Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, by Lily Collins

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

cv_unfilteredLily Collins is a popular actress and Instagram star who has just released her autobiography. Her book, Unfiltered, is a series of essays about her life. There is a particular emphasis on relationships, being true to yourself and her early years.

As I was unfamiliar with her work this was a completely fresh introduction to Lily Collins and I found her writing very easy to read. Lily has written one essay about her father (the musician Phil Collins) and her relationship with her mother, who mostly raised her, flows through the other essays. Most interesting is her determination – she decided teen magazines needed actual teen input and through a lot of work talked her way into a regular column in ELLE Girl magazine. This lead to other freelance work (while still in her teens) for Teen Vogue and other publications. This lead to TV journalism work – and from there to acting. It is a really interesting story.

Like many essay collections, it suffers from a lack of cohesion. It felt like many subjects were not discussed in depth, or conflicted with information previously discussed. One chapter discussed an abusive relationship – but the vagueness of detail lessened the impact – it was mentioned obliquely, then she moved on.

As a structure for an autobiography it made for somewhat disjointed reading. It is a shame, as there were some interesting events and experiences that might have made more sense in a more traditional chronological format.

Her main point in the book is to be yourself. This fits with her main charity focus – peer support and bullying prevention. Lily was involved in peer support programmes as a student and has been involved in youth advocacy for counselling centres. It is always nice to hear people’s accounts of what they remembered (and used) from High School days. She is also involved in ‘We day’ – a children’s advocacy charity.

At the end of the book there are links to resources to deal with issues raised in the book. I note this because the book deals with eating disorders and relationship violence. For this reason I would recommend the book for older teenagers.

Reviewed by Emma Rutherford

Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me
by Lily Collins
Published by Ebury Press
ISBN 9781785034107

Book Review: Moranifesto, by Caitlin Moran

cv_moranifestoAvailable in bookshops nationwide.

If you’re new to the Caitlin Moran party, this is the place to start. I’ve read all of her books and this is her best. (Unless you’ve read every single column she’s written for The Times in which case I’d suggest you give this a miss and pick up How to Build A Girl instead.)

A collection of (mostly) columns she’s written for The Times of London over the past 6 years with the odd new piece written just for this, it’s one of the funniest, wittiest, most thought provoking book’s you’ll read this year.

Moran’s greatest gift is her ability to express her unusually high intellect in a completely relatable way. Self-deprecating yet totally fierce in her belief that everyday women have the right to express their opinions and be listened to, Moranifesto tackles everything from politics to economics; Dr Who to cystitis; the secret love of a cancelled social engagement to that list of weird things that are sexy though you know that deep down they’re really not.

Saying what we’d all like to, and often a whole lot that’s probably never ever occurred to another person ever; Caitlin Moran is a leading voice of this generation’s women. If you don’t follow her on Twitter I suggest you do so ASAP @caitlinmoran – she’s hilarious.

Reviewed by Sarah McMullan

by Caitlin Moran
Published by Ebury Press
ISBN 9780091949051