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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very funny
This is clever humour at its best. The book details the escapades of the Royal Family when they are moved into council estates following a republican victory in the general election. Sue Townsend's humourous style, as seen in Adrian Mole, is retained and this book achieves the almost unachievable in actually being more funny than Mole. The novel does give an insight into...
Published on 18 Feb. 2004 by christophergb

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far too many errors in Kindle version
Bought this recently and reread it for first time since it was published in the 90s. Was as funny as I remembered, but was very disappointed by the sheer number of errors in the text of the Kindle version. It's not just the odd typo, which I understand when it's a free classic that's been put together by volunteers. This is priced similar to a printed book, but has chunks...
Published on 4 Jun. 2012 by tortoise


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far too many errors in Kindle version, 4 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: The Queen and I (Kindle Edition)
Bought this recently and reread it for first time since it was published in the 90s. Was as funny as I remembered, but was very disappointed by the sheer number of errors in the text of the Kindle version. It's not just the odd typo, which I understand when it's a free classic that's been put together by volunteers. This is priced similar to a printed book, but has chunks of text in the wrong place, as well as numerous grammatical and spelling errors. Such a shame, because it's a good book. Just a publisher/Kindle being very lazy and cynical - don't believe this would have been passed for publication if it was in print.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very funny, 18 Feb. 2004
This review is from: The Queen and I (Paperback)
This is clever humour at its best. The book details the escapades of the Royal Family when they are moved into council estates following a republican victory in the general election. Sue Townsend's humourous style, as seen in Adrian Mole, is retained and this book achieves the almost unachievable in actually being more funny than Mole. The novel does give an insight into the problems of the British welfare system, but this does not prevent it from being hilarious. Everyone really MUST read this book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, 31 May 2004
This review is from: The Queen and I (Paperback)
The queen and her family are taken from Buckingham palace and placed in a housing estate by the new republican party. I haven't got a bad word to say about this book, yes the characters date the book slightly but due to fictional way they are described you can easily get past this.
The story is wonderfully written and the characters are enjoyable and realistic. The royal families individual reactions to their new situation are realistic and charming, their descriptions play on the publics perceptions of the royal family perfectly.
But the real heroes are the welcoming locals who are proud of where they come from and what they have worked for.
Each chapter is so readable pages pass with out your noticing until the end arrives leaving you wanting more! Wonderful!!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of bad OCR scanning, 1 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Queen and I (Kindle Edition)
I love Sue Townsend and I'm sure this book would have been great - had I been able to read it. Unfortunately the Kindle version contained so many scanning errors as to render it unreadable; entire chunks of text missing, paragraphs in the wrong order, just ludicrous. Returned for a refund; I'll search out the paperback in a charity shop.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Royal Plant Pots, 26 Aug. 2013
By 
T. T. Rogers - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Queen and I (Paperback)
Sue Townsend is perhaps better-known for the Adrian Mole Diaries series, which explores Middle England teenage angst. In 'The Queen and I', Townsend looks at a different section of society - the plight of the ordinary poor. The People's Republican Party wins the 1992 general election and immediately proceeds to abolish the British Monarchy and implement a range of extravagant left-wing campaign promises. In what appears to be a surfeit of spite, the senior members of the Royal Family are cast into humiliating poverty, forced to live on a council estate and claim benefits. In the process, both they and the ordinary families around them interact with each other and also with various 'middle-class'-type people, including the police, a social worker and bureaucrats at the local benefits office. This novel shows very well the perceptions that different class groups in society have of each other and how this subtly affects day-to-day experiences, though the apparent comedic nature of the novel means that these experiences are presented in an exaggerated way. From 'dishing it out', the Royal Family now have to 'suffer' the life of ordinary people 'on the receiving end'. Looked at from a jaundiced angle, this book is not really about the Royal Family or the British Monarchy at all. They merely serve as a metaphor for the ups and downs of 'the rest of us', especially those of us who suffer a dramatic fall in fortunes. It is self-evident that people look at the world differently depending on their economic position in society, but this story also reflects the contempt felt by the poor for those 'above' them.

The controlling force in society is presented as the middle-class - the professionals who mess with people's lives, and the populist politicians responsible for the 'revolution'. This is a naive perspective politically - indeed, the whole basis of the story is outlandish. Revolutions do happen 'from the middle', but they are not true revolutions. The basic power structures in society remain - be it the French Revolutions, the American Revolution, and so on - but I think the author understands this. Notably, it is never suggested that the People's Republican Party Prime Minister, Jack Barker, should also be required to live among ordinary people. Instead, he is chauffeured around and allowed to live the life to which he has become accustomed, which I think is a subtle and clever touch. I also liked the ending. It's a topic that has become a subject of mild controversy among readers and reviewers, but for me the ending chosen by Townsend for this story leaves a sense of ambiguity, which for me is appealing in any story because it lets the reader's imagination go on own journey beyond the book itself.

