Home' Christchurch Mail : January 10th 2013 Contents 9
CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, JANUARY 10, 2013
War reporting takes
toll on journalist
COLONEL GADDAFI'S HAT
By Alex Crawford
Reviewed by Michael Field
REPORTING the news is often
about getting the pictures out
live, despite the risks. Considered
thought and careful preparation
doesn't count for much.
This was plainly the case in last
year's overthrow of Libyan leader
Muammar Gaddafi, which dragged
out over months as the
rebels first gained the
upper hand, lost it and
Britain's Sky News
journalist Alex Craw-
ford is the best of the
who, with a small
team, charge fear-
lessly beyond the line
celebrated for her
reporting from the besieged city
of Zawiya and the best known of
her generation of people fronting
television. British columnist India
Knight said Crawford ''has gigantic
balls made of titanium''.
Colonel Gaddafi's Hat could read
a little like the bar-talk reporters
are inaccurately renowned for, but
its best part is Crawford's honest
recounting of the impact traumatic
stress had on her.
''I keep seeing flashbacks of the
injured people in Zawiya, in par-
ticular one man who had his brain
blown away, but was still alive and
muttering," she writes. ''I can't
get this man's face out of my head.
The sight of him being carried
into the mosque by his friends, his
skull with a big hole in it, his brain
spilling out, keeps popping into my
own mind even while I'm awake
''It's not a ghostly apparition, just
a niggling constant which I keep
trying to push away. But it never
She explodes with anger at
the suggestion her reporting
might win a top award: ''That
feels offensive and trivial.''
The anger she feels she does
not recognise: ''It's raging
the first few days, abso-
"It subsides a little
over about a week but it's
still there, simmering,
waiting to froth up at the
slightest excuse of
weeks to come.''
It takes her some
weeks to recog-
her that in trau-
she would have excreted
more of the bonding
-- the same one that
comes during sex.
But hormones secreted
at times of danger are
known to affect
returns to Libya
to witness Gad-
books you don't want to miss
THE BOY WHO FELL TO EARTH
by Kathy Lette Bantam
Random House, $37.99
Reviewed by Anna Broadmore
MERLIN is autistic and
this book, inspired by Kathy
Lette's own experiences, is a
light-hearted take on the challenges of
raising an autistic child.
Merlin causes havoc in his
mother Lucy's life, not least when
she's trying to woo a new man af-
ter her husband has disappeared.
Just as the romance is heating up,
Merlin can be relied upon to pro-
duce such rippers as: "Your breath
smells so much nicer now. When
you're in bed in the morning, it
smells like poo."
remarks, and the frustra-
tions caused for both Merlin
and his mother by the absence
of any social filter, reveal the tender
relationship between them.
However, while the occasional gem of wit
shines through, Lette indulges in inces-
sant riposte and overstatement which,
on the whole, miss the mark. It tries
a little too hard to be hysterical
and when the attempts fall
short, the story ends up in no
I'M NOT FAT, I'M PREGNANT!
By Jaquie Brown
Random House, $45
Reviewed by Miriyana Alexander
THIS is one of the most explosive celebrity tell-alls
of the year.
In her new book, journalist, actress, author and
all-round funny woman Jaquie Brown opens up
about sex, her dramatic weight gain and her bat-
tles with vomiting and pooing.
There's even revelations about an attempt to
drag her off to the loony bin.
Ah yes, Brown's ultimate guide to pregnancy has
it all. Although I mightn't have felt that way had a
little one not been about to join our household too.
Brown is the proud mum of one-year-old Leo
and began researching
this book before she got
So there's plenty of
advice about getting in
shape to do that.
But two things elevated
this above the abundance
of pregnancy literature
for me -- the practical
advice from mums, dads
and experts on every-
thing from breastfeeding
to coping with a newborn,
and Brown's hilarious,
and harrowing, pregnancy
Extreme morning sickness saw her vomit right
to the end of her pregnancy, after a 40-hour labour
she nearly needed a caesarean, and when her
"precious pup" finally arrived he was spirited off to
NICU because he wasn't breathing.
Now, a year on, it's clear Brown wouldn't change
"Even though my morning sickness was
hideous, my labour was long, I've cleaned up ex-
ploding poo from clothes, walls and carpets and
now get to see the sunrise every day whether I
like it or not . . . having Leo has been the most
wonderful, fulfilling, heart-exploding-with-
love experience of my life."
I really hope she's right.
By Robin Cook,
Reviewed by Diana Morrow
ROBIN Cook, a doctor and a
prolific author, is a master of the
Often credited with having
invented that sub-genre, he
has, for more than two decades,
churned out over 30 books, many
with catchy one-word titles such
as Seizure, Shock, Vector, Ter-
minal, Cure and, most famously,
Contagion. Invariably carefully
researched, these works offer accu-
rate, accessible information about
Less positively, they introduce
the reader to the impact of medical
Death Benefit focuses on the
creation of replacement organs
using stem cells.
ing, this is a positive
But the baddies on Wall Street
want to make a killing by secu-
ritising the life insurance policies
of the old and sick.
The goodies (two young medi-
cal students at Columbia) are too
one-dimensional and earnestly
worthy to be of any real interest.
The plot is also
marred by an
Another medical breakthrough?
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