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This is Not About Me Hardcover – 1 Sep 2008

34 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (1 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847080618
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847080615
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 703,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Janice Galloway (b. 1955), author of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories and "anti-memoirs" is one of Scotland's best-loved writers. Twice listed as a New York Times Book of the Year, she has won, among other accolades, the American Academy of Arts and Letters EM Forster Award, Scottish Book of the Year 2012, The MIND/Alan Lane award. Her newest book, JELLYFISH, is a long-awaited collection of short stories about love, not-love, sex and raising children - and the sometimes dramatically unexpected fallout of each in everyday life.

Access her new website at www.janicegalloway.net.

Product Description

Review

'One of the most moving, yet completely unsentimental, accounts of growing up that you will ever read'
-- Scotsman

'The writing, like all of her writing, is pared down, chisel-perfect' -- Herald

`The memoir is a welcome addition to Galloway's varied and impressive body of work' -- Irish Times

`The year's best memoir' -- Scotsman

Review

'The writing, like all of her writing, is pared down, chisel-perfect'

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Colonel Mustard on 15 Jan. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This wonderful book has all the emotional and intellectual impact of Galloway's award-winning fiction. Somewhere between novel and traditional memoir, she breaks new ground in writing a brave, forceful, funny and searingly honest book that is a far removed from the so-called "misery memoir". "This is not about me" is exactly that - not about one person but about how we are all are made by those around us. She writes directly from the child's point of view, sharp and clear, in rainbow colours. The characters of her mother and unhappy sister, Cora, in particular are wonderful portraits, clear-eyed and without any trace of self-pity, judgement or rancour. Music, a love of words and learning, compassion for everyday life is here writ large. "A book unlike any other" wrote Lavinina Greenlaw in the Guardian - and that's exactly what it is.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By oldspottycat on 14 Jan. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was blown away by this book. `This is Not About Me' may be based on her own experiences of growing up in the 1950s and 60s in Saltcoats, but in its sharply drawn, vividly realised evocation of childhood, Janice Galloway transcends time and space. I found myself reliving my own experience of growing up, as sights, sounds and sensations long forgotten came flooding back.

`This is Not About Me' is dark, certainly; it is also full of the excitement and wonder of growing up, as well as the pain and confusion. As the child gradually begins to confront the reality of what is going on around her, and to develop her own separate identity, the book reaches an oddly exultant conclusion.

If you want to read a book which will draw you in from page 1, and which will remain with you long after you have finished it, go for this one. I ordered three copies for friends for Christmas and am about to order more to send to friends overseas.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Graham Watson on 10 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
'Magnificent' doesn't do justice to this book. That I inadvertently shouted 'No' out loud when the end came sooner than expected - due to six blank pages at the end - might give you a better idea of what to expect.

Janice Galloway's memoir of growing up in a rainy west-coast seaside town with a brusque mother and a glamorous, savage older sister does what all great books do: it makes you feel, hear and see something new to the neglect of everything else. As textures, smells and tastes are resurrected in dazzling, precise prose, you're soon forgetting the time, or missing your stop, as you are overwhelmed by the observations of this timid child overshadowed by capricious adults. Hers is not an easy story. The casual cruelties and pragmatic disregard of her family would have shattered someone with a lesser appetite for experience, so it's a testament to Janice Galloway's humanity that she renders them here without resorting to blame or reducing them to caricatures.

By the end we are cheering Janice on as she stands on the brink of adolescence, on the verge of the possibility of escape and with her staggering talent about to erupt from somewhere within her.

It deserves every literary award going.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Terrie Rintoul on 17 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
As a life story writing teacher I read a lot of biography and memoir but this one is definitely the best I have read for a long time. Yes it is sad in parts and Janice's sister Cora is terrifying but there are many moments of humour and examples of great stoicism. When I am teaching I do everything I can to get my students back into their child's skin and this book is a masterclass in just that. I have heard that this is the first volume of Janice Galloway's memoirs and I for one can't wait to read the next one.
My only criticsm has nothing to do with the writing. The hardback edition has a photograph of Janice squeezed in between Cora and her mother on a setee made for two. She opens the book with a detailed description of this photograph and it sets the tone for the rest of the story. Why then does the paperback version use a different picture of a little girl (presumably Janice) which is never referred to in the book? An idea from the publisher's marketing department perhaps. If so, not a very good one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Powell on 4 April 2010
Format: Paperback
We read this as one of our recent book club reads. We were all touched by this book in different ways which provoked great discussion and debate, just what you want from a book club recommendation. Many of us were keen to read the next installment of Janice Galloway's life story.
Janice Galloway's childhood experiences are moving, thought provoking and not always comfortable reading. She writes with tremendous skill, capturing a child's emotional landscape in an adult's language. Her words are evocative of the simple naivety of childhood as well as the confusion and fear of grown-ups and their misunderstood world. This is a beautifully written book, from the smallest details of a spider's web to the turmoil of sibling rivalry and mother love, every page is a pleasure to read. It eaves echoes in your mind to mull over and think about, what I call a proper good-read and not throw-away novel for a dull train ride.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a sucker for autobiographical books about childhood, because it is a time of such fluidity of response, and I am always captivated when a writer can distil the stuff of their own childhood, recount it as an adult, but still be able to hold the way the child saw the world.

I had never heard of Janice Galloway, so thanks, Amazon, for offering this as one of the Kindle deal reads.

Fascinating though it is to read childhood accounts of foreign lands and different times, there is something particularly interesting, to me, in those which have taken place around my own times, and in the UK. It can be shocking and salutary to read of how very different lives can be, yet in places close to home.

Galloway had a childhood which looked utterly bleak from the point of view of what life handed out - alcoholic father, poverty, drudgery, a school and home environment where ideas of nurturing, encouraging, celebrating the small developing person seem unbearably absent.

Yet, curiously, Galloway is not disconsolate, self-pitying, hate-filled or crushed. She writes with a generosity and even a celebration of her mother who was trapped by Janice's birth, and let her know that, and her aggressive, bullying, excitingly life filled sister.
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