What is also interesting is the way that Townsend shows us how the distinct personal qualities of each Royal play out in the 'real world'. So we have the Stoic qualities of the Queen herself, the eccentricity and opinionated rebelliousness of Charles, the shallow vulnerability of Diana, and so on. Much of the story is taken up with how these qualities lead the characters into strife. Perhaps if the author had explored that theme a little more, in a serious or genuinely satiric way, that would have made for a stronger plot and opened up an opportunity for the characters to develop. For instance, Charles might have become emotionally much closer to the Queen. As it is, this doesn't really happen. There is some character development, but it's limited and it's framed within a very crude and farcical attitude of poking fun at royalty and ordinary people respectively on the basis of superficial class issues. There is also the sense of the author is asking us to laugh at those who suffer a dramatic decline in economic fortune, as if there is some vague notion of 'justice' in it. I just didn't find it funny. In the author's head, the Royal Family are not so much three-dimensional human beings, but a bunch of plant pots who can't grasp basic domestic duties, without considerable trouble, and who suffer from crushing social ineptitude. I get the impression that, by extension, that is what the author thinks of a certain type of successful person, whether Royal or not. That's not to say the book is hostile, either to the Royal Family or the British Monarchy, nor any group in society. Nor does it paint the various characters in an entirely bad light, but the general theme is how the Royal Family should be brought down a peg or two to see what 'real life' is like, which is not - to my mind - a sympathetic agenda. Is it funny? The author seems to think so and she goes to great efforts to convince us too - and judging by the reviews, lots of readers do find it funny, or pretend they do. I have a pretty broad sense of humour - and I am not a supporter of monarchy - but try as I might, I was left cold by this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, 29 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: The Queen and I (Paperback)
I read this book some years ago and loved it, second time around it was even better although thought provokiing as Diana is no longer with us
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lighthearted read, a caricature, 25 Oct. 2010
By 
Tanya Humphrey (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Queen and I (Paperback)
As you'd expect from a book by Sue Townsend, "The Queen and I" is funny. It is a lighthearted read which makes a serious point. The pampered existence of the royal family is thrown into sharp relief when they are suddenly stripped of all their trappings and dumped in the middle of the worst council estate in Britain, Hell Close. The trick works both ways. In lining the two different life styles up side by side, Townsend also highlights the hand to mouth existence of the poor. Job done.

But that's as far as it goes. The novel never really progresses beyond caricature. The various royal hangers on adapt to life in Hell Close pretty much as we might expect, given their public personas. It is the Queen alone who is given a fully rounded personality. Townsend treats her sympathetically and she is allowed to keep her dignity. There is even a suggestion that she (along with most of her family) are as much a victim of circumstance as everyone else and would relish an everyday existence.

I enjoyed the novel. In fact, it would be difficult not to enjoy it. It doesn't take itself seriously; it has fun. Anyone expecting something deeper and more profound may well be disappointed.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dude...Where's My *Ending*?, 18 Jan. 2009
By 
William H. Morgan (London, England.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Queen and I (Paperback)
Many of the good things said about this book by other reviewers are true - it is funny (although the jokes are often repetitive), well-observed, and compassionate, and Townsend shows skill and dexterity in exploring some aspects of the disenfranchised Royals' relationships with each other and with 'The common people' which had not previously occurred.
She also demonstrates finesse in making many of the other inhabitants of 'Hell Close', the Royal Family's new neighbours, interesting and often likeable characters rather than the collection of stereotypes they initially appear to be.
I found the book entertaining, and was moderately keen to get back to it each time my reading was interrupted, in order to find out what happened next.
So what's my problem?
The ending.
I'd have quite liked one.
Yes, given the events of the book, it's difficult to see how Townsend *could* have brought things to a conclusion - but that shouldn't have excused her from trying.
Instead she writes herself into a corner and has to resort to one of the oldest authorial cliches known to bring the book to a close.
A really serious disappointment, after so much literary foreplay, to be left completely without a climax.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY THE KINDLE VERSION OF THIS - BUY THE BOOK INSTEAD, 1 Oct. 2010
By 
This review is from: The Queen and I (Kindle Edition)
I would like to start by saying that this is one of my all time favourite books of all time...its brilliant! It's an excellent read all round. The story has laughs a-plenty and will certainly squeeze the odd tear from your eye and all in all its an interesting topic handled really well. It's one of those books that is "easy" to read, we're not talking high brow stuff with lots of complicated words so a certain amount of distraction and wandering mind won't hinder your reading (good for the beach or such).

Now, the bad bit. I recently got my Kindle and decided that rather than start a new book I would read one of my old favourites. I was concerned that the "novelty" of the new reading medium would distract me from any new story I might read and so opted for The Queen and I...easy to read and I know it virtually word for word. THE KINDLE VERSION IS APPAULING. There are spelling mistakes, typos, grammatical errors and at various points in the book passages have been moved out of place (if I hadn't read it before I wouldn't have had a clue what was going on). I'm not talking about the odd mistake mind, we're talking every other page here....its disgusting and I was really concerned that this was the standard for all Kindle books (I've read two more now and this isn't the case at all, with the exception of one misplaced comma the other two books were error free).

I probably wouldn't feel so aggrieved if it wasn't for the fact that the Kindle version is practically the same price as the book. If a traditional book was published with this degree of errors in it a proof reader somewhere would be hung out to dry and the book would be recalled so why does the publisher think its acceptable to publish an e-book in this state? Outrageous!

Buy the book, read it, enjoy it and then read it again...don't bother with the Kindle version!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh ? I almost peed my pants, 3 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
This book has to be the most funniest that I have come across in a long time. Not my normal type of bedtime read but the book was unputdownable ! The authors view of how the royal family would behave once booted out of the palace was so believable that god help them should that day ever arrive.
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The Queen and I
The Queen and I by Sue Townsend (Paperback - 10 May 2012)
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