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on 7 September 2014
I was puzzled by this book. I have enjoyed the 'Filth' books by Jane Gardam and thought I was in for more of the same but this is a thin book that left me unsatisfied. I did not find the characters engaging and some of the story lines were disconnected and seemed to have been put in to bulk out the book. Don't be put off reading the 'Filth' books if you have read this one first, they really are much better.
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on 31 March 2010
There is something eccentric about the narrator Jessica Vye who tells you from the beginning "I am not quite normal." But which 13 year old does feel comfortable in her own skin? This one has a life-changing moment the minute she has confirmation from a writer who has visited her school, that she too is a writer "beyond all possible doubt." Other reviewers have given a synopsis, so I will just say that teenagers in my family have enjoyed this book, and I go back to it with great fondness. It has Jane Gardam's original and quirky voice and it led me to read many more of her novels and short stories.
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on 22 March 2015
At times I found this book hard to read because it was almost an invasion of privacy. It's a wonderful vies of life in the North East - I can smell the wild garlic in the Italian Garden at Saltburn while I read it. It gets into the mind of the precocious 13 year and carries you along. Beautiful.
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on 25 February 2014
I loved this book. It's the best account of adolescence I have read since David Mitchell's Black Swan Green and I found it absolutely captivating. In fact a perfect reading experience, lighting up the day with its charm, sparkle and humour. Like eating strawberries and cream.
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on 28 December 2013
I am fascinated by Gardam's novels without ever understanding them. I know I could not stop reading this, in fact I read it in one sitting, but what it all means? No idea. I will now download the next of the canon and read it with equal absorption and mystification
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on 21 March 2011
I first read this in the mid-1970s and have read it probably every year since then. Words and phrases from it have affected the way I write and think, I am certain. Jane Gardam is a writer of unique gifts who should be more widely praised than she is. I have bought this book many times and given it away to friends - I am keeping my own first edition for myself. It is a treasure. Jessica Vye is a wonderful, awkward, sympathetic creation to whom I always want to return.
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on 1 January 2017
Jane Gardam is always a goo read.
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on 16 January 2016
I loved this book. One of Jane Gardam's best I think.
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on 26 March 2017
It is a book for children - not at all what I expected.
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on 29 September 2015
Not her best
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