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4.6 out of 5 stars33
4.6 out of 5 stars
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This is great fun. You can enjoy the interchange (mostly by e-mail) between these two ladies in book, audio book of tv format. The availability of instant interaction via e-mail nowadays has up-dated and enlivened the potential for satirical humour. Irene Spencer and Vera Small are the figures of fun here, elderly ladies who share a love-hate relationship and whose lives are an unending series of crises, misunderstandings, confusion and catastrophe.

Almost every institution and ideal is satirized by authors Lou Wakefield and Carole Hayman. It seemed, as the series continued, that the gay relationship of Vera's son an his partner might be the only thing that surives amongst so much cheating, mayhem, violence and crime, but in the Sixth Series even this constant factor comes under threat.

The humour is carefully paced and the characterization well-crafted. Vera is the more gullible and Irene the more manipulative of the ladies. Prunella Scales and Patricia Routledge deliver all this in a wonderfully entertaining double act in the audio book form, and Anne Reid and Maureen Lipman feature in a tv adaptation.
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on 31 March 2010
It is the first in the series. Here we are introduced to the various characters that will entertain us through out all of the future series. I enjoyed some good belly laughs. This series is not just for ladies who may be of a certain age, ie retired. im only 33 and have really enjoyed all of the series. The Ladies saterise everything from aging to children and politics, very topical, very clever. The characters are hateful yet really likeable, recommended. looking forward to more.
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on 20 April 2014
This highly entertaining CD contains the correspondence between two mature ladies who met at a wedding. As each lady writes we hear her words spoken by the brilliant actresses Prunella Scales and Patricia Routledge, who give them a wealth of feeling and expression, and who clearly portray the differences between the two ladies' contrasting personalities. Irene, like thousands of women of her generation who grew up during the second World War, has had an adequate though uninspiring education. She is a widow, who has devoted her adult life to her husband and her daughter Lesley, having accepted the conventional view of much of her age group that this is a woman's role. Her husband left her comfortably off, with a small house of her own. Unfortunately, she has been completely unfulfilled by her years of domesticity, though she has never expressed this, largely because no one has ever been interested in her as a person. She has been viewed entirely in terms of her usefulness as a wife, mother, cook and housekeeper, who contributes to the occasional 'charity do' and helps to organise the catering at the golf club. Her opinions are the generally accepted ones she has grown up with, largely because, like so many others, she has been isolated by the restricted nature of her life style, and she has never learned to form an opinion of her own, let alone stand up for one. Her daughter Lesley now being married, Irene is at a loss, because she is no longer needed. Vera on the other hand is a cheerful, self-confident, outgoing person who speaks her own mind somewhat tactlessly and who has a playful sense of humour. She is apt to make well-meant flippant remarks which sometimes cause misunderstandings and hurt feelings. She makes friends more easily than the timid Irene does and certainly doesn’t intend to be stepped on. She too has a daughter and she also has a son. She seems to prefer the latter, as she and her daughter Karen obviously don't see eye to eye. Despite their differences in character, Irene and Vera strike up an immediate friendship which continues through a series of amusing (and fortunately improbable) events, and results in them both turning their backs on their previous lives. I highly recommend this CD. Listening to the two voices is a wonderful treat.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 28 September 2015
I saw this on television a while ago, and browsing the library shelves, couldn't resist reading it. It only took a couple of tram journeys to read, and made me smile throughout.

You can hear the voices of Irene and Vera quite clearly as you read, the two old ladies who meet at a wedding and decide to keep up a correspondence by letter. Sometimes polite, sometimes catty, always hilarious - recipes are swapped. Insults are swapped. We learn about their children, their health complaints, the problems of living alone.

And of course... it escalates into a farce of silliness that starts with a protest, and leads to the law...

Very wittily written, they are such good fun. I might seek out more episodes as they make quick reads that have you cackling in amusement (not good on a public tram!) and their friendship feels very true - women who care for each other but can't resist a little claw in the back on occasion.

And the case of minor characters is excellent as well - ungrateful children and other eccentric relations included.

You'll not regret giving this a try.
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on 18 May 2013
I am very grateful to my dear friend in England for sending me a copy of this as a surprise a while ago....since then have bought the rest of the series, so I think that speaks for itself.....
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on 8 January 2010
Gave this to an Aunt who is blind as part of her xmas she thoroughly enjoyed it. The cost of delivering " Talking books " is so expensive through the normal chanels but not only is there a good choice on Amazon , the delivery was free.
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on 29 November 2009
A great book, easy to read, funny but sad at the same time. A nice gentle read.
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on 3 February 2013
Wonderful CD which is worth listening to again and again - arrived speedily and is worth every penny, i will be ordering more
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on 14 January 2013
I am currently listening to this as I cycle on my exercise bike the time flies so for this it is good
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on 2 November 2009
It was hard to decide what to rate this book. The first half would get five stars, the second half would get 0.

The first half of the letters are wonderful. I laughed, I gasped, I read with horror when the ladies sniped at each other and fell out. I could almost believe they were real letters except for them writing things like "oh wait, the phone is ringing", as if you actually pause to write that before answering it! Apart from that the writing is excellent and I couldn't stop reading. But I wish I had.

At the turn of a page, the entire story becomes absolutely ridiculous and not even a little bit believable, which sapped all the fun out of it for me. At one point I wondered if the last page was going to be a note from a mental institution checking one of the ladies in and revealing that she had been writing to herself out of insanity - no really, I did. Near the very end I began skim-reading letters just to get the book over with. I felt I had invested enough time to finish it but I was getting no enjoyment out of it.

And this is nitpicky but the last few pages were clearly designed just to leave room for a sequel, which I found a bit jarring.
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