ARRAY(0xaa251c48)
 
Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, 15 Sep 2009
This review is from: All the Nice Girls (Hardcover)
They say that everyone has a novel in them - and fair play to Joan Bakewell for publishing her first at the age of 74. Cards on the table - I really admire her as a broadcaster; cultural and ethical commentator; and as a woman. I have recently read her excellent autobiography `The Centre of the Bed', and enjoyed it immensely. I have enormous respect for her.
So I wanted to really enjoy this Second World War romance - and I did enjoy it. I read it in a couple of days - eager to find out what happened. But it would not be honest of me to say that I found it without fault. Maybe because I was so recently acquainted with some of the details of her own wartime story, the parallels with her own experiences were a bit obvious for me. The imaginary town of Staveley, positioned between Manchester and Liverpool , is a device which seems to be a bit clunky here.
The novel tells the story of a girls' grammar school adopting a ship during the war, and of the relationships which develop between both the school as a whole, and in particular the romances that blossom between two of the pupils; their head mistress and three of the crew. There are some very touching moments in these stories, and Bakewell does bring to life the morals and values of the time, and how they stifled both women and girls, especially those who openly challenged social mores. She deals with real issues such as pregnancy outside marriage; adultery and adolescent sexuality well before the sexual revolution that was to follow in the 60's.
The parallel modern day story she tells of the daughter of one of these women, who gradually uncovers hitherto secret elements of her own personal history, does not work quite so well. Bakewell also seems to be packing a lot of social history into the tale - almost making it feel like a visit to the Imperial War Museum.
But it is a good story, told with feeling and with honesty, and I did maintain an eagerness to find out what happened to the main characters. It might have been better to stick to the telling of these tales via a more detailed autobiography. Bakewell has written her novel. It is good - but not great. But she is still a great role model for any young girl.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

3.8 out of 5 stars (10 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Manchester, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,008