Wednesday 21 March 2007

Bertie, May & Mrs Fish

This book joined my "Want to Read" list quite a while back but I never got round to moving it to the top of my "Must Read" list. Then Gill, our neighbour, brought it round having just finished it herself. It looked like a quick read so I thought I could fit it in this month.

I was not disappointed. It took my a while to get used to the style of writing. She uses "......." more than I do (which is a lot!) She uses it to run through dialogue but only one person's side of the dialogue. It's odd and at first I found it annoying. But then I got used to it and found it remarkable that the author could remember as much conversation as she apparently has. There is certainly an air of authenticity. I wasn't moved to tears by the last chapter as some reviewers had suggested.

It is a memoir of the Xandra Bingley's childhood in the Cotswold country of England. Don't expect Angela's Ashes. It was not a deprived childhood, ie there was no threat of starvation or physical abuse. It was a raucous life in the country with horses being born and little girls falling into thistles and sheep breaking out of the fence. Her parent's were eccentric to say the least in a way that only the English have mastered.

The book is fascinating, quick to read, and thoroughly enjoyable. Although I imagine if you don't enjoy the country life, you might find it incredibly dull. If, however, you yearn for the simpler life, you will enjoy a few moments taken to enjoy this simple tale!

PS This is a VERY English book. I would hazard a guess that most of my American friends (who have never lived in England) could attempt this book but would be unquestionably baffled by the vocabulary! Proof that these two countries most certainly do NOT speak the same language!


Janell said...

i got the same idea about language when I tried to read Ullyses by James Joyce - all the words were English, but they were so 'out of order' I never did finish it. I only started it because it was #1 on two lists of the best books of the 20th Century. I did, however, greatly enjoy "Angela's Ashes" and its sequel "'Tis".

LaDawn said...

Angela's Ashes made me soooooo sad. This is a happier kind of book.