This is a shorter blog than usual, with only two items. The main reason for putting it out now is to make sure that everyone has the right information about claiming compensation following the loss of electricity supplies in Fearnan during Storm Arwen.
The Ofgem site states that consumers can claim £70 after 48 hours without electricity and a further £70 for each additional 12 hour period, up to a maximum of £700.
You can find the information here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/check-compensation-rules-power-cut-or-supply-problem After clicking the link, click Information for Consumers, then go into Energy Advice for Households and scroll down to the section on Compensation Rules where you will get more information, including how to claim.
Fearnan Book Club Review
Nothing deters the bibliophiles in the Fearnan Book Club, and despite the storm, the lack of electricity, and generally unfavourable reading conditions, we have another book club review.
The book reviewed in November was Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart which was a great book club choice for stimulating lively discussion and exploring differing opinions. This is a story with multiple themes of poverty, abuse, addiction and revolves around the relationship between Agnes and her son, Shuggie.
It received very polarised responses from our group but general acknowledgement that it was an amazing book for a first novel. It was beautifully written, evocative, with vivid descriptions that indicated that, although not autobiographical, the author had lived these experiences.
Some found it a difficult read – too raw and depressing – and didn’t finish the book. Others liked the dark humour and became involved with the characters. They admired Shuggie’s resilience, loyalty and love for his alcoholic mother and were glad they had read it. All agreed that he had a lot to cope with, not only his life with an alcoholic mother and absent father but also being gay in a mining community in the 1980s. It provided a social commentary on life and deprivation in that part of Scotland at that time, which was sadly well portrayed. One described it as a book that would stay with her.
Shuggie’s mum, Agnes, was full of contradictions. She was an outsider in her community who always tried to put on her best face in public and at one point had the strength to give up alcohol. Sadly, this was short lived and with it her opportunity to find happiness and stability also disappeared. Some felt angry with Agnes who had been brought up well but was self-destructive and made the wrong choices in life. We admired characters who showed her kindness and recognised the strength in her two older children, who left to make better lives for themselves.
Others felt it was more complex than that, with many factors resulting in her situation. We all brought our own personal experiences into our interpretation of the novel either from a personal or professional viewpoint. Whilst not being an easy or perhaps enjoyable read, this book was certainly powerful and thought provoking. A book, that once read, is not easily forgotten.
For our December review, something completely different!
Our book is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. This was her first novel and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and an international bestseller.
This story is set in the Alaskan wilderness in the 1920’s where a couple are living a tough life as homesteaders. Then when they are in their 50’s, a child unexpectedly comes into their life.
It is based on a Russian fairy tale and explores many issues which will be discussed at our next session.