Review: Collage This Journal - A Dreamer's Notebook

review: Collage this Journal – Eleanor Shakespeare

As I am often asking friends if they will review my book, I figured it would be worthwhile to see what it felt like to wear someone elses’ shoes. Someone suggested I try ‘Blogging for Books’ and this is the first book I received from them.

My first book is called

‘Collage This Journal’ by Eleanor Shakespeare (upcoming, 2016).

The author is an illustrator from London, who uses ‘Photomontage Imagery’… a style predominant in this book. It is her second title, one of two upcoming books and this seems to be her chosen style of presentation.

This is the authors' website, with a detailed portfolio of the page spreads.

I chose the title because I might like to explore scrapbooking at some point in my life, and the concept seemed interesting – having a dedicated space for bits of memorabilia as life seems to fly by so fast.

I often find semi-destroyed travel treasures in the pockets of jackets as they tumble out of the dryer or scraps of notes on hotel notepads from our vacation three years ago! My daughter is a little magpie in some ways, she will be the first to save a transit stub from our travels because she had a great trip with daddy that day, a strange broken shell because it was a cute color when it was wet, or the paper-napkin origami frog created while waiting for her lunch someplace where the food was fabulous. She is also a budding writer, and I find half paragraphs all over the place, of stories she thinks she needs to pen down before she forgets!

In many ways, I wondered who would like the book more – my daughter or I. And as I should have anticipated, I won’t get to lay a finger on it myself, because it was claimed immediately by my daughter! We both decided to review the books and here is what we thought.

The book is laid out like a build-your-own-scrapbook with a quick section of suggestions on how to build it. It contains 52 spreads, to help you create a ‘visual diary’. Each ‘spread’ of two facing pages includes prompts about how to fill it.

For instance, one page say ‘Who or what makes your heart sing’?

I believe that the book is for those who need a structured space for keeping ideas, or need prompts to jog their imagination. For dreamers and seekers. My 12-year-old, who is quite keen on record keeping, and has a very imaginative mind - finds it a fascinating way to prompt her, to fill her time and give a little structure to all her thoughts and ideas running wild. I would not recommend it to a person who may be inclined towards or have a desire for deliberate and dedicated space for creative expression. For instance, as one who has designed a few books, I find the imagery on the page distracting, where there is no ‘visual relief’ on the page, to the point where I feel it is better empty than filled.

We agreed that

  • it is a great concept, and although there are many similar ones on the market, this one provides an alternate style.

  • it has limited appeal – because of the intense stylistic weight of the book – the font choices, imagery and page-layouts, which is true of any book really.

  • some younger adults may like it, as a ‘couples’ memory maker, for those early years of courtship and marriage when everything is simple, sweet and exciting.

I have a feeling that the book has limited appeal for middle-aged people who might be trying to declutter their lives. My daughter thinks it would be great for young adults and older teens who are still building their hopes and dreams and might just need a structured space to put those ideas in.

We disagreed on just a couple of things – I did not care for the font or the vintage photographs; she did not mind either of those two. From a practical perspective, I also wish the binding was a little different, perhaps a ring-bound book? I cannot imagine having all those pages filled, and it being remain stable, but I won’t know until it is filled.

Who should buy it

The book has its own charm and appeal, mixing Victorian artwork with Dada, Neo-Expressionism and Conceptual Art spread out in its pages. I would recommend that you leaf through it before you decide it is your style. Of-course, if you like what you see, pre-order it for all your gift baskets.

I know a few introspective teenage girls, more mature than their numeric age and they would love this book. It would be a great keepsake filled with great memories for a retirement party. We agreed it also would make a great graduation gift for someone finishing high-school, an engagement gift, or when someone is beginning a new venture or a new job.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. As you can tell, the review remains unbiased, regardless of the promotion.


Nandita Godbole

Once a botanist & landscape architect.

Now a personal chef & author, an artist, graphic designer, blogger & poet. 


Loves freshly brewed chai, the crisp salty ocean breeze, watching monsoon rains & walking barefoot through cold mountain streams. 


Believes in the strength, positivity of the human spirit. Is spiritual but not a fanatic. 


Mom of one. Two, if she counts her husband.

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