Lucy Wadham offers here a rich and spicy recollection of her life among her parents, colorful sisters, eccentric grandmother, and uncles in London during the 1970s and 1980s.
One of the passages that I delighted in reading was the following:
“Eileen’s [the author’s maternal grandmother, who was a free spirit and a pioneer feminist] love of Virginia Woolf was all-encompassing. It embraced not only the woman’s work but also her prejudices: the championing of Art above Commerce and the belief in Beauty as a portal to Truth. She passed on Woolf’s love of nature to us, teaching us the names of trees and flowers, an old world knowledge that would make us ridiculous to future boyfriends. Her cure for birds that fell from their nests was a short spell in her bra. I’ll never forget the sight of a revived baby blackbird flying out of her bosom.
“… Our grandmother’s Edwardian English made us squeal with laughter. When we were with her, pronunciation seemed to be a constant trap lying in wait for us. However you thought something should be pronounced, for Gran it was the opposite. The mountain range should be pronounced ‘Himarlias’, with the accent on the second syllable. You were supposed to pronounce necessarily and customarily and all the ‘airily’ words with the stress on the first syllable and when she read to us, she would roll her ‘r’s’, say nardays for nowadays and whenever for whenever.”
This is the second Lucy Wadham book that I've read and enjoyed. She has a knack for crafting the well-turned phrase that conveys so much to the reader in terms of a person's emotional state, her older sister Fly's struggles with a heroin addiction, the atmosphere in a club in Chelsea, or the large house in Kensington where Wadham lived with a host family whose head was a peer in the House of Lords. At 95 pages, this book represents one of the most rewarding and quickest reading experiences I've had thus far this year. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.