s most captivating creatures.

Against the backdrop of civil wars, coups, plane crashes and kidnap attempts, Gavin has lurked in the shadows of some of the world’s remotest places in order to capture footage of the animal kingdom’s finest: prides of lions; silverback gorillas; capuchin monkeys; penguins; mosquitoes – you name it, he’s filmed it.

From journeys to the deepest depths of the Antarctic Ocean to the peaks of the Himalayas and the wild forests of the Congo, Gavin invites you to come inside the cameraman’s secret world. Discover the hours spent patiently waiting for the protagonists to appear, the inevitable dangers hiding in the wings and the heart-warming, life affirming moments the cameras miss as well as capture.

There is also high praise from Michael Palin, Joanna Lumley and David Attenborough.

Review

Gavin Thurston – talented with a camera to get footage onto screens and talented with a pen and computer at putting brilliant observations down on the page and with a bit of humour within the adventures and the encountered dangers.

I bought this book with a book token I was gifted by a friend. I had been eyeing it up for long enough. Gavin Thurston is an incredibly talented cameraman and it turns out, writer too. There’s also an incredible forward by David Attenborough, who explains why we are now seeing cameramen on our tv screens, and it isn’t due to any obvious reasoning. He also has a lot of good things to say about Gavin Thurston and upon reading his book, I can see why. This is an absolute Must Read book in my opinion. From the minute I picked up the book I was hooked in. The writing for the way each part of his life is told is absolutely brilliant. This man can write and does so in a way that grabs attention. Time when reading this book flies by and is barely noticed. It is even better than what I thought it would be.

The book begins way back in 1972. Gavin Thurston then takes us to the 1980’s, 1990’s and all the way to 2017, in what is ultimately, a fascinating account/diary into his working life to date. The hardback version was published in 2019 and the paperback is due in 2020.

I could tell from the first few pages I was going to really like this book, well, in fact I love it very much. Gavin Thurston’s life as a cameraman is amazing with all the brilliant people and animals he has met, but this is such a down to earth book. It has imagery and humour in the writing. He has really encapsulated a world, that I guess, if you didn’t work within that field or didn’t watch the now documented bits at the end of wildlife programmes that are becoming more prevalent, this is part of a world you wouldn’t normally see and certainly at the times that are written about, on the whole, you wouldn’t know what went on behind the scenes.

In Corfu, Gavin was part of the team filming the animals for the 1980’s adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s book – My Family and Other Animals.

He travelled to the Soviet – the USSR as was in the 1990. There are great anecdotes about the flight and even what he had to go through beforehand with the BBC. There’s trepidation to be found in capturing a camera shot of chicks and even more danger when driving onwards to Afghanistan and there’s some stomach-churning alcohol distilling.

1997 finds him filming sequences for David Attenborough’s Life of Birds in the Galapagos Islands. There are more than beautiful birds to watch out for, there’s also an issue of Gavin’s good friend Nigel’s tooth to fix by themselves on the remote islands. There are brilliant snapshots of things that went on behind the scenes that, if it weren’t for them being documented in this book, most people certainly wouldn’t know about because this is also a book that takes readers beyond the filming too.

In Kenya in 1988 there are beautifully written observations on elephants and then the high drama of killer bees and then off to Panama at the time of the Lockerbie bombing. This book certainly shows that being a wildlife cameraman, may be an amazing job, but not one for the faint-hearted as it seems it can be fraught with all sorts of dangers. There are however very cool insights into David Attenborough here and there too, during and after the cameras stop rolling. There is a lovely warmth that seems to exist within camera crews, which is very nicely depicted.

The 1990’s explores China, Italy and the USA, filming cute pandas and more…

2001 in the Congo, there’s deadly fungus that may well make your skin crawl and chimps that need saving. The writing is vivid and adept.

There are glimpses of back home in Bristol to tell how last-minute jobs came in, like going to Antarctica to film penguins.

