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Onwards and Upwards [Paperback]

Arabella Weir
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 April 2000
This is the story of three women - Albertine (Bert), Vicky and Tess - and their unusual, enduring and often hilarious friendship. From the tank-topped 70s to the caring, sharing 90s, they manage to maintain their special bond in the face of a hectic, ever-changing, bewildering world.

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (29 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140277021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140277029
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 861,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

September 1970. Albertine does not want to start her first day at the North London Girls' College wearing a uniform that "wasn't just second-hand but advertised this shameful fact by being bobbled all the way down the front." However, at "eleven years old Albertine was resigned to the fact that her mum didn't put her first, had never put her first and what's more didn't see why being her mother meant that she should."

And then, on her first day at school, she meets Tess--who re-christens her new friend Bert--and Vicky. They form an instant gang, and remain inseperable for the next seven years, while Bert turns herself into the naughtiest girl in the school, Tess battles with laughter-induced incontinence and watches loads of old movies and Vicky becomes an elegant, beautiful, good student. In the meantime Bert's mum decides to do some voluntary work at the school--which finishes after she's discovered being even naughtier than her daughter with the school's (male) music teacher and a grand piano. And the girls grow up, giggling, being rude to teachers, discovering sex, passing and failing exams, falling "Officially In Love", not necessarily in that order, and then leaving school and trying to work out what they want to do with their lives.

By the time they hit 40, each of them has somehow--more through luck than judgement--moulded an individual not-quite-conventional life that suits them. But still the patterns, squabbles and intensity of their mutual bond have endured. A fun and sympathetic portrayal of the ups and downs, ins and outs of female friendship by the author of Does My Bum Look Big In This?. --Lisa Gee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Down-to-earth, funny and easy to relate to! 1 July 2000
By A Customer
I tried this book after feeling rather disappointed with the previous best-seller 'Does my Bum look big in this?". This book seems to be have been written by a different author! The characters Bert, Tess and Vicky were girls you could relate to - from the time they met at secondary school to their dread of the big 4-0! The language used in the book (often colourful!) and the way the girls relate to each other took me back to teenage friendships and the hardships of growing up - and I often laughed out laugh at their exploits. why 4 stars instead of 5? Well, I felt that the characters could have been developed more deeply, and that some areas (such as relationships with parents) were glossed over. But apart from that, a really entertaining read and I'll be looking out for the next book by Ms Weir!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to read again and again! 6 Jan 2003
I have just finished reading this book for the third time since i bought it when it first came out. Any women who reads it, whatever era they grew up in and whatever age, can relate to one of the three friends in some way.
The lives of Tess, Bert and Vicky are so captivating and mesmorising you are justing willing an praying for them all to be happy.
This book will have you laughing out loud and you will find yourself unable to put it down because you just want to know what will happen to the three life-long friends.
EXCELLENT!! A must read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Left me very uninspired! 20 Aug 2007
I'm sorry to say that I totally disagree with all the other reviewers. I could not wait to finish this book; so I could read something else!

I thought the characters lacked depth and the story did not have enough going on to hold my interest. I also thought the writing itself was quite poor; massive overuse of hyphens in-this-sort-of-style-every-other-page was really annoying! Also, I found that the author felt the need to explain and underline points that should have been very obvious from reading the preceeding paragraphs. I was very surprised to see that the book had such good reviews and a 5 star rating.

I can see what the autor tried to do and it seems like a great idea but, on paper, it just did not work for me. I see that I am in the minority here and I am glad that other people have enjoyed it- sorry ladies!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A long way from Best Ever 11 Oct 2010
I'm quite surprised by all the 5 star reviews. Are you all friends or family of the writer? or publisher?
It's not that it's unreadable, but it is a very mediocre little tale of friends growing up. The relationship between the three is pretty unbelievable, as are all the relationships and a lot of the dialogue. The language and style feels like a first attempt at creative writing and the humour was a little laboured. It was very easy and quick to read but how anybody could rate it as " a best book ever" or "in my top five of all times" is totally beyond me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a book! 17 April 2006
By sooz :)
This is one of those books that you can read forever. Onwards and upwards follows three friends growing up. It goes from school to adulthood and it follows what they do. It's such a great read with plenty of laugh out loud moments!

I've actually nicked quotes from out of this book and used them in real life such as 'Eat in the downstairs restaurant' which I had never head before till this book!

It's a reminder of just how fun friends are and if your an adult then just how much fun your younger days were! It's in my top 5 books, make it be in yours!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contemporary Fiction Rocks Again 7 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Being an English Literature Student, I find that my reading list can get very heavy, and so I turn to Contmpoarary Fiction to lighten my load, and this book is one of the best. Heartwarming, funny and true to life!! FAB!! Every bit as good as 'Does My Bum Look Big In This?'
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I have ever read 3 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This book was extremely good. I have not read Does My Bum Look Big In This but I would like to after reading this book! I am 16 and I really enjoyed reading this book. It was written in a way that everyone can relate to, whether young or old. Well done Ms Weir!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to remember 21 Nov 2002
By A Customer
I read this book when I was 13, 4 years later and two years of A-Level English Literature and I have yet to find a more satisfying and enjoyable novel! 'Onwards & Upwards' is my all-time favourite. Probably because it is such a wonderful reminder of the good (and bad) times that best friends share, that are sometimes forgotten over time apart. Arabella Weir has the outstanding ability to create a cocktail of humour, realism and emotion in all of her brilliant novels. I have nothing but praise for this woman. Definately read this book!!!
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