#Bookreview – This is Lockdown by M.J. Mallon

What Amazon says

“A Piece of Living History!”

This anthology and compilation is for everyone, wherever you live in the world. We are all experiencing the impact of COVID19 and lockdown. As writers, bloggers and creatives we express our thoughts and opinions in writing: in heartfelt poetry, pieces on isolation and the impact of COVID19 and the ‘new normal.’ There are twenty eight talented contributors, including the creative NHS Mask Making Fundraising Team of Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago Val. The contributors come from as far afield as Australia, Canada, USA and Zimbabwe, or closer to my current home in England – in Ireland, Scotland and Italy.

It is as Willow Willers, a contributor said, ‘A piece of living history.’

This extraordinary and unexpected time period will be shared with future generations one day.

Compiling and editing this anthology has given me a purpose over the period of Lockdown and for that I am grateful.

It is an anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, poetry and flash fiction set during extraordinary times. This Is Lockdown is written from many perspectives, including a writer’s perspective highlighting the day-to-day life and struggles experienced during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse into the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I discuss the handling of the pandemic and my opinion about what might happen next. In the final part of the book I share my latest short story: a YA romance set post lockdown along with poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.

Goodreads Quotes:

“When people look back on the events of 2020, books like this will assume a great importance. They will remind us of all the little things that we took for granted and were suddenly gone.”

“MJ Mallon begins this heartening book with a stunning foreword to mark the times that are sure to become part of a testament of our times in history on the 2020 global pandemic Covid19 that has rocked our collective world.”

“I was fortunate to have an opportunity to read an early copy of this book and was delighted to see the author putting this collection out into the world. A highly recommended read that I imagine readers of the future looking to”’

“’It’s a privilege to be a small part of this book as one of the ‘isolation writers.’ It feels like contributing to a little piece of history for the future. Fascinating to read all the thoughts and musings and feel that none of us were ever really alone.”

The full list of contributors: Richard Dee, (Sci Fi , Steampunk, Amateur Detective author,) Catherine Fearns, (Amazon Bestselling Author of Police Procedural/Mysteries and Music Journalist,) Lynn Fraser, (Author,) Jackie Carreira, (Writer, musician, designer and aspiring philosopher,) Willow Willers, (Poet and Writer,) Sharon Marchisello, (Murder Mystery, Financial non-fiction author,) Fi Phillips ,(Author, Copy Editor,) Jeannie Wycherley, (Dark stories, Suspense, Horror,) Chantelle Atkins, (Urban Fiction, Teen/YA,) Tracie Barton-Barrett, (Speaker/Author,) Peter Taylor-Gooby, (Crime, Love Stories, Political Fiction,) Ritu Bhathal, (Chick Lit, Romance, Poet,) Alice May , (Author, Artist and Speaker,) Miriam Owen, (Blogger, Doctoral Researcher,) Drew Neary and Ceri Williams (Ghost Horror, Supernatural,) Katherine Mezzacappa, (Historical Fiction/Romance,) Sally Cronin, (Huge supporter of indie community/Blogger/Author) D G Kaye, (Memoirist/NonFiction,) Adele Marie Park, (Fantasy, Horror, Urban fantasy,) Marian Wood, (Blogger, Poet and Writer.) Samantha Murdoch, (Writer, Blogger,) Beaton Mabaso (Blogger, African storyteller,) Frank Prem (Poet, Author) Anne Goodwin (Author, Book Blogger) Sherri Matthews (Writer, Photographer, Blogger,) Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val – Community Masks for The NHS.

My review

I reviewed this book in my capacity as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team. If you would like your book reviewed, you can contact Rosie Amber here: http://rosieamber.wordpress.com/.

This is lockdown is an unusual collection of diary entries, discussions, poems, and a few short stories written by a variety of people from different countries and backgrounds and recording their experiences and emotions during the 2020 lockdown.

The book is divided into three sections: Family Diaries of the author MJ Mallon, No More which contains poems and pieces from a number of different contributors, and Part 2 which comprises of short stories by MJ Mallon.

The Family Diaries is just what is says, a collection of diary entries from 28 February 2020 to 1 June 2020, setting out the author’s emotions and experiences during the first three months of lockdown. The author was in lockdown with your two daughters and her husband and her entries extend to cover some of their feelings and reactions to being confined to home for an extended period. I enjoyed the family’s attempts to stay cheerful and to make the most of their time through exercising, walking, and reading. Simple joys like cooking and finding a new statuette on a walk are highlights of this period, as is the pervasive underlying anxiety about the illness and the future. The author has also recorded some of the politics of the time and how the actions of leadership impacted on the psychology of the nation.

The contributions from other authors were equally interesting as the contributors were from all over the world. Some of the contributors are known to me through my blog and I really sympathized with their circumstances and anxieties. Some were new to me, but their stories were no less interesting. I found the contribution by Beaton Mabaso from Zimbabwe of particular interest as I live in neighbouring South Africa. Beaton’s experiences and anxieties about food supply, medical treatment, the ability to social distance in crowded communities and a government with limited ability to financial aid its citizens are similar to the circumstances of the vast majority of people in my country. The different impact of the lockdown and pandemic on developed countries where people fight the psychological battle of loneliness and fear, and developing countries were people face poverty and physical deprivation were highlighted for me. There are also beautiful poetic contributions from Sally Cronin, Debby Gies, and Frank Prem. Willow Withers wrote a powerful and overarching poem about the impact of “the plague” on society and the economy of Britain.

