© 2018 Kylie-Ann Homer.

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Virginia Woolf takes you by the hand and walks you through her story one character at a time. Strolling with you through London you accompany Clarissa in her party preparations, before picking up the pace to more of a waltz as you find yourself passing between the party-goers, London's social elite, later on. It is a challenging read, with few page breaks and chapters dividing the prose, yet it is so fluid and seamless I regret it was my bitty commute that broke the magic. Woolf uses the space to connect seemingly otherwise unconnected characters in a way much representative of life. It is such a concise novel, I'd recommend if you can take it in in one sitting, you'll see the benefits.

In amongst the affluence and celebrative nature of the party,  Woolf weaves the darkness of the story of Septimus Warren Smith, a retired war veteran who struggles with his mental health with what we would now recognise as PTSD. Woolf uses Clarissa's character to dismiss the effects of war on mental health, sweeping it under the carpet, reflecting her frustrations with the medical service at the time. 

Seamlessly, Woolf juxtaposes the highs and lows of emotion with the highs and lows of society making for a critical and unsympathetic assessment of society and medical services at the time. 

Writing a novel in the inter-war years, Woolf has confronted issues head on, making her opinions known. I feel like in writing, we all should be doing the same.

Dawn O’Porter has crafted her story of teenage friendship so precisely and with such detail, almost everyone that has been a teenage girl will be able to relate to it. For me she really captured what it is like.

When we look back on high school friendships, they seem fickle and tenuous. But what Dawn captures is their importance at the time. The heightened teenage emotions prevail in the girls’ friendship through the extremes of joy and betrayal.

Interestingly, Dawn used her own teenage diaries for inspiration. I think the language she uses has a real truth to it. I know the way I spoke about my friends and family in my diaries would have been very similar and so aspects of the book seem authentic in that they are validated by the realism of the language.

It was Paper Aeroplanes that reminded me of parts of my teenage self, which I am certain I would otherwise have forgotten about. I am pleased for the opportunity for self-reflection from this novel and the realisation of how much I have changed, as I am sure we all have.

The girls grow through high school together enduring life defining lessons. Paper Aeroplanes is a heart warming story and shows us all the importance of strong friendships, however old we are.

Initially I found Eleanor Oliphant so strange, she felt like she had come from another planet, observing cultural norms and behaviours with a judging eye. Yet at other times, she was so familiar and recognisable, her internal monologue sounded much like my own.

She is wonderfully witty and often so blunt the dialogue flows like a comedy sketch. Her story is one of loneliness, but it is the kindness of people that aid in her reconnection to emotion.

Gail Honeyman has crafted a unique story full of warmth and laughter, with lovable characters showing the very best in human nature. With Eleanor Oliphant at its heart, it is guaranteed to make you smile.