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Anita!: The Woman Who Shaped My Childhood

by MemoryHunter


Nestled in the corner of our small but homely elementary library, a hard-bound book with the green letters “ANITA!” sat, overshadowed by other bigger and thicker novels. I was just a rookie in reading back then, and always cherry-picked books based on their covers, contrary to the popular saying. However, I did not once regret the day when ten-year-old me held that little biography in her hands. I never knew it would be the start of my obsession with a store called The Body Shop.

The book commences with an introduction of the life of the woman who started it all. Jules Older, the author, described Anita Roddick’s quirkiness and elasticity with such humor and simplicity that the young me began to adore reading. It was not a long book, though – what with only 48 pages, big font and illustrations here and there. Yet, I was completely entranced, and wondered where else could words teleport me next.

It was magical. It was not like most people’s first ventures into reading, where they are usually welcomed into the world of fiction – probably fantasy, romance or somewhere in between. Anita!: The Woman Behind the Body Shop was non-fiction. When I found out, something inexplicable pulled inside me. What I had read – from Anita’s encounter with the Queen, to her decision to paint her store a remarkable green – was real. That sudden realization was what triggered the positivity in me: no matter how dull and stagnant my childhood years seemed, I hoped and knew it would be as amazing as Anita’s.

The evolution of The Body Shop as told in the story was inspiring in itself. One word was etched in every short narrative – perseverance. I was not a business-minded person like Anita, and I could not, for the life in me, imagine building an international company from scratch. Of course, I was not that old back then to think of such responsibilities, but after all these years, I still think Anita was one of the bravest, strongest women in the world. I was lucky to have been able to read about her story. For the young girl I once was, she was my role model. She still is.

As much as I cherished the origins of this particular cosmetics store, the physical shop itself was and is a mystery to me. The closest I have ever been near one was standing in the storefront, staring in admiration at the big, bold name resting on its façade. I remember my mother calling my name, and the world of Anita Roddick disappearing behind me. I admit, I was not totally addicted with the store itself, rather, I was infatuated with the story and the way it appealed to people like me back then – young girls in need of inspiration.

I could go on and on about this biography and how much it meant to me growing up, but no words could ever do justice. Even now, as a teenager with her feet almost near college, I still think about the book that changed my world.

Though some of the anecdotes seemed unusual, I learned from this biography that life is just like The Body Shop. It starts out small, as if nothing extraordinary or spectacular could ever happen, but as the years go by, you might end up surprising yourself.  


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Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:19 am
alliyah wrote a review...



Based on your review, I'd like to read this biography. It's a nice tribute to a book that made such an impact on you.

I think this essay is a fabulous length, and gives a vibrant description of what you read. I especially liked this part, "One word was etched in every short narrative – perseverance" that's such a lovely way to describe a person, and gives a lot of context to what you're saying even for those who haven't read the book.

I have a couple suggestions:

First I'd love an actual example of how you've used Anita or been reminded of her in your actual life. To show the concrete impact that she's made. You give a lot of general ways she's affected you from how you see the world, to how you see the power of story, but not a lot of specifics. That's something you could delve into a bit more.

A quick cosmetic suggestion, is that you use hyphens and colons in about the same way, and you should pick one or the other and stick with it (except in words that are naturally separated by dashes). It's similar to why you wouldn't use both (parenthesis) and [brackets] in the same piece of prose for the same purposes.

Lastly, I'd love to read a few excerpts or quotes from the actual book to get a better sense of the writing since that seemed to be part of what appealed to you.

Overall, this was an enjoyable, upbeat, and vibrant piece especially for an essay. You are clearly very passionate about this book, and make the reader curious to know more about it as well. It seems like you've had a chance to have a lot of reflection on the subject, and I hope the book, and Anita, continues to serve you well.

~alliyah

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Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:09 am
FlamingPhoenix wrote a review...



Hi @Shikora here to leave a review.

First I loved reading this. I managed to get the way a child thinks onto the page. I like how you ended it to. Very interesting. If you turned this into a long story I think it would be very interesting.

Now for the review. In the beginning of the story I think you could add a bit more. Like when the little girl walked into the library. What does it look like to her. And when she's reading the book, how does it feel in her hands. Does the paper feel smooth under her fingers. And is the pages stained because they are so old.

Now when she is a teenager, you should write her thinking about what she is going to do with her life, you no with the book being her remodel. It would make it very interesting.

There are a few things you need to know when your writing a story. Smell, sound, sight and feel. Always keep these things in mind when writing. It will make it a a lot better. And after a wile you wont even have to think about those few things because they will just come all by them selves. You wont even have to think about it.

And that is all from me. I really like reviewing this work. I also loved reading it. I hope you have a great day, and i hope to see more works from you.

your friend @Shikora. Happy review day.





Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.
— Charles Mingus