Sunday 5 October 2008

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

I read this quickly during a recent attack of insomnia and rather than put me to sleep (like some of my other recent literary pursuits) I was captivated and couldn't put the thing down.

The premise is that the Queen (Elizabeth, the one that lives in that big castle I can see from my bedroom window) wonders into a mobile library parked outside Buckingham Palace whilst chasing down her beloved dogs who seem to have done a runner. She is driven (out of duty one would suppose) to borrow a book, as one does when one goes to a library. It appears that the author believes that the Queen has never read a book in her life.

She is quickly transfixed and transformed by the extraordinary journey that reading takes one on.

I cannot even begin to give the ending away. It is well and truly a shocker. I found myself giggling through the entire book and thought it was incredibly clever. I've never read The History Boys also by Alan Bennett particularly after watching the wreck of a film. I might just have to give it a go after the magic of this wee little story.

NOTE: It is truly wee, only 121 pages of large print. Shouldn't take more than an hour or 2.

No comments: