Brown Owl's Guide To Life Paperback – 14 Dec 2006
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A nostalgic read (HEAT MAGAZINE)
A poignant and funny novel (SHE)
Nostalgic (Fanny Blake WOMAN & HOME)
A must read (GUIDING MAGAZINE)
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A bittersweet novel about re-inventing yourself from the author of THE STARTER MARRIAGE.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
The plot is pacy and interesting, and the writing easy to read but by no means dumbed down. An excellent holiday read that has a bit more thought to it than generic chick-lit.
Nevertheless, I have to say, I really enjoyed it! In places, it had me laughing and crying almost at the same time! As a Brownie, a guide, a young leader past guider - and the daughter of a former District Commisioner, I could empathise with the key characters - and what fun they had reliving their life as Brownies and revisiting some of the badges that they had achieved together. What a great way to heal the sadness and grief of mourning!
My only disappointment was that, although some of the badges were followed through beautifully and developed to their more adult form, this was not always true; and it would have been lovely to see more of that development in the book. perhaps she will produce a sequel for her many fans!
This was lent to me by a friend and I was rather intrigued by the title. I was once a Brownie and thinking of a guide to life by a Brown Owl struck me as being amusing. Although perhaps I do Brown Owl's a disservice in this, all those badges and promises probably make for a pretty decent self-help manual!
The story is based around six Brownies from the 1st Troughton Pack. The story tracks between the present day, where they are all grown up and their past together as Pixies. It transpires that there was an incident during a Pack Holiday that deeply affected them all, and in some cases ruined their friendships.
Now they are all grown up women and Brown Owl has just died leaving them all letters. The lives of these girls have gone off at different tangents and they have not all turned out as might have been predicted. The story uses flashbacks to the past and on-going present developments to reveal what happened to them all and resolve some of the issues they live with.
The central character, Lucy, was Brown Owl's daughter and she feels strongly that she has not lived up to her mother's hopes and expectations of her. Lucy's marriage is falling apart and she is still longing to find out about the Father she idolises, but never actually really knew. All this comes tumbling to the surface in the wake of her mother's death and leaves Lucy trying to recover and decide what she wants from her life.
Lucy's best friend Terri was also a Brownie and is now (she feels) the oldest virgin in Troughton. She has been the strong sensible one all her life and is training to be a Vicar, but losing Brown Owl, who was the Mother she always wanted sends her on a new journey of self-discovery. The other four women from the Pixie Six are more minor characters, but none-the-less interesting. The story uses them all to look at how women are affected by aging, getting married having children and losing those they love. Even getting fatter has its part in this tale! So much of the novel reflects how women relate to each other and in particular how we are affected by our mother/daughter relationships in both their good and bad points.
Verdict: I so enjoyed this book. It is well written and food for thought. It has humour and sadness, a bit of romance and best of all characters that held your attention. A great read.
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