Top positive review
50 people found this helpful
on 26 March 2002
There are few more solitary occupations than being a child bookworm, so it is absolutely wonderful to find something on the shelves which remembers us.
Here's a simple test to see if you'll like this book- does this: "It was as if Puffin were part of the administration of the world. They were the department of the welfare state responsible for the distribution of narrative." give you a shiver of recognition? If so, you'll find much to enjoy here.
It's full of little things that strike chords: the feel of old libraries, the terror of horror stories that imaginative children have; the phrase 'stepping lightly from C.S. Lewis to Jane Eyre'.
My complaint would be that it is a little academic in parts- if we wanted the philosophy and analysis of our childhood reading, we've probably done it already. What I wanted more of were the small joys; the little nostalgias. Where children hide to read books; what pleases and what annoys, and I'd have liked more of Spufford's home life. There are also disappointingly few books covered- more than just a skimming of Leon Garfield, Ian Serrallier or Peter Dickinson would have been nice, and perhaps a little less of the visiting the 'Little House on the Prairie' jaunt. Also, I suppose as a girl I missed the feminine side- Anne of Green Gables, Katy, the Chalet school et al.
But these are small grumbles set against what a lovely thing this is- it was suggested to me after I read 'Stet', which I would also recommend wholeheartedly- for all of us who, as an erstwhile friend of mine said, 'don't so much like books as suffer from an obsessive-compulsive illness'.