Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
I enjoyed this. Mortifying disclosure, but there it is. Lots of plot and free rein is given to the Mormon talent for giving people really odd names (thank you, Kara for the insight into this lesser known Mormon trait, Kenneddee must remain a favourite).
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
This was recommended to me by a friend. It’s a child’s story about being a refugee and it’s great. Much better, I think than “The Diary of Anne Frank”, this may, partly, be because the narrator is still alive at the end. My edition was somewhat belittled by having exercises for children at the end (how would you have got on with rationing?). I cannot understand why publishers feel this kind of thing will make their offerings more appealing, particularly when they are publishing classics. What next a section at the end of “Pride and Prejudice” – how would you look in an empire line dress? That said, there was a very nice short piece by the author at the end talking about her experience from an adult perspective.
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
This is a great book. I read “Prep” when it came out and did not like it much and I was distinctly dubious about this one but it was excellent. It’s very long and it is a wonderful feeling when you are on page 15 of a 500 page book and you know you’re going to love it. It’s an imagined life of Laura Bush using real life incidents. It made me take an interest in Laura Bush for the first time. It also made me sympathise with her and think that it was a pretty invasive book. But good. It is very well written as was “Prep”. Unlike “Prep” the action does not take place exclusively in a small boarding school and for Ms. Sittenfeld’s style, this is a big bonus. She is, I think, slightly obsessed about class in America and, funnily enough, this book has less on that than “Prep” though the immensely lengthy bit on Princeton reunions was, frankly, too much for me. Overall though, this book is fascinating both for the imagined character of the American wife and her relationships with others. I was very sad to finish it. I plan to dig out more of her back catalogue.
End of Term by Antonia Forest
Speaking of back catalogue, I am now actively pursuing Antonia Forest books. When the publishing exec was back recently she rooted round in her bedroom and found a very battered copy of this book (every page has said farewell to the spine but mercifully all still there). I did enjoy it and I do intend to ferret out all the books in the series but I think that the first, fine careless rapture may have worn out. I am fascinated to discover through my internet research that the books were written over about 30 years and although only 2 years of fictional time elapse between the Marlow twins starting out in third remove and moving to upper fourth (I think), the author has blithely set each novel in the time in which it was written. I will report back. You stay on the edges of your seats out there.
I read When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit at primary school. For some reason the library of my primary school was extremely well supplied with books relating to WW2 and the Holocaust. There were a couple of fictional efforts set in concentration camps which went into some detail about emaciation and lice. It’s obviously important to educate children about twentieth century history, but I’m not sure why these rather scary topics bulked so large in the suggested leisure reading of ten-year-olds in rural Norfolk in the eighties… I remember quite enjoying them all, though (especially The Silver Sword).
Oh, that made me laugh–I’m glad you enjoyed that peek into one of the (many) quirks of Mormon families. Ah, I shouldn’t say that–we’re really not that weird, I promise. But I’m also glad you persevered and read the next installment in the series–I too have to humbly admit that I’m hooked and love these stories. Not the writing, mind you, but the stories.