26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Needs to be read with an open mind - reviewers think on!
, 20 Feb. 2008
This review is from: All Points North (Hardcover)
I have to confess to being slightly alarmed and very disappointed by some of the Amazon reviews of this book. There is no doubt that Armitage has a great way with both poetry and prose - I have taught his poems at GCSE for several years and have heard him give readings which never fail to amuse and make me chuckle wryly at the vagaries of life. The reason I am concerned is the way that people have depicted life in The North of England - I grew up in Sussex and only moved to Sheffield in 1996 - after over a decade here I can honestly say that I would never move back down South. I encountered far more 'parochialism' as a 'Southerner' and a Grammar school education in Tunbridge Wells left me in no doubt as to the inherent ignorance and small-mindedness of many in the 'Home Counties'.
Armitage depicts the kind of daftness, naivety and sheer buffoonery that is encountered from John O' Groats to Land's End - but he does it through the eyes of an intelligent individual who is utterly at ease with himself and his upbringing. One of the best parts is Simon's recounting of an amateur dramatics staging of 'Camelot' and the all-male cast's sheer enjoyment and unfettered enthusiasm from start to finish. It does help that I know many of the places mentioned - I have family in Marsden too - but even without this I can recommend 'All points North' as a great read and perhaps even an eye-opener for anyone who claims knowledge of life beyond Birmingham.
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