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Diary Of An Ordinary Woman Paperback – 4 Mar 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (4 Mar. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099449285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099449287
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A highly enjoyable read: well-informed, gripping...an overview of the period seen from the underside" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Not only is the background of social and political change meticulously accurate...but there is everything one would expect from a well-kept diary. This is fiction: yet it is true" (Guardian)

"A beautifully crafted novel about the cost of war... Forster is as distinguished a biographer and memoir-writer as she is a novelist. She is an old hand at making a story out of the fragments of a life" (Daily Telegraph)

"We believe in Millicent whole-heartedly and come to love her - she has a heroism that George Eliot would recognise. It may be fiction, but it's also - convincingly, tragically and often exhilaratingly - real life" (Independent on Sunday)

"A richly textured, skilfully structured and highly enjoyable novel by an experienced writer at the peak of her powers" (Times Literary Supplement)

Book Description

'I rushed through this novel and enjoyed it enormously - what she experienced in her very "ordinariness" was shared by thousands of real women of her generation' Val Hennessey, Daily Mail

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What a rollercoaster of a day! I finished this book this morning and spent the next few hours grieving - both for the death of this remarkable woman and for the book/diary ending. I had so enjoyed 'knowing' Millicent and felt quite cut adrift to have 'lost' her. I admit it - I had NO idea that the diaries weren't real! I searched the internet to find out more about this amazing woman and her family, only to find that she is a fictional character! Of course seems obvious now - I just hadn't noticed the references to fiction on the book cover. This is a great book - the emotional ambiguities and twists & turns of Millicent's life were, for me, devastatingly real, making this an intense and powerfully engaging reading experience. Inspires reflection on past and present connections with my own mother, my grandmothers, great aunts etc, and a sharp (and uncomfortable) awareness of the ease with which we can, in our relative youth, disregard/dismiss their knowledge, perspective, experience and insight (as did the twins - Connie and Toby - to Millicent).
The rest of my day will be spent adjusting to the fact that there is no Millicent King!!
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Format: Paperback
A clever book I read in one sitting. What makes the diary of an "Ordinary" woman so compulsive? The diarist, Millicent King, is an engaging character with a surprisingly modern mindset who sometimes makes what must have been considered racy life choices - she is a woman well ahead of her time.

No passive product of a Victorian upbringing - she is an intelligent, fiesty and determindly independent person and following her life gives us an intriging insight into how her generation coped with the awful tragedy of two world wars. Although I was often moved to tears, her diary entries are also highly amusing - Millicent often being as opinionated and judgemental as a spoiled child.

The other characters are just as strong and interesting and you long to know more of them. Can't say more than this without giving plot details away.

Like other reviewers, I ignored the words "A Novel" on the front cover - you can't and don't want to believe this is fiction.
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Format: Hardcover
I can never resist reading any book by Margaret Forster. I loved this book about the fictional character Millicent King. I couldn't put it down! It was so real it has been hard to accept that it is in fact a novel. But of course the story is that of a thousand women who lived through two world wars and whose lives have spanned the century.
Millicent King's life related to that of my mother and grandmothers, to my aunts and uncles and cousins - to all who lived through war and suffered the consequences.
I think that Margaret Forster is a brilliant author and may she continue to write on and on ....
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By A Customer on 26 Mar. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Margaret Forster is definitely one of my favourite authors. Everything she writes is clever and thought-provoking, yet different from what has gone before. With this book she's achieved another success and I recommend it highly. The diary format follows the life of "an ordinary woman" through most of the 20th century, and how cleverly the style changes to reflect age and experience! On the face of it you might think the life of a woman who never married and had no children or successful career would be dull. Far from it - Millicent King faces life bravely, survives many tragedies, comes up trumps when it matters - and along the way you find yourself identifying with her and understanding her generation better than you did before.
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Format: Hardcover
I relished every sentence of Diary of an Ordinary Woman. The clarity and honesty of Millicent Kings' diary entries are engaging and, at times, very moving. For a modern day woman, Millicent's diaries, which span practically the entire twentieth century, provide a context in which the minutae of our own 'ordinary' lives can be evaluated. An excellent and compelling read.
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Format: Paperback
This is the collective story of so many woman of this generation. Ms Foster has captured the complexity of the social situations of this era perfectly. Anyone having older friends and relatives who lived through this era will see the definite ring of truth in it. What a terrible shame that people could feel so deeply but had to preserve the 'stiff upper lip' at all times. I can see my mother, my grandmother and aunts in this woman. Dont be put off by reviewers such as Dain1 - he/she probably has no acquaintances or knowledge of this era. Read it yourself and see....
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Format: Paperback
By the time I got about half way through this I started to suspect that Forster might be about to do a Memoirs of a Geisha and I was spot on. I should have noted this book is categorised as fiction...

Despite finding Millicent a rather unpleasant pretentious child, who thought more of herself and her abilities than anyone around her, I thought that the transition of the character into womanhood, albeit a cold young woman, was done very well. However, there were many parts of the book that just didn't feel right. In many respects her life was too good to be true: her class and her independent wealth were too convenient. Forster seemed to avoid the challenge of writing a truely ordinary woman's life and instead settled for a rather priveleged life, nestled in the environs of Primrose Hill.

The first major relationships of Millicent's life run in paralell, one of platonic love and the other of loveless passion. However, many women of the age would have had to be far more pragmatic in order to leave the family home. I found it deeply frustrating after the final 'reveal' that the tool Forster uses to skip the really difficult emotional bits of Millicent's life - having her character not record these events in her diary because she's so traumatised. I think it was meant to work as a plot device but it felt lazy to me. I'd also question whether it's at all feasible that a single woman working as a social worker in 30s London having an affair with her married senior wouldn't have been sacked or moved to another authority, rather than just raising a few eyebrows. Life wasn't that permissable. Millicent is portrayed as upper middle class, but she didn't have the freedom of the aristocracy.
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