Part 2 set out some excellent short stories by MJ Mallon, my favourite of which was The Poet’s Club Fictional Short Story. This story illustrated the diverse impact of coronavirus and lockdown on teenagers and how it impacts on their socializing, learning, and ability to cope. If found this story to be insightful and realistic.

This is Lockdown is and excellent and well-rounded depiction of lockdown and the pandemic of 2020.

Purchase This is Lockdown

This Is Lockdown: COVID19 Diaries Flash Fiction Poetry

Amazon US

Amazon UK

63 thoughts on “#Bookreview – This is Lockdown by M.J. Mallon

  1. Sounds like a fabulous book and, as you reveal, a part of our living history. I know quite a few of the contributors which adds to the appeal. Thanks for letting me know about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Robbie, a fantastic and detailed review of a book of our time! I am impressed with Marje’s work in contacting everyone and it is great how they have all embraced the concept. The global aspect of the book is particularly fascinating and yes, here in the UK many have referred to the time as a ‘plague’! The personal family life during lockdowns is something many can identify with and find reassurance that all separate we are never alone. One to read … but I might need a bit of distance for this one. We are still far too deep in it all.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I feel the same way, Annika. I haven’t been able to read any pandemic books as we’re still in the midst of it. Where my mind is going as I read reviews of pandemic-inspired writing is to the special topics literature courses that I expect will be developed once the pandemic is over. Books such as This Is Lockdown will provide the perspective of immediacy of the first lockdown.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you Liz, yes I can understand. I hope I’ve done what I can with potential triggers, given that we are living through such unprecedented times, I’ve marked some of the flash fiction pieces towards the end of the book with trigger warnings, mindful of that. But there also so many uplifting aspects of the book and a great sense of community.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, Liz in some ways I wish I’d kept writing my diaries, so many current affairs alongside have happened. And the subsequent lockdowms and rising death rates have been so sad and difficult to take. At the end of February I’m releasing a short book of poems, Lockdown Innit. It’s mainly a lighthearted collection of things I’ve seen, or experienced during Lockdown. Other than that, I doubt I’ll be writing other pandemic works at the moment as I must finish my second YA fantasy which has been waiting patiently!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Annika thanks so much for your thoughtful interest. I hope you do give it a go at some time. I do understand why you might hesitate as it is all so raw and ongoing at the moment. I tried to make the tone light as much as I could but of course there are some writing pieces that touch upon the pain of this time. These are written with sensitivity and awareness. Take care, Marje x

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Pete. I’m glad I compiled this anthology. It helped me cope with the initial stages of covid and I’m sure many others felt connected by being involved. It was a big project and an international one too with bloggers and writers from different countries. A lot of work but good to do.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi Pete, I think it will be. I’ve read two books about lockdown in the UK (Mary Smith’s and this one) and they are both very insightful and interesting for me. I am glad people are recording history. The British have always done this through diaries and letters which is why we know so much about wars and historical events.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Books such as this one are helpful for today as we navigate through this challenging time. Understanding the thoughts that others have, help us understand our own feelings. It also can be a source of information in the future when people are curious about this time to gain a historical perspective.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Pete, the British are very good at recording history through diaries, poems, and letters. These are the reason we know so much today about certain historical events. I’m glad to see the trend being continued for this lockdown and pandemic period.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have been fairly okay in that respect. Must be just awful if you are living alone. Have my hubby and my daughters have been here a fair amount but haven’t seen my parents or brother for seven months. I miss them terribly. And no restaurants open at the moment.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Many businesses are already feeling the economic impact – many have already gone bust even before this particular lockdown. Even old and fairly profitable ones. So, it is alarming to say the least. I believe the furlough is extended until April 2021 but there are various criteria in order to get furlough. Length of service is one such criteria. I was furloughed for several months and am now on roughly half time working which I can manage but for someone else that might have been a financial nightmare. I’m coming to the end of my working life – I hope to take early retirement later this year to write full time. Many must be struggling terribly both financially and emotionally, especially is less wealthy countries.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for the feedback, Marje. It seemed that this must be the case, but you don’t hear much about the economic impact. The headlines seem devoted to the hospital situations and the vaccine rollout. I suppose these are very important, but it is worrying to consider the economic fallout especially for someone like me who is seeing the impact locally. I’m not sure what will be left at the end of it all.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review, Robbie. It sounds like an excellent book that manages to combine personal views and different and diverse perspectives. To tell you the truth, there is far too much about the pandemic everywhere, and although I’m interested in how it is experienced in different places, I don’t feel up to reading about it now. These are strange times and everybody is sharing everything (or seems to be), so it’s truly difficult to know how all this will be recorded and seen in the future. Unfortunately, it’s not over yet. Let’s hope we can talk about the end of the crisis soon.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I was talking about it with an author who’d mentioned the pandemic in a fictional book written just after the first lockdown but set a few years in the future, and how difficult it is to imagine if people will think it was much ado about nothing (of course, not people directly affected by it) or it will leave more of a scar in the collective memory. Judging by how some people behave, it’s difficult to know. Thanks, Robbie and Marje.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The direct impact on people’s health is one issue, Olga, but the financial impact of all of this is still only in the beginning stages. It will take many years for the world to recover and there are hard times ahead.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s