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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What happened when Hetty ran away, 15 May 2009
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What Hetty Did: Life and Letters (Paperback)
This is a charming and completely unclassifiable book. Hetty finds out she is adopted after a serious row with the man she always thought was her father. She runs away from her home in the depth of the Fens to Birmingham with the intention of making a new life for herself, finding her biological mother and perhaps getting into Cambridge University.

Hetty is no ordinary schoolgirl and she is more than capable of building a new life for herself. She keeps in touch with one of her teachers and with her long time friend, Polly, also known as Mariana and soon finds out she has done extremely well in her A levels. In the meantime she has made her temporary home with Rose who rents out rooms to a cast of eccentric characters. Hetty helps with housework and cooking instead of paying rent and looks for her real mother and some temporary work.

The writing is slightly old fashioned in its phrasing at times but the characters and situations are clever and amusing with some marvellous one liners. It is amazing that a man in his 70s could write so convincingly from the point of view of an 18 year old schoolgirl but J L Carr pulled it off. In my opinion this book deserves to be better known and it can be read by both adults and children alike.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not J L Carrs best, 21 Sep 2011
By 
A. Roberts "aenr" (northeast england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What Hetty Did: Life and Letters (Paperback)
All J L Carrs books are highly recommended by me , but if you are new to this author buy 'The Harpole report' or 'A season in Sinji' first and leave this one to last.
J L Carr was an author who received some recognition when he was alive, when he was shortlisted for the Booker prize for a book about uncovering a church mural in Yorkshire. He should be an author who will be read for the next 100 years as I do not think his style will date ( Somerset Maugham for example).
Overall J L Carr's books give enjoyable but disappointingly rather short reads that leave a lasting memory.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Short, unclassifiable, but very enjoyable, 24 Aug 2013
This review is from: What Hetty Did: Life and Letters (Paperback)
I first read this book when it was published in 1988. At the time I, like the heroine, was a bookish 18 year old girl in the east of England. I still find it hard to believe that a 70 year old man could write so completely convincingly from this perspective, but he undoubtedly manages the task.
Leaving this aside, Hetty is a charming heroine, and I imagine that booklovers of all ages will empathise with her and enjoy her story.
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What Hetty Did: Life and Letters
What Hetty Did: Life and Letters by J. L. Carr (Paperback - Nov 1988)
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