Customer Reviews


7 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not if it�s with me, dear���
"Freddie", a woman who is part institution and part legend, speaks the quote above; she is also the latest spectacular person that Ms. Fitzgerald offers to readers.

The quote is unremarkable until it is penned as an answer to an accountant named "Unwin", who stated, "Surely a discussion should have a basis of substantial fact." The...
Published on 30 Nov 2002 by taking a rest

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A talent hyped?
At Freddie's has some very funny things in it and is not conventional but this tale of a children's acting school promises more than it delivers, like The Bookshop.Some of the portraits of the child aspirant actors and the under-qualified teachers are sharp and fresh. But I feel Fitzgerald is being pushed by a literary establishment.
Published 6 months ago by G L Pike


Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not if it�s with me, dear���, 30 Nov 2002
By 
taking a rest - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: At Freddie's (Paperback)
"Freddie", a woman who is part institution and part legend, speaks the quote above; she is also the latest spectacular person that Ms. Fitzgerald offers to readers.

The quote is unremarkable until it is penned as an answer to an accountant named "Unwin", who stated, "Surely a discussion should have a basis of substantial fact." The rejoinder that is the title of this review follows, and you have a good sense that Freddie flaunts convention, floats above the rules that affect others, and when she is confronted with a bit of reality, ends the discussion with her nemesis feeling not only were they wrong, but they are indebted to her. A debt collector not only fails to collect, he leaves his vest for use as a costume for the students of Freddie's school for children of the theatre.

Precocious children are not new to Ms. Fitzgerald's books. In this book the line between child and adult is blurred even further, as these thespians in the making are adept at changing who they are when circumstances or their own whimsy requires. All the affectation that can be associated with their mature counterparts of the stage, are played out by the children, and this makes for wonderful reading, as age is modified by characterization, and not measured in years.

There are more eccentric players in this book than the others I have read by Ms. Fitzgerald, to sample just one, a gentleman when deciding on which of the sins he would choose, does not pick one with even some benefit in this life, but chooses sloth. His opinion of himself is in line with the wish, and a more pathetic character has rarely appeared in literature.

Into all this there is a love triangle of sorts, a grand piano that is sinking through the floor, "as though wading ashore", and a vast and rich story that Ms. Fitzgerald once again delivers on so few, but so spectacular pages.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story of the theatre and the people who inhabit it, 23 Jun 2011
By 
Katie Stevens "Ygraine" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: At Freddie's (Paperback)
Freddiefs is the name by which the theatre school officially known as the Temple Stage School is referred to by anyone in the know in the 1960s. Dilapidated and old fashioned, it is kept running by the machinations, scheming and sheer force of will of Freddie, the proprietress. However, but money is needed and times are changing and Freddie must choose either to change with them or remain true to what she knows.

Penelope Fitzgerald has a very light touch. In the hands of a different author this could have been a rather obvious, plot-driven novel in which the children of the school and the famous ex-pupils rally round to save the stage school, presided over by an aged and eccentric Freddie, but Fitzgerald transforms it into something far more subtle about the characters and about the theatre for which the plot is merely a vehicle.

She has an uncanny ability to pin characters down with a few phrases. I knew exactly what the gloomy Irish teacher was like from just the following description: "He had no ability to make himself seem better or other than he was. He could only be himself, and that not very successfully. Meeting Carroll for a second time, even in his green suit, one wouldnft recall having seen him before." Who hasnft wandered out of a job interview feeling like that at some point in their life? It is sharp observations and precise characterisations like this that make the book so enjoyable.

Equally as important as any character in the book is the presence of the theatre itself. Fitzgerald writes about this with wit and humour, and displays both a genuine affection for the stage as well as an awareness of the reality of the work which goes on behind that. At Freddiefs acknowledges the rise of film and television as the dominant form of entertainment and does so with a practical manner which does not excessively romanticise the idea of the stage, something which seems quite rare in theatre books. It displays an equal equanimity towards the disparity between true talent and fame and riches.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Odd little story, 12 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: At Freddie's (Kindle Edition)
She evokes atmosphere and odd characters well. Nothing much really happens, bit you are drawn into this odd world on the periphery of life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Subtlety, 28 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: At Freddie's (Kindle Edition)
AT FREDDIE'S is another example of the subtlety that made Penelope Fitzgerald one of the greatest writers in English of the twentieth century. Its evocation of the musty world of a children's acting school in the 1950s is masterly and, as ever with Fitzgerald, the picture is built up tangentially. The hopeless persistence of the characters is beautifully etched in and at the centre of the action (or inaction) is the brilliant creation of Freddie, the ageless owner of the school. An enormously rewarding read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 15 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: At Freddie's (Kindle Edition)
very well observed
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: At Freddie's (Paperback)
Terrific writer.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A talent hyped?, 19 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: At Freddie's (Paperback)
At Freddie's has some very funny things in it and is not conventional but this tale of a children's acting school promises more than it delivers, like The Bookshop.Some of the portraits of the child aspirant actors and the under-qualified teachers are sharp and fresh. But I feel Fitzgerald is being pushed by a literary establishment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

At Freddie's
At Freddie's by Penelope Fitzgerald (Paperback - 1989)
£7.19
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews