Till the Cows Come Home: A Lancashire Childhood: The Sunday Times Bestseller Hardcover – 7 Mar 2019
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Cox is a natural storyteller... she brings that authentic voice to bear in her memoir. The tone is so intimate, chatty and friendly, so you feel as though she could be sitting next to you, in a café or a pub, as she regales you with stories of her youth. (Daily Express)
An endearing, engaging and very funny coming-of-age memoir. (Mirror)
I loved it! (Lynda La Plante)
Coxy's memoir about growing up on a farm is as funny as you'd expect, genuinely touching and has some excellent 80s and 90s details. Her love of animals is infectious and her story goes beyond just her pony Gus, with tales of cows, rats and even a maggot farm. (Alexandra Heminsley Grazia)
A wonderfully written, funny coming of age memoir of growing up in 1980s Lancashire, by best loved DJ and broadcaster Sara Cox.See all Product description
From the Publisher
Till the Cows Come Home
'The farm is the place where my story began and now it's part of my children's story too...I want them to know that as well as head chef and bottle washer I'm another person - a farmer's daughter, a former bullying victim, an ex-supermodel-come-barmaid.'
'I’m also hoping that if they know where I’ve literally come from then they’ll understand better where I’m coming from when I nag them about wasting food, working hard, respecting their elders – all the stuff that punctuated my childhood (and therefore this book) and is a big part of who I am.'
'Now I’m older and approaching my thirties (OK, my mid-forties, whatever) I’ve become more fascinated by what – or rather who – came before me. I want to keep the memory alive of those people who shaped me but are no longer here.'
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I wasn’t brought up on a farm or over a pub. Wasn’t in the North West in my younger years, never been a model....now that would be a frightening thought. Heck, I’m a middle aged Dad with a teenage daughter but so much of this eminently readable account of Sara’s world up until 1995 can be related to. The type of book that you can dip in and out of in as and when family life allows, gives you a chuckle and then makes you think ‘I know what she means’, ‘I remember that, it wasn’t just me’ or ‘I see that in my daughter’. It has just the right mix of humour with poignancy, a dash of nostalgia and reflection, not too deep, on the issues that affect many growing up, whatever decade it is. Relations with parents, siblings and the exploration of the wider world beyond the family.....and in this case often with Gus the trusty pony with whom her initial travels beyond the farm gate often seemed to end in Gus’s mischievous emergency stops. All however eventually leading to Sara’s very individual perspective of a brief life as a model before returning to the UK and the story ends just as her media career was about to start.
Whilst never getting over sentimental (will have problems again looking at lambs without thinking of ‘freezer 1 and 2’), this is not an account that will depress. Make you think or reflect a little at times but in a positive way.
The stories of farm life, living with her mum and regularly visiting her dad are full of witty observations and it is absolutely clear of the importance that the family has to Sara, particularly the contribution of her parents. What will however surprise many of those just familiar with Sara from her radio and tv work is the crippling confidence issues that were induced in earlier life, particularly because of the cruel bullying that left, as it does for so many, mental scars and a unwanted impact on lives then and thereafter. She writes with honesty about the very real impact of the bullying and I would venture to say that there are teenagers out there who will instantly be able to relate to her suffering but who will hopefully obtain some reassurance that there is a life beyond it. I can vouch for one teenager who is reading and enjoying it!
However, the bullying is just a part of what is a perfect mix of stories that contribute to a genuinely (and dare I say surprisingly) impressive ‘feel good’ book. I have deliberately viewed this and my comments are based on viewing it as a stand-alone book which I would recommend in its own right. I would also however suggest that anyone familar with Sara’s easy going style on radio with frequent references to normal family life will certainly enjoy this book.
To quote Sara from the proof copy I have, “A big wordy pie packed with all the people, places and pondering from my first twenty years on this glorious planet” Excellent first book, this family looks forward to a further instalment, easily recommended.
I grew up close to the childhood farm of Sarah, with our house backing on to a farmers field ( so close that no one was ever entirely sure if it was “grundy’s “ field- the farm that she lived on- or not, in fact) and being only 6 months older than Sarah it was at the same time too. Therefore reading her book I do see that the rose tinted glasses that we tend to wear when looking back at things from our childhood are definitely in place.
However the fact that she focuses on the joyful, totally ignoring the miserable ( for example herparents divorce is merely mentioned in passing, despite this being a pretty monumental event ) makes this a joyful read, brimming with happiness and a real cheer of you up kind of book.
Its written in a very familiar style, like your mate is chatting to you via the page and if you enjoy her T.V and radio style you will thoroughly enjoy the book.
But I couldn't really do that. I just found it rather dull. For me, it was a mistake writing an entire book about her early years. To be honest, most childhoods are fairly ordinary & dull (even their bad bits) to those not living them, and Sara's isn't really any exception. It's nice that she looks at things so positively and doesn't whine or moan about the tougher things (and she's no whiner, by any standard). She comes across as she comes across in voice (which makes me wonder if the audio version of the book wouldn't be better) - as a thoroughly nice, direct individual. But the only times she really made me laugh was when she was relating a more recent anecdote. And that, for me, was where the book went wrong. Her life stopped being ordinary, arguably, when she became famous. And it's her wit and humour about the everyday that makes her funny and easy to relate to - she feels like a "proper ordinary person", like me and you, who somehow ended up famous but still feels just like us, so we empathise and are interested. I don't think there's enough early life interest to support an entire book. Given her style, I'd have said to let her range randomly over her whole life in her own inimitable fashion with childhood being just a part of that. That's a book I'd enjoy reading.