This is a glorious book. It was such a magical read and I think it’s my favourite, a bold statement from someone who is too indecisive to decide on a morning cereal, let alone a favourite anything. Adopted from an Oxfam shop purely for its sleek style and beautiful 1950s patterned endpapers from Persephone, this book was one wonderful surprise after another.
Beyond a delightful heroine who sees the world in a dreamy detached way, this is a frank commentary on feminism, religion, sex and social expectations that is still fresh and really very funny. Patience’s self discovery, her wonder at life and her straight forward perception of the world that was often mistaken for ignorance resonated so strongly with me that I was stunned to see it was written by a man, and a man in the 1950s at that! It felt like a small miracle. Please don’t think I’m under any impression men can’t empathise, I was just delighted to find that someone had done, and with such clarity, so far ahead of their time (and no I didn’t clock the name on the cover, I tend to get a bit over excited and just dive headlong into books!).
There is a great and much more articulate review over on Yasmine Rose’s book blog that puts all my feelings about it into words, while I’m still waving my arms about and exclaiming ‘fabulous’, ‘incredible’ and ‘you simply must read it’.
Reading it for the second time, it was just as funny, I had slightly forgiven it for the whole orgasmic mountains and violins metaphors and really enjoyed the forward by Maureen Lipman that gave me the confidence to start waving the book under friends’ noses and insisting they sit down and enjoy it immediately.