Winterson describes this book as a work of fiction based on her childhood. It is