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Mrs Miniver (VMC) Paperback – 24 Aug 1989
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Mrs Miniver, you feel, could rule the world (VALERIE GROVE)
* captures a woman's private world with the affection and good humour of
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Top Customer Reviews
I think that Mrs Miniver's life was as near as can be to Jan Struther's own - both English, middle-class, married with three children, living in London during the outbreak of war in a comfortable home with servants. But do not be put off by thinking that this is very predicable stuff and not worth bothering with. Mrs Miniver has a very particular way of looking at life - perceptive, funny, generous and wise. Never snobbish, quite the opposite in fact. Both Mrs. M and her author shared a zest for life - "an accidental gift, impossible to acquire and almost impossible, thank heaven, to lose."
An enthusiast for life, she describes the everyday, ordinary things - walking through Westminster on the first day of Spring, hop-picking in Kent, Guy Fawkes night,pruning an apple tree, driving to Scotland, buying gas-masks, observing her fellow guests at a dinner-party, Christmas shopping, buying a new diary - but all seen through the eyes of a very perceptive person. Never mundane, Mrs Miniver's world is shared with us in delightful detail.
Mrs. Miniver in the dentists' chair:
"...the refinement of civilised cruelty, this spick, span and ingenious affair of shining leather and gleaming steel, which hoisted you and tilted you and fitted reassuringly into the small of your back and cupped your head tenderly between padded cushions.Read more ›
Language is something to be treasured and savoured here. Struther plays with words in a way that is, for lack of a better term, delicious. I found myself reading and re-reading segments because of the beautiful way in which they were phrased. The life that the Minivers lead consists of trips to their country home in Kent, dinners with friends, and holiday celebrations, all archly and candidly observed by Mrs. Miniver. The War, while looming on the horizon, does not take over until the very end of the book.
I got this book with the expectation that I'd read about the things I'd seen in the film. What I ended up with was something much different. It takes nothing away from my love of Greer Garson to say that I loved Jan Struther's original stories just as much as the movie that grew out of them.
The story, sadly, is bland and unexciting. I’m not really interested in the day to day lives of middle class families at this time except as a matter of social history. The family are happy and have servants. They send their children to boarding school and have picnics and holidays by the sea. They are aware that war is coming and are fitted for gas masks but it hasn’t started by the end of the book. There is no conflict of any sort in the story. The book, and especially the film, are really propaganda for the type of English life lived by only a few but which is held up as what people will fight for – it is difficult to believe that this is the same time period as “The Night Watch” by Sarah Waters which tells a very different story of life before and during the war (although it was written a lot later).
It was a pleasant enough read but I shall not keep this on my shelves and will pass it on.
"Mrs. Miniver looked towards the window. The dark sky had already paled a little in its frame of cherry-pink chintz. Eternity framed in domesticity. Never mind. One had to frame it in something, to see it at all."
The pieces which make up "Mrs. Miniver" were first published in the Times and as such they provide a vivid insight into the atmosphere in England just before the war. As Mrs. Miniver goes about her business the wider political situation sometimes intrudes: the family get fitted for gas masks, trenches are being dug in the park, and the word 'Jews' is glimpsed in a newspaper headline.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An enjoyable and delightful book that evokes the spirit of the time.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Beautifully written, sharply witty, a most satisfactory combination of observation, intelligence and a sensitive response to the peculiar circumstances in which human beings so... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Sylriem Siwel
Thoroughly enjoyed. A wonderful picture of lives and values held by the England into which I was born. Thanks to Joanna Scanlon for the reccommendation.Published 14 months ago by Alan A Palmer
'Mrs. Miniver ' surpassed my expectations. I have long been a fan of the film with Greer Garson in the lead role - it's a wonderful example of wartime propaganda. Read morePublished 18 months ago by sharon gater