BOOK REVIEW: The Exmoor Files by Liz Jones
I have kind of a love-hate thing going on when it comes to Liz Jones. For those who haven't a clue who I'm talking about, Miss Jones is a controversial columnist in UK newspaper The Daily Mail. She's also a former editor of Marie Claire. Liz's weekly anecdotes in the press, along with her other articles that generally involve a lot of 'bitching and moaning' have gained countless negative comments and an army of readers who flock to her column out of sheer curiosity, to see what odd revelation about her life she'll come out with next.
I'm one of those readers.
Even so, despite often questioning Liz's security in herself (and sometimes even her sanity), I can't help but like her writing. As strange as it sounds, her written voice is addicitve and enjoyable. Back when it was released, I picked up Liz's novel Liz Jones's Diary, and even though I disagreed with a lot of the things Liz said and did, I read the entire book and, well, liked it.
So when I heard about her latest book, The Exmoor Files, I wanted to read it immediately. Anyone who follows her You column in the Mail each Sunday will probably recall Liz's divorce from cheating, lazy husband Nirpal and her move from London to the countryside. It certainly made for interesting reading.
The Exmoor Files: How I Lost a Husband and Nearly Found Rural Bliss begins with Liz's first visit to her new home, a large Exmoor farmhouse complete with a stable block, acres of land and a broken Aga. After her husband's numerous affairs, Liz has decided to trade her city life of luxury in for life in the country, hoping the change will be just what she needs after years of being unhappy, despite having the cash to own everything she's ever wanted. The move could be a fresh new chapter in her life.
But it's never that easy.
With the ex still being in contact, Liz is still trying hard to move on, albeit with her new animals - racehorses that she has rescued just in time. Liz is the ultimate animal lover and her affection for her cats and horses, as well as the determination she shows to keep her horses fully looked after, shines through.
Despite the fact that she's being somewhat shunned by the community, Liz is determined to get by and not admit defeat.
Without giving too much away about the book, which contains a lot more new material, I will say that The Exmoor Files does show a side to Liz that I hadn't read before. An endearing, softer side that's evident in this book. Which is a shame, as reading her columns my mind seems to automatically conjure a bitter, ageing cat lady with a hatred for absolutely everything. But after reading this book, it doesn't seem that way at all. Liz actually seems kinder than she comes across in the media and there were some aspects with which I could fully sympathise.
Liz's ex-husband Nirpal appears in the book quite a lot, which was to be expected. His actions are truly awful and I do wonder what made Liz put up with this man for an entire seven years, let alone take him back on numerous occasions. Even though Liz, at the very beginning, seemed to think that expense and possessions made for a great life (the designer name-dropping in her first book really grated on my nerves) there is no excuse for his behaviour.
This book made me sympathise with Liz just a little, and made me think that perhaps she's not the snotty person she portrays herself to be in her columns. Of course, it could be the other way round - maybe this book is making her out to be something she's not? Even so, I liked The Exmoor Files. Did Liz find the secret to a better life that she'd hoped for? Well, you'll have to read it to find out. But the book, although coming complete with Liz's slightly cynical side, is still refreshing.