At opposite ends of the spectrum

There are a couple of blogs I’ve been enjoying of late, which while quite opposite in terms content, are both an excellent read. While one is quite new, the other has been about a while, but both look at areas of life from a woman’s perspective, of which I know very little (if I’m being honest, nowt is probably closer to the mark).

Since the new year, I’ve met more Americans in Manchester than I’d heard in all the previous few years I’ve lived here. One who I haven’t met, but who I know most about, is Jennifer Grace Cook. (J.G. Cook wouldn’t look out of place on a cricket scorecard would it?)

Jennifer (or perhaps it should be JGC if we play by her rules) is a 44 year old American debutante,  who has moved to Manchester to find the love of her life.  Already a darling of the local press Jennifer is chronicling her six-month quest here: http://anoblemanchester.com

Using a battleshipsesque code to keep her friends and confidantes secret, Jennifer’s ambition to find ‘a noble man’ has so far taken her drinking in the Northern Quarter, flat stalking, and realising that people weren’t lying when they said Manchester is cold, grey and wet. And we’re only mid-way through January.

When I first heard about Jennifer’s blog I thought it was a wind-up. Who the hell would swap California for Manchester? Even the great George Best, one of Manchester’s most revered adopted sons went the other way. But now the MEN have put it in print then I guess it must be true.  And when the New York Times lists Manchester in it’s top 41 places to visit in 2011 then we must be doing something right in our wet patch of Lancashire.

Jennifer’s six months seem to have started well and I hope the long dark Northern February doesn’t get her down too much. Maybe she can look forward to learning all about cricket at Old Trafford.

Like many things I enjoy My Shitty Twenties has been around a while but I’ve only just discovered it’s charms. The blog charts the life of a 20-something single mother Emily, and her son Tom, as they get on with the routines of their lives.

It’s not hard to see why My Shitty Twenties has won awards, platitudes and, judging by the comments section, a legion of devoted followers. Emily’s writing doesn’t hold back with the honesty of life as a young, single mother and she isn’t afraid to give her point of view.

I’d like to recommend My Shitty Twenties to my Mum but I doubt she’d get past the swear word in the title. Which is a pity, as I’d think Mum would like it’s ‘never give in attitude’ and Emily’s take on her life at the moment. Though I doubt me or any of my brothers or sisters came up with anything as witty or intelligent as Tom does.

What these two blogs share, and which I really admire, is an honesty of their situation, which are both very different but both are taking charge of their situations. You feel that what you’re getting is what actually happened, give or take a natural ten percent of exaggeration and underselling. Having had no experience of being a single parent or never having been on a noble quest, I get a vague voyeuristic feeling at times reading these blogs. Being a bloke, it can feel as  though you’ve been caught listening in on one of those conversations that women have that men aren’t supposed to be hearing. But who cares, if people are happy to write about their lives and share their interesting stories then read on.

A Noble Manchester – http://anoblemanchester.com

My Shitty Twenties – http://myshittytwenties.wordpress.com

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Posted in Reviews, Thoughts and Things

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