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Notes to my Mother-in-Law [Hardcover]

Phyllida Law
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Oct 2009

‘My mother-in-law Annie lived with us for 17 years and was picture-book perfect.’

It took a while before the family realised that Annie was increasingly (as she would put it) 'Mutt and Jeff'. So Phyllida began to write out the day's gossip at the kitchen table, putting her notes by Annie's bed before going to hers. One night as heer husband wandered off to bed he muttering darkly that she spent so much time each evening writing to Annie she could have written a book. 'And illustrated it!' Here it is.

It is a book full of the delights of a warm and loving household. Of Boot the Cat being sick after over-indulging in spiders; the hunt for cleaning products from the dawn of time; persistently and mysteriously malfunctioning hearing aids; an unusual and potentially hilarious use for a clove of garlic; and the sad disappearance of coconut logs from the local sweetshop.

It's about the special place at the heart of a home held by a woman born in another age. Who polished the brass when it was 'looking red at her'. Who still bore a scar on her hands from being hit by her employer when, as a young woman, she was in service. Who could turn the heel of a sock and the collar of a shirt, and make rock-cakes, bread pudding and breast of lamb with barley.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 119 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; 1st edition (1 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007338414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007338412
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 271,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Phyllida Law has appeared in numerous plays, television series and films, including Peter's Friends, Much Ado about Nothing, Foyle's War and Kingdom. She was married to Eric Thompson, the writer and narrator of the English version of The Magic Roundabout, until his death in 1982. She has two daughters, Emma and Sophie. 'Notes to my Mother-in-Law was her first book'.

Product Description

Review

‘ I just sat down and read it straight through and cried. Dreadfully funny anod incredibly touching.’ Joanna Lumley

‘Moving, funny, enchanting. A beautiful, original portrayal of family life.’ Sheila Hancock

‘Something quite splendid, new and unforgettable.’ Stephen Fry

‘Wonderful, warm, witty and wise. Just like the author.’ Ben Elton

'The book is as extraordinary as the woman who wrote it. The correspondence started with the odd note on the kitchen table reminding Granny Annie of a doctor's appointment or that there was ham in the fridge, but built into more. 'What happened was that she was getting increasingly deaf, and one day I realised that although she was sitting through all the shrieking of family lunch, she couldn't actually hear any of it. So, I started to write her summaries at the end of the day and leave them by her bed. It became quite therapeutic. I used to scribble for hours.' The result is quite extraordinary. On one level, it's a humorous work about hearing aids and incontinent dogs. On another, it's an uplifting story of family love and duty, and generational conflict.' Daily Mail

'One of the most pleasurably giddy reads I've had for ages, it's laugh-out-loud funny as well as deeply poignant' Scotsman

Review

"I thought the book was blissful. Hearing only one side of the conversation between her and Gran makes it as compulsive as eavesdropping on a train, and fifty times funnier. She has an unerring ear for detail, which makes the small ridiculous chaos that families inhabit jewel-bright and touching. I think it's better than a diary; this glimpse of family life will be familiar and inspiring to those caring for the elderly, and a reminder to us all that kindness and humour are the best companions in the world."

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect gift? 2 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover
In a world where It's A Wonderful Life represents the 'perfect' Christmas, this remarkable book combines whimsy, wit and charm in equal measure. For everyone who admires their elders as wiser, madder and possessing an admirable eccentricity, this book is a wonderful journey through relationships and reminiscence.

With the lightest of touches, this is a beautiful book that will resonate with anyone with a heart made of anything more malleable than tungsten. There is not a better gift for us 'old people' - eg around about 40 and above!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best read of the year 10 Nov 2009
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I treated myself to this book last week, after having read a glowing review in one of the broadsheets. I'm really glad I did. It was worth every penny. I loved it, every last little bit of it. It was funny, sad, touching and delicious. I've just finished it, and I'm torn between reading it again and sending it to everyone I know.

Law has a wonderful eye for the absurd and a knack of telling the most fascinatingly funny anecdotes that literally had me crying with laughter. It truly is the best thing I've read all year. A total treasure.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Same Thing Has Happened To Me 12 Nov 2009
Format:Hardcover
Excellent book to pick up for short reads and then come back to time and time again. If you have elderly parents/parents in law you will be get an instant mental picture of the same things happening to you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 5 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I cannot recommend this enough. It is an absolute delight. I have been buying it for friends. It is gentle and laugh out loud funny. What a lovely woman she must have been and what a fabulous daughter-in-law to write with such love and affection. Loive it! Love it!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely gift 21 Nov 2009
Format:Hardcover
This is an ideal gift. Easy reading, very touching in places yet also entertaining and funny. I can relate to the sentiments.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Book 15 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Not as good as expected, after seeing her promote the book on the Alan Titchmarsh show, I thought this was going to be a howler, but it wasnt, such a shame
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 12 July 2014
By jczc
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
good book and funny in places
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good laugh 6 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Funny from start to finish. A good laugh.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars another good read
phyllida law great writer and storyteller, a laugh out loud book quirks we see in ourselves as old age creeps on
Published 13 days ago by carol ann thornton
5.0 out of 5 stars Book's
Very good. very fun to read had to keep picking it up good book . Very move'ing as well .
Published 19 days ago by Pamwilliams
5.0 out of 5 stars good rea
Very good book a very funny read I would recomend this book I realy enjoyed it great to have a laugh
Published 24 days ago by Cindy
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
This is what it says in the Title a whole load of notes for her mother-in-law who was going deaf. The odd one is amusing but I got bored before I was half way through. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Golden Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!!
very funny you can imagine yourself in that situation with your offspring, sometimes sad, but also very tender. excellent read
Published 1 month ago by margaret williams
1.0 out of 5 stars don't bother
Just a selection of old ramblings... i may be missing the point but it did not make much sense to me
Published 1 month ago by DLA
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous
Extremely well written, felt I was a fly on the wall watching it all happening, highly recommend this book, feel good factor .
Published 1 month ago by rosie gittings
5.0 out of 5 stars Notes to my Mother-in-law
A great read from a lovely lady. I laughed and cried. Can't wait to get more of her books from her.
Published 1 month ago by Jean Whetton
3.0 out of 5 stars A tribute to Seniors
The book was ok. too short, not enough chapters and a bit disappointing in content., but appealing to the family. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Biddy Park
5.0 out of 5 stars charming
This is a really easy to read, lovely insight into their relationship. Made me giggle and feel sad but I loved it.
Published 6 months ago by lucy nile
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