Rising literary star Abigail Tarttelin launched her second novel Golden Boy in London last week. It’s one of those books that you’ll just want to stay up all night and read.
It’s a coming of age story about Max Walker – the Golden Boy, the perfect son, the best friend. The girls at school like him and he’s so nice to his little brother but Max has a secret and is betrayed in the worst possible way by his best friend. Max was born with forty-six XX chromosomes and forty-six XY chromosomes, which makes him intersex. He was brought up as boy, had hormone treatments, plays football – he looks like any other boy. His family is nurturing and loving but they don’t really talk about Max being intersex, it’s Archie, his physician who tries to guide him. Max is like any other teenager, he falls in love, he thinks about his future and wants to be accepted.
The story is told through the first person narrative giving us all the characters’ point of view and their experiences. I was more invested in all the characters because of this insight, I felt like I was on an emotional journey. This is one of those books that’s going to gain its own momentum by friends recommending to friends. It’s a story that needs to be told and discussed plus it reads like a film.
I attended Abigail’s book launch in London celebrating with cake and champagne at Drink, Shop and Do. Abigail’s publisher said after she read just the first two pages of Golden Boy she knew the book was special (I was hooked after reading the first few pages as well). I met Abigail a few years ago as she is the Books Editor at Phoenix magazine. So during this past year I’ve been really excited hearing little bits about Golden Boy and just wanting to read it. Abigail is one of those people that I just love chatting with for hours over a glass of wine. She’s intelligent, thoughtful and fun, and above all she’s interested in everything around her and how it’s all connected. At sixteen Abigail trained with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and the New York Film Academy. She wrote her debut novel, Flick, published in the UK in 2011, which was acclaimed as a ‘cult classic’ by GQ.
I love reading – it’s my only escape from fashion and I was particularly delighted to discover the Sunday Book Market on Goldsmith Row in East London. I love a good book – mainly chic lit. I’ve tried to read my iPad in bed but for some reason I tend to read on an angle and the iPad can never quite adjust to this.
I read every night before I fall asleep, sometimes it’s only for a few pages and sometimes I can’t put a book down and I’ll read all night. It’s usually a good cover and evocative title that captures my interest and makes me buy a book. Once I’ve read a book I give it away or drop it off at an Oxfam as I don’t tend to keep books. I like the idea that it just keeps getting passed on to someone else.
I’ve worked with make up artist Lan Nguyen for several years and we’ve done lots of shows and editorials together. It’s great to work with people that you know and trust. When you work with people you know you don’t become complacent or lazy – you actually work harder! Lan used lots of colour and I styled the shoot focusing on lots of texture. I’ll post the images once the shoot comes out in September.
I didn’t grow up drinking any kind of pop and I don’t recall when I finally did – it must have a been at a birthday party. However, I was very happy when Coca-Cola introduced diet vanilla and cherry coke. I’ve always been partial to Coca-Cola commercials – they are so happy and sometimes I just want to live in one of their commercials.
The appeal to me might not be so much the actual drink but the marketing – the lifestyle of the brand. For some reason if you’re out for dinner and you order a coke and the waiter brings you a glass bottle it just seems nice, more special. The taste or what’s on the inside is important but packaging really does count.
To celebrate 125 years of Coca-Cola Assouline has released a new book and an iPad app. You can even upload your own photo and be in one of their retro posters.
There are 1.6 billion servings of Coca-Cola sold every day
Regular Coca-Cola is still a bigger seller than Diet Coke and Coke Zero combined
In London there are so many quirky things. Streets where the numbers go up one way on one side of the street and then they continue down on the opposite side. Buildings or homes with no numbers often have just names which makes finding them a bit more difficult but it seems so much more welcoming for a house to have a name. It might be a bit of a challenge to navigate around London but it is a bit more interesting than most cities. My favourite thing is doors with unusual numbers – it just feels a bit more magical, like something special is behind the door. (it’s all a bit Harry Potter with platform 13 at Paddington Station).