Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The sex life of my aunt!

My mother will be looking around her feverishly - who is she writing about now?

The British Council here is really very thin on readable books that I have not read before. Luckily I have plans for my spare time next year so I won't have finished the BC books by March.

The book of the above title is written by someone called Mavis Cheek. Do you believe that that is a real name? I don't think so either. The author in her picture looks too young to be a Mavis, in any case - I don't think there are many Mavis' under the age of 60?

So the book is about a lady who, after a very poor and miserable childhood, marries a City lawyer and moves smartly up in the world. Small reality check here - how many down trodden working class girls these days are knowledgeably selling art in art galleries in London by the time they are 19? As our heroine points out, this was in the 1960s, the only period in Britain when social mobility existed (as she says). She ends up with a very happy marriage, a fabulous house, two wonderful boys, a husband who gets a conscience and goes from city law to criminal law...and then of course she falls for someone else (who strangely not only knows her husband, but would probably also get on very well with him)...

The book describes her agonising over decision-making, her observing herself on what she is doing to her husband - but it is also very funny, and down-to-earth. Sometimes she looks back at her childhood in horror, at other times she reverts to the childhood personality - particularly in relation to her older sister. It is a light read, with occasional moments of political discussion, particularly about Mrs Thatcher and Mr Blair, and has a short excursion into art history (since our ex-downtrodden working class girl after her marriage goes in for writing art reviews, organising exhibitions etc - all apparently without any training).

I would not go and spend money on the book, and I would not quite say that the author can be compared to Mary Wesley as someone has suggested (Wesley has a slightly more biting humour), but for times of weakness (sick in (a hospital) bed) it or other books by the author might be quite pleasant. It is a very quick read, though; you don't get that many hours of reading out of it (not a Duracell book).