In Hawaii in 1997 Violent Planet was being filmed and this time it is bubbling molten lava being filmed. The writing is vivid and captures the atmosphere.

The book, apart from showing nature and the ups and the challenges of being in the wild, takes you to places where you don’t necessarily always think about too much, if at all, such as the balancing homelife and being away for weeks, months even, on end. It also bravely gives insight to some of the precarious nature of being a cameraman too.

There’s insights into elephants for a BBC programme that seem so beautiful and amazing, and yet, filmed in a place of danger, not from the elephants, but a human kidnapper… Life gets dangerous again when filming for The Private Life of Plants and even more so again when filming wildlife during a civil war. It is all captured so well in the writing, in such a way that makes you want to read on to see what both is lived through and captured on camera.

Gavin Thurston also writes great observations about tribes and large logging companies and some of the consequences.

The book concludes almost how it began, which is really lovely and beautifully written, as is, indeed throughout the whole of this book. I am glad I picked it up and read it and I hope many other people will too. By the end, whatever respect you have for wildlife cameramen/people will surely be heightened further.

Below are links to Gavin Thurston’s website and how you can purchase this fine book. I will add I loved the book and I hope others do too, I don’t get any money from sales or indeed at all.

www.gavinthurston.com

Click Here for Purchasing Options

 

 

#Review of The Consequences of Love by Gavanndra Hodge Rated 5 stars @gavanndra @MichaelJBooks #BookReview #NonFiction

The Consequences of Love
By Gavanndra Hodge
Rated: 5 stars *****

This is a moving story of Gavanndra Hodges compelling, emotional, honest account of the strength and bonds that creates sisterly love and how love can devastate a person. The book goes between the 1980s, 1990’s and 2000’s. There is a lot that readers will be familiar with from music to locations to childhood toys. From the start you can almost feel the tender love between Gavanndra and her sister Candy. It is sweet and yet so devastatingly heart-breaking as Candy becomes so unwell from an airborne virus and slips away, the girl who is described as being loving, wilful, funny, curious and so much more.
The numbness of grief and the consequences of not giving time to grieve is layed bare within this brave story, that holds more than, certainly what I ever imagined in this must read book. It is definitely a book that will take readers through many emotions and yet does shed some light and hope and how powerful the psychological make up of our minds can be in this terrifically written book that is a great read.
Within my post here, you will find out more about the author, the blurb and my review.

I give thanks to the publishing company – Michael Joseph – an imprint of Penguin for allowing me to review such a heart-rendering, touching and tender book; and for supplying me with a physical print copy in-exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

About the Author

Gavanndra Hodge has worked in newspapers and magazines for over twenty years, at the Daily Mail, Independent, ES Magazine and Tatler, where she was deputy editor and acting editor. In 2018 she left Tatler and became a freelance writer, contributing to publications including the Sunday Times, The Times, Telegraph and ES Magazine. She writes a column for The Times LUXX Magazine about how to talk to children about difficult subjects, such as privilege, grief and fairness, and has interviewed many high profile people, most recently Michael Caine, Margot Robbie and Carey Mulligan.

The Conseequence of Love

Blurb

Seven-year-old Gavanndra Hodge’s life is a precarious place. Her father is a hairdresser and drug dealer to Chelsea’s most decadent inhabitants; her mother an alcoholic ex-model. So, it is up to Gavanndra to keep her little sister Candy safe.

But when Candy dies suddenly on holiday aged nine, Gavanndra’s family, already so fragile and damaged, implodes.

Now a mother herself, and with only memories of Candy’s awful final moments, Gavanndra embarks on a journey to write her way back to the little girl whose death tore her family apart.

The Consequences of Love is a story of loss and recovery, trauma and memory. It is a joyous and compelling account of the strength of the love between sisters and how nothing is ever truly lost if we are brave enough to return to where we began.

