'Throw Away Your Loincloth' by Michelle Jones

I haven’t really known how to start reviewing this book. I read it because I met the writer at an event at the bookshop where she’s the manager, Waterstone’s in Chichester (I refuse to delete the very necessary apostrophe), and we got talking (as you do - well, as I do, anyway). So she gave me a copy of the book and I promised to read and review it.

I’ve never been keen on the idea of reviewing a book having only skimmed it or, worse, not having looked at it at all beyond perhaps a cursory glance. It just isn’t my style and it certainly goes against what we stand for at Brighton Plot Bunnies: integrity and honesty are two things we take to heart. But mainly, I wanted to give Michelle an honest review instead of just giving it a quick read and bashing out a few words. I felt she deserved far better than that.

It took me a while before I actually sat down and read the book, and when I did, I had decided to start it while I was flat-sitting, and I was in the bath. After a while, I got out of the bath (a Lush ballistic in it, sheer bliss), took the book into the living room and made myself a cup of tea (rooibos, no caffeine late at night). And I carried on reading. And I carried on reading.

By the time I went to bed, it was about 3 a.m. and I had finished the book.

It isn’t often I read a whole book in one sitting, but the thing about Michelle’s story is that it’s so personal. She holds nothing back. This is her story, of how she overcame an accident, went through the horrific treatments for breast cancer, and asked her angels for help in all aspects of her life, even asking them to show her they were there - which they did. The book is funny and heartbreaking and, a bonus, local to me, as Michelle lives in Portsmouth, and the hospital where she went for treatment, the Royal Haslar in Gosport, conjured strong images in my head and a kind of melancholy, because it has since been closed down. After doing such stellar work for Michelle and other people like her, this is nothing less than a crime.

Michelle talks of spiritualism, personal spirituality, guardian angels (or spirit guides) and not being shy to ask these guides - or the universe - for help. Don’t be proud. Help will be there if you ask for it. The only issue I had is with the section on meditation. Having trained in kung fu since 2008, I know that meditation can be dangerous if it’s not done correctly, and most people are unaware of the dangers.

But aside from that little niggle, the book is a wonderful, funny, sad and truly inspiring piece of writing, about a truly inspiring lady. If you don’t want to hug Michelle Jones after reading Throw Away Your Loincloth, I’ll be surprised. Go read it.

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