Holly Bourne

REVIEW: The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne

Trigger warnings for controlling behaviour, emotional abuse, gaslighting, sexual assault and rape.

Amelie loved Reese. And she thought he loved her. But she’s starting to realise love isn’t supposed to hurt like this. So now she’s retracing their story and untangling what happened by revisiting all the places he made her cry. Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn to get over him.

Do you ever start a book, and you’re only a couple of chapters in or less than 50 pages in, but you think to yourself “Wow, this book is going to be incredible”? Because that’s how a felt about The Places I’ve Cried in Public when I’d only read the first two chapters and I’m happy to say that gut reaction was correct.

The Places I’ve Cried in Public really was incredible. It has two timelines, Amelie in the present going to the various places she’s cried over Reese, a park bench, a bus stop, her music class, and trying to process everything that has happened and her own thoughts ad emotions. Then when Amelie is at these various places, she remembers the incident that had made her cry, and slowly the rose-tinted view of her relationship with Reese is worn away as she sees the red flags she didn’t notice before, or saw but ignored them because she was so caught up in Reese.

There are so many great, thought-provoking lines and whole passages in The Places I’ve Cried in Public. Especially in how it deals with trauma and abuse, slowly working things out as Amelie does, giving words to the things she’s feeling as she starts to process them. One of my favourite quotes is: “Crying is a very obvious sign that something isn’t going right in your life. You should not ignore tears.”

And another favourite passage is: “I wonder how many times in a given second girls are told that their guts are wrong? Told our tummies are misfiring, like wayward fireworks. No, no, no, dear, it’s not like that at all. Where did you get that from? I promise you that’s not the case. You are overreacting. You are crazy. You are insecure. You are being a silly little thing. And, then, days or weeks or even years later, we look back on The Bad Thing that happened to us because we ignored all the signs, and we say to ourselves I wish I had listened to my gut.”

I think they both sum up the difficulties people, but perhaps girls especially when so often the media and society wants to mould them into a certain way, have when trying to figure out their own emotions. There are so many moments in The Places I’ve Cried in Public that are like a punch to the gut with their poignancy.

The Places I’ve Cried in Public is so compelling because as an outsider, you see a lot of the little warning signs that Amelie ignores, or sees in a positive light, even when friends, some of who she’s known her whole life, point them out to her. It’s well-written because even as you see the issues, you can also understand where Amelie is coming from, making her a sympathetic character as her whole sense of being is changed by her connection to Reese.

The Places I’ve Cried in Public is an incredibly sad story but also one that offers hope for anyone who may be in a similar situation to Amelie. There are scenes of Amelie going to a counsellor which were very well-written and important as it shows how there are people out there to help and no one should feel lesser for needing help. The Places I’ve Cried in Public really is a fantastic book and it’s one that’ll leave a lasting impression. 5/5.

Wildest Dreams Book Box: Self Care

This week October’s Wildest Dreams box arrived at my door – well technically I had to pick it up from the post office because neither me nor my flatmate were in when the postman came. Wildest Dreams is a UK subscription box that tends to have a YA contemporary book in it along with some tea, a self-care product, and some other little things. Wildest Dreams is a more affordable option compared to the majority of book boxes out there.

Wildest Dreams is a monthly book box and this month’s theme was Self Care. As you probably know by now, I’m not a regular purchaser of book boxes, instead I keep an eye out on what themes interest me and just get the odd box. I liked the sound of this month’s theme because as winter comes closer and it gets darker earlier, I could definitely use some self-care.

The tea this month was vanilla black tea from Rosie Lea Tea and it was inspired by 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I’m not a tea drinker but I have friends who are so I can pass the tea onto them. I like how the tea comes with its own tea bags because I always think people might not have their own tea strainer handy for loose tea.

There was a Cinderella inspired pumpkin wax melt from Pumpkin Parcel. I don’t have a wax burner, but to be honest I don’t even need one as the melt smells so strongly. I’ve currently got it sitting on my bedside table and I like the smell a lot. There was a bracelet from Mermaid Mary’s inspired by Turtles All the Way Down by John Green and an exclusive art print by Lia from @lostinink_. The art print is beautiful, and I think I’m going to take it to work. There’s a pin board near my desk and I think it’s always a good idea to remember to breathe when you’re at work and potentially stressed.

The book in this month’s box is The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne. I’ve not actually read any books by Holly Bourne before (despite seeing them everywhere!) so this gives me the perfect chance to give her work a try. The synopsis reads: “Amelie loved Reese. And she thought he loved her. But she’s starting to realise love isn’t supposed to hurt like this. So now she’s retracing their story and untangling what happened by revisiting all the places he made her cry. Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn to get over him.”

The Places I’ve Cried in Public sounds like it’s going to be a tearjerker as it tackles abusive relationships. Handily, the book came with a little pack of tissues, and there was also a bookmark and a letter from the author. The book also has purple sprayed edges which match the purple text on the cover which looks very pretty.

Once again, I liked my Wildest Dreams box a lot. It’s simple but well put together. Everything is wrapped in tissue paper in the box and the book is wrapped in brown paper which I always think looks smart. I’m looking forward to reading my first Holly Bourne book – even if there’s a good chance it’ll make me cry.