Review

Candy (Candida Meander Hodge) died 4th April 1989. This book is about love, loss, grief on a huge scale, dealing with the consequences of the magnitude of grief, identity, drugs and alcohol of dealing with memories and handling life when people fill in the gaps, that have been long since suppressed. This is an emotional read and also one that is perhaps important. As much as there are other people mentioned in the book, like a boyfriend and friends etc, it is ultimately one that focuses your mind on both Gavanndra and Candy Hodge.

It finally becomes about both preserving both sisters. One dead, the other alive and the beginnings a gradual recovery, decades later for the one who is alive. It shows the messiness of life and the need to give time to actually process emotions and to grieve. It’s a brave book that in no way could have been easy to write and to bare so much about life in the past and closer to present times as memories are retrieved about the people she associated with and the way her family was and the emotional pain, that she may have thought she dealt with at the time of the death, but had not as it states her own vices. It becomes apparent that, although there is hope and love as she now has a family of her own, with a husband who is different from her father, that it would have been a lot to deal with, enough to hope that some way, Gavanndra Hodge’s personal life gets that bit better as more time goes on.

It’s also about, perhaps not full recovery, but a merging of the past and present and finding a way to live with them both. There seems to be strings of pain that, like threads that intertwine to create it to run through something, the pain intertwines and feeds through this family and the profound effect Candy’s death had on her, into adulthood and the entire surviving family. There is some optimism and hope provided by Gavanndra Hodge as she tells this life story.

There are however, in 1982,  childhood memories of fun like Enid Blyton books, wobbly teeth and fun with her dad. The type of fun that would make any reader smile and may bring back their own childhood memories. There’s a cutting darkness of her dad being involved in drugs.

Time moves on to 2014 and Gavanndra naturally grows up and has her own children – Hebe and Minna, with an age gap not far from herself and Candy. It is evident that the memories hits hard when her children are playing gleefully around. At this time Gavanndra works for Tatler magazine as a successful Deputy Editor as she tries to work through the past and yet separate it from her present at times. The writing is powerful, it grabs you from the beginning to the end.
The book covers quite a lot and her mother also becomes terribly unwell with cellulitis and sepsis, both that are challenging to deal with and are thankfully becoming more prominent in certain narratives in the news in recent years. Time moves also to 2015 and there is a sentence, that, for me anyway, hits home even more and that is about how every time a phone rings, you wonder if someone else has died. It will feel so uniquely different for everyone, but at the same time, I know how that feels for me, as Gavanndra will for her.

The book highlights some of the great work of Julia Samuel – a psychotherapist who consoled Princes William and Harry after their mother died and is a founder of Child Bereavement UK. This, apart from being nice, fits in with Gavanndra’s personal as well as her ambitious professional life. It is also very interesting to read about the social circles she moves/moved in. 

In 1991 there is a mix of drugs and GCSEs, quite a comparison to later in 2015 when she finally goes for therapy and to try to remember Candy more, the sister who she lost and to release the profoundness and pain of the grief a bit so it becomes more manageable. Reading onwards I hold hope for Gavanndra Hodge that she gets what she is seeking and that her personal life improves as more of what happened to Candy almost tumbles out in some interesting therapies and therapists, except I doubt in reality it did tumble out completely and took time.

There’s a really interesting interview in the last quarter of the book that shines a light on Jan Hodge about the family and tragedies.

The book does ultimately take readers up to 2018 and 2019, where we really get a glimpse into Candy, who seemed vibrant, knew her own mind – bordering on stubborn with and arty flair and friendly and the school reports are fascinating.

This is ultimately a book that is emotional and moving and is very interesting indeed. As much as the years move around a bit from chapter to chapter, it reads very well and does make sense to do this in this instance. It reads like there is a lot of honesty and in the end you cannot but help that there’s some more light in the author’s life to come. There is in a sense, perhaps more to be told, but the focus is excellent. It deals well with what “The Consequences of Love” can be, and yet we all need love and to be loved.