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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem
It's long been a bit of a mystery to me why Lucy Wadham isn't a more celebrated or recognised writer. Certainly I found her last full-length novel 'Greater Love' stunningly evocative and powerful - more so than anything Ian McEwan or Sebastian Faulks have managed in their last couple of books.

For those who have yet to discover her, this lovely (and beautifully...
Published 16 months ago by Freddie Baveystock

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Celebration of growing up and not about the Circle Line
Like the other reviewers, I think Lucy Wadham is a good writer. What the book isn't is a direct celebration of London's Underground transport system which the series of titles was produced to commemorate.
Published 10 months ago by Allen Tsui


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem, 19 Mar 2013
By 
Freddie Baveystock (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heads and Straights: The Circle Line (Penguin Underground Lines) (Paperback)
It's long been a bit of a mystery to me why Lucy Wadham isn't a more celebrated or recognised writer. Certainly I found her last full-length novel 'Greater Love' stunningly evocative and powerful - more so than anything Ian McEwan or Sebastian Faulks have managed in their last couple of books.

For those who have yet to discover her, this lovely (and beautifully produced) short book is a great place to start. It's less of a meditation upon the Circle Line or Tube than a deeply personal account of growing up in 70s Chelsea. I never lived in that part of the world but it was a place of pilgrimage (by Tube) for me and my mates: it was where you went to discover what was new, what was fashionable, what was 'going down' amidst the Head trendsetters of London. Wadham doesn't say it outright but for the young Londoner looking to grow wings and escape the clutches of a Straight home - in her case, a fabulously colourful but not entirely nurturing milieu - the Tube was nothing less than a lifeline.

Reading this, I found the atmosphere of that time vividly re-evoked. She is very good at capturing the questing spirit of youth, the arrogance that it needs to redefine the world on its terms, and the sadness that comes with understanding all this only when it's too late to do anything with such insight. A little gem of a book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're all heads on this bus, 9 Mar 2013
This review is from: Heads and Straights: The Circle Line (Penguin Underground Lines) (Paperback)
In Wadham's London of the late 70s, early 80s, the world was up for grabs. Anything vaguely "establishment" was worthy of a kick in the teeth. But, as Wadham so deftly shows, even in the maelstrom of change where her family withstands the strains of drugs, sex and Thatcher, the kids still need tending to. The freewheeling family in this book manages to both go appropriately crazy in those crazy times while they also keep a watchful eye on each other. I love this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A window into a different era, 12 May 2013
This review is from: Heads and Straights: The Circle Line (Penguin Underground Lines) (Paperback)
I am a 90s baby; I was born in 1992, but this account of a group of young girls growing up on the kings road had themes with which i could draw comparisons to my own life. A fascinating read.

Also, you can read it in a few hours which is refreshing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real 'Made in Chelsea', 26 Mar 2013
This review is from: Heads and Straights: The Circle Line (Penguin Underground Lines) (Paperback)
A gem of a book -- I was so sorry to finish reading it -- I wanted to know more about the family and about the narrator (so much so that now I am getting all her books). The narrator has a very appealing voice -- she is honest, intelligent, witty, incisive and warm in her account of her family; she's an intelligent, sympathetic insider at a very exciting time in 70's Chelsea, where it all was happening. Unmissable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So familiar, 12 Mar 2013
This review is from: Heads and Straights: The Circle Line (Penguin Underground Lines) (Paperback)
Lucy Wadham's story describes a turbulent, exciting time. I recognize the way she organizes the world in Heads and Straights. Like Wadham, I too experienced the 70's through a youthful, voyeuristic perspective. The older members of the family were more actively engaged with what was happening in the world. Wadham shares the story of loving her family and speaks of the craziness with equanimity. Her story is compelling and leaves me wanting to know more about the beautiful albeit fragile characters.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mind the gap!, 27 Nov 2013
Although this volume represents the Circle Line in the recent Penguin series commemorating the London Underground it scarcely rates a mention. In fact, I can't recall any specific reference to "the Circle Line" throughout . At one stage near the end of the book we learn that Lucy regularly travelled from Gloucester Road to King's Cross, and there are regular references to Sloane Square, but that is about as far as it goes. That omission, however, does not detract from the attraction of the book which tells of Lucy Wadham's experience growing up during the late 1970s in an affluent background in Chelsea, just around the corner from the Kings Road.

While the family was affluent, it was not without its problems, and one of the rime focuses of the book is the reckless and relentless experimenting with drugs of her elder sisters, culminating in Florence (always known as "Fly) becoming addicted to heroin. We are introduced to Eileen, Lucy's maternal grandmother, who had an amazing story which included knowing Virginia Woolf, running a commercial stable, living in Kenya, marrying three times and then taking a Bosnian toy-boy for the last thirty years of her life.

One does feel for Wadham's parents, having their house overrun by their Bohemian daughters' friends and submerged under the scent of their copious drug abuse, though they seem not to have been too bothered, and the overall picture is one of a chaotic but supportive group.

I found it enchanting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful page turner, 21 Oct 2013
By 
Amynta Cardwell (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heads and Straights: The Circle Line (Penguin Underground Lines) (Paperback)
This book took me to forgotten places much love. laughter and outrageous behaviour. Its a good life. Thank you Lucy
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3.0 out of 5 stars Celebration of growing up and not about the Circle Line, 17 Sep 2013
This review is from: Heads and Straights: The Circle Line (Penguin Underground Lines) (Paperback)
Like the other reviewers, I think Lucy Wadham is a good writer. What the book isn't is a direct celebration of London's Underground transport system which the series of titles was produced to commemorate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More Metropolitan than Circle, but none the worse for that, 24 May 2013
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This review is from: Heads and Straights: The Circle Line (Penguin Underground Lines) (Paperback)
A lovely little book that follows the author's family tree; I read it at one sitting, in a Costa in Staines, and the excursion to 1970s Chelsea was very welcome. Heavy on anecdotes which made me want to read them aloud to friends, and plenty of characters who are indeed characters, but no plot to speak of, other than the unrolling of time. Less like the Circle Line than the Metropolitan in the way it wanders around the place. Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this, 23 April 2013
This review is from: Heads and Straights: The Circle Line (Penguin Underground Lines) (Paperback)
An absolutly lovely book that gives you a very real slice of London in the 70's.
A family acting out the social changes of that period, written from the perspective of a fasinated observer and then participent.
This is a must for anyone growing up during this period.
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