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Idyllic Post War Life?
on 17 June 2015
Like many people I was first introduced to the Larkin family through the TV drama with the brilliant David Jason, it was one of those programs I remember from my childhood and I never realised that it was taken from a group of novels. We follow the trials and tribulations of the ever increasing family as they go about their day to day lives. Anyone familiar with the ITV adaptation will already know most of the story, very little has been changed from the original text. The only major difference is the overt sexuality present within the novels pages, in particular with the Larkin’s eldest daughter Mariette, who is not so sweet and innocent as I seem remember.....
Like most books written in the same period the novel portrays a post war idyllic life, where days can be filled with strawberry picking, eating, meadow walks and more eating. The Larkin world is changed when a good natured, slightly drippy tax inspector calls upon them to query the lack of tax returns, he soon falls for Mariette and encouraged by Ma and Pa spends an ever increasing amount of time at the farm, slowly changing his whole outlook on the world outside his office.
There are two ways of viewing this book and each will influence your outlook on the Larkin brood. On one hand we have the jolly local farmer, someone that can always be relied upon, a steadfast member of the community that although a little rough around the edges manages to charm even his most prudish neighbours. A bit of a rogue that isn’t afraid to bend the rules but all’s well that ends well. On the other hand we have a man who is tax avoider, possibly a bit of a sex pest and generally without much of a conscience (especially if it means his family are kept happy). But whatever your opinion, there is something in the book for nearly everyone.
I have only given 3 stars because there were a few things that really got on my nerves. The way ‘Pa’ speaks in dialect really grates on me. The odd ‘Perfic’ is fine, but I have always hated reading books that have characters speaking in this way. It just annoys me. The other reason was the constant reference to food, and what they were going eat, what they had eaten previously, what they would like to eat and currently eating. Sometimes it read like a cookery book. There just wasn't enough additional storyline to keep me wanting to turn the page, which was a shame.
So did I enjoy the book? I suppose in parts I did, but not enough that I would really be able to recommend it. This is the first book in a series and I am unsure if I will ever bother to seek out the rest. Having said that, there is a small part of me that wants to know what else the Larkin family may have in store for them.... so you never know.