Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver  - Maggie Stiefvater

I've said it before, but I'll explain again. I have terrible trouble sleeping. Insomnia. I just lay there, listening to my little dog snoring softly watching all these sparks swirl and leap around my mind. Ideas, endless worries, crazy thoughts, imagined scenarios all buzzing and jostling about in that tiny area that houses my brain. It's like when I turn the lights out and lay down, my own lights behind my eyes fizz to life and beam blindingly bright. I can't switch off. It doesn't help that for some reason my mattress has begun to cave down towards the centre on the earth ....


I was having one such night, where I was lying there imagining what it would take for me to become an astronaut when I thought screw this! I'm not gonna lie here wasting all this precious time. I'll do something constructive. So at 2am I put on my trainers and went for a run. Our city is pretty cool at night because you can head up onto the bridge, look back and enjoy about a million lights cascading down the hill and tumbling to be reflected in the flat, black water below.

There's a huge sculpture in the city centre that looks like a mistake during the day, but at night, lit up looks awesome. It basically looks like three giant light sabres sticking up out of the concrete, reaching towards the black velvet asky, throwing their colour at the sea gulls that wheel and cry above, turning them into exotic birds of purple and turquoise and bright pink. It's pretty neat.


So after my run I got home and showered and met my (then) flat mate just coming home from yet another drunken night out. She told me how a bouncer had escorted her home, how she had gone to the wrong apartment, how she had insisted the guys upstairs let her in so she could look around, how she then proceeded to critique their taste in interior design, laughing raucously all the while. How she then went on to invite them to our apartment for a dinner party the following week. I said uh huh, nodding and laughing politely in all the correct places, mentally writing myself a note to cancel the dinner party and discuss the dangers of excessive drinking with my now ex-flat mate.


I sank into bed at around 4am. I shut my eyes. Sleep did not come. Nothing was ever going to work I feared. If going for an intense-ish run and then enjoying a nice hot shower wasn't going to work, what was?


Well, I discovered what was going to work ....


The following night I gave up on the idea of exercise, I put away the valerian root tea, I forgot about the Nytol, I did not play soothing meditation music, I didn't bother to shut off my computer an hour before bedtime. I gave up, quite frankly. I got into bed and decided insomnia would give me the perfect opportunity to get in several undisturbed hours of reading time. So I opened Shiver .....


The next thing I knew it was morning. I had had no problem falling asleep for the first time in as long as I can remember. I didn't even hear the flat mate from hell stumbling in following another night of cocktails, smashing cups in the kitchen (which she later blamed on my poor cat) apparently laughing manically (I was told) and falling her full length in the hallway somehow managing to rip a light switch off the wall in the process (?!) - I slept through the whole debacle.


So in conclusion, if you have any trouble sleeping, even if it's a deep rooted problem on many years and you have tried all other options simply read Shiver and hey presto! You're cured. I partly think it was a self preservation response from my brain's point of view, in other words it would rather I blacked out than be subjected to another mind numbingly boring, vomit inducingly sappy, drawn out sentence of Shiver. Fine by me brain!


I'm keeping a copy permanently beside the bed now. I'm hoping to gradually train my brain so understand that the consequence for not switching off when asked is another bout of wading through Grace and Sam's rank instalove. I'm confident that my problems are now over.