Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars21
3.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 1 July 2010
I had to give up on reading this book. It was full of conjecture but all too often that is true of biographies, but what made it completely unreadable was the atrociously poor standard of English. It actually contained malapropisms! On every page there were passages which I can only describe as nonsense. Her father, as a young man, goes into a cafe where her mother, then a young girl, was waitressing. Her father noticed the the waitress is rather plain, and in the next sentence has proposed to her! It seems that the author made no attempt at all to think abuot what she was writing. It reads like a poor first draft. How on earth does such a poorly written book get published?

Don't waste your money, or your time, on this book.
0Comment|5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 August 2002
What attracted me to this book was the prospect of reading about the development of the A-Z map. Maybe I didn't read between the lines of the front cover properly. Anyway, I didn't really expect to spend quite so long reading about Mrs P's parents. It is not until page 204 that Mrs P decides to write the A-Z, and when it happens there is not enough detail. I admit that Mrs P's early life is interesting but I found the emphasis rather poorly balanced considering the book's main selling point. It is also written in a rather confusing manner. Has Sarah Hartley not heard of chronological order? While it moves froward in time in a general manner the narrative constantly flits backwards and forwards a few years, often leaving one confused as to what exactly has happened. Massive potential here in the subject but could have been executed better.
0Comment|19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 July 2009
Mrs P's Journey is the true story of how Mrs P, a courageous tenacious lady set about charting and mapping in detail geographical districts of London, giving birth to what we now know as A-Z maps.

The biographer based the material for this book on Mrs P's recorded reminiscences made in her later years. The result is a fascinating compulsive read. Starting with a graphic account of a quite privileged yet at times deprived background. The reader is left in no doubt that this could have been a great advantage but her relationship with her parents is portrayed as cold and distant. As a result she is left on her own at times in straightened circumstances to make her own way in the world.

Hence, her determination, tenacity and grit shine through. This is an amazing story achievement in spite of the odds. The way that Mrs P set about charting and recording focts for inclusion on the maps is a comment on the time. In the early 1920's map writers were exclusively male and no publishing house was prepared to even consider her work. Indeed, the section dealing with her attemps to be taken seriously as a map writer is striking.

If it had not been for the outbreak of the Second World War we may never have seen an A-Z map. Early on the War Office became aware that more detailed maps were required and Mrs P came into her own. From this date her work was valued and published. But, unfortunately due to enemy action some of the early maps quickly needed rewriting. Her research into a bomb-damaged Britain is in itself a fascinating glimpse of post-war London.

The final chapeters focus on the worldwide publication of A-Z maps and the fact that as Mrs P did not own the copyright; it was the publishing house not her that made a loft of money from the publications.

Overall this is a great book, which in my opinion could have had a better title. I close with the question 'who says that women cannot read maps'?
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 September 2008
This is an unusual book, in as much as the author seems more interested in writing an emotional story of a stressful childhood and eventual triumph rather than an biography. I agree with other reviewers - the chronology is confusing, and the accuracy of Phillis's autobiography on which it is based is questionable - her brother disputes some of the facts. We are told what her parents felt, although the author cannot possibly know. There is very little about the A-Z itself, and what role it played in in making London more accessible - it is intimated that all that was avilable before this were 1919 ordnance survey maps, but the illistration of the first A-Z cover states that it is larger than other similar street atlases. It is also difficult to know what Phillis's contribution was - we are told she walked the streets, and collected house numbers, but how did she deal with surveying all the new roads which had come into existance since 1919? This is a missed opportunity to cover an interesting subject.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 November 2010
Our book club chose this book because one of our number is a London bus fanatic and we thought he would find this account of mapping London streets particularly interesting. Unfortunately we realised when we read and discussed it that the book focused on a melodramatic fictionised account of Phylis Pearsall's life. We thought that the book was badly written - it is the author's first book and she was obviously learning her trade - as the line between fact and fiction was not clearly drawn so that there were accounts of conversations, thoughts and events that were obviously made up. The book badly needed a bibliography. However it gave our group the basis of a good discussion, looking particularly at life for women at that time. Not the best book we have read, but interesting nonetheless.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 June 2010
Didn't finish this, I found it tedious. Not a lot about how she did the A-Z, more about her weird family.Some stuff did not ring true so I thought half of it was made up.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 December 2001
Right from the beginning of this book I was absorbed into the chaos of Phyllis Pearsall's family. Both she and her father were inveterate liars and throughout the book the reader is invited to make choices between different versions of the same incidents. This contributes to a somewhat haphazard account, but at the same time emphasises the difficulties which this extraordinary family encountered and overcame. Alongside the family dramas and romances there runs an informative account of the history and development of cartography, and a real insight into society life as seen by people 'on the fringe'.We get to know Phyllis as a daughter, sister, friend, wife and business woman - but above all we get to know her as an artist.I found her singlemindedness, determination and philosophical acceptance of set-backs quite inspiring. A satisfying and amusing read.
0Comment|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 November 2007
This is an object lesson in how to make a potentially interesting subject very dull indeed. The author rambles with no thought for chronology and has created a very convoluted story. The only time that she ditches her somewhat florid prose is in the sections that deal with the technicalities of cartography. Leaving aside the argument of who actually invented the A-Z as we know it today, Phyllis Pearsall's background and story would make interesting reading in the hands of a different author.
0Comment|4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 March 2007
I don't often read biographies, precisely because I find the need to back every point up with dates, places and name dropping gets in the way of the characters. However, I thought this book was genuinely fascinating, because the subject was such an unusual woman. I really believed in the character Hartley described and with a life that had a real story, an arc you can trace, not just the series of cocktail party anecdotes that fill so many people's memoirs and biographies.

I would definitely recommend this.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 June 2005
This is an extraordinarily badly-written book, doing the subject no favours at all. There are countless factual and chronological errors (such as having a hospital full of war wounded men, two months before the war has begun). The life of 'Mrs P' is really not put into context at all, and we get very little idea of what she was actually like in her adult years. There is far too much about her parents and too little about the reception of the 'A-Z' and how it changed life in London.
What ought to have been a truly fascinating and revealing book is both irritating and disappointing
0Comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)