Clark I reviews books and sometimes writes them!
Nightmare in Londongrad: Nattanan Grove
There are some people that grow up with families that nurture them and protect them from harm. There are others that survive by creating scenes in their own minds that they hope will come to pass in the future. Some children are made to feel that all they are worth is really not much of anything. When Dookie Grove is sent to live with her aunt and her family her nightmare was just beginning. No matter how hard she tried, cleaned and kept their home spotless and neat it was never enough. School was her safe haven yet the teachers never seem to notice or do anything about the bruises on her arms, face and legs. Her friends tried, well some did to support her but others could be really cruel. When she finally grew up and decided to go off on her own one friend’s words would change it all for her. But, first being used as a human punching bag was her life as her aunt and the rest of her family would vent their anger on her by beating her just for the sake of it. A victim of suffering under circumstances that I would hope today would bring in child services Dookie needed to do more than develop a thick skin.
Dookie decided to try out for the Thai Super Model of the Year and hope that something good would come out of it. Finding out she was one of the top 20 finalists really thrilled her. Dealing with the competition and their competiveness brought back memories of her childhood. Winning the competition was just her first step to finding success but then a good friend introduces her to a wonderful young man named Charlie and her life started to develop meaning. As you hear her voice and experience her courtship with Charlie you understand why she seemed apprehensive, why she had so many trust issues and you route for them to become one. Life takes on a different meaning when you have somewhere special to share it with. So, meeting some of his friends, going out and enjoying life Dookie and Charlie finally decided to take things one-step further. But, on fateful night would change her life forever. When Charlie gets down on one knee and proposes you want to get up and cheer. When Dookie meets his family and he meets her father you are so proud that they accept them both. Two whole days to feel like she was on cloud nine and then on November 5, 2005 a simple night out would turn tragic as a close friend of Charlie’s got behind the wheel drunk and ended his life in a horrific car crash. Thinking about what happened Dookie reflects on the fact that she did not want to get into the car with these people nor did she want to continue their night on the town wishing they would spend the rest alone. Here her voice as she learns what happens to Charlie. Understand the ramifications as she explains what happened when she and many others got into car driven by someone who could not control the wheel and she has to relate the end result to his mother. Dookie Grove stopped living the moment she Charlie Green died and the harsh realization set in. Close to his mother and wanting to keep that bond she bravely goes with the police to inform his family of his death. Like the precious orchid, his favorite flower, Dookie is fragile and her energy and life wilted, as did the first orchid presented to her by Charlie. Half Thai and half-English she is striking on sight and her features exotic, tall, thin and definitely as fragile as a porcelain doll or piece of precious blown glass.
Did you ever see a butterfly that remained in its cocoon all safe and protected from harm and the outside world? Dookie became frozen in a world that was filled with memories, anger, resentment, fear a loneliness and not until her father came did she find any real peace or direction. The driver of the car, Issac Mazour, was stoned and drunk and as the reports will tell and an article that I was able to find about this accident I learned that he was going almost 90 mph as the car entered the tunnel. Charlie never had a chance and the driver was found unconscious.
Finding her way back to Singapore Dookie hoped to connect with her father but his wife blocked her every step of the way. Wanting her out of the way and out of her father’s life and hers Dookie explained to her father that she needed somewhere to find herself, talk to someone and hopefully regain her life. Special to a psychiatrist was the first step, her father buying her a puppy the second. Going to a Buddhist Temple and taking care of the monks and working side by side with the nuns a blessing. When she returned she seemed reenergized but would now have to face the trial of Issac Mazour and the memoires of what happened that night.
The process of recovery took time and the way she finds herself quite compelling. Can you forgive someone who is responsible for the death of the one person who was your whole life? Will forgiving this person and seeing him in person one more time allow you to find the peace you need to go on? Will revisiting the temple and creating strong roots in Buddhism, connecting within herself and realizing in order to move ahead she had to forgive the past? Was this the answer? When she finally decides on her course of life, gets her degree and finds what she thinks is her way what she decides to do might surprise the reader. Her love for her puppy Shisha is real but in the end will she take him with her?
Traveling provides an outlet for some to grow, clear their minds and meet other people. Find out what happens when Dookie moves to many places and where she finally finds a home. The lessons she learned are many and we can all take something from what she shares. After losing my sister last year and the reasons behind her death the many emotions that Dookie relates I felt compounded by so much else that followed. Hearing her voice, her words and understanding how forgiving the man that caused her the grief allowed me to look long and hard at the person I feel caused what happened to my sister. This is a true story that should inspire everyone to know that life is precious and we are only here for a limited time. We need to cherish it. In her own words: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift which is why we call it the present.” Told in her own words and in her own voice, Natthanan Grove’s messages of forgiveness, understanding, loyalty, hope and love come through loud and clear. Thank you for sharing your story with me and with readers. Thank you for giving everyone this wonderful gift. Punching bags are for practicing your boxing and for blowing off steam. Learn what happens when one young girl decides to fight back and regain her strength and her life.
Fran Lewis: reviewer
and at 5ft 10in her fragility is startling. She folds herself into a chair, crossing her tiny ankles and playing with the bracelets that hang off her little wrists. She accepts the offer of tea, but when a doorbell-signals its arrival (we are talking in a suite at Parkes Hotel in Knightsbridge), she leaps with fright. And yet there is something very centered about her.
Just over a year ago, her English boyfriend Charlie Green, 21, died before her eyes in a car crash in the Piccadilly underpass. The damage to the car was compared, in its severity, to that of the Princess of Wales' vehicle.
Having hit a lamppost, then a BMW, then a Mercedes, the Mitsubishi Evolution VIII in which Dookie and Charlie were travelling ended up upside down. Dookie, hanging from her seatbelt in the back seat, watched Charlie die as she reached for him and screamed his name. The driver, Ivan Mazour, who was very drunk and stoned, and had accelerated to almost 90mph as the car entered the tunnel, was unconscious. In November he was sentenced to six years for causing death by dangerous driving, a charge that relied on Dookie's testimony as the only living witness.
'I forgive him,' she says quietly. 'If Charlie was alive he would forgive the driver but he may not have forgiven himself for being alive. I have managed to forgive myself but it was hard. I used to hate Ivan but when I saw him at the trial I couldn't hate him any more. I really do forgive him because I don't want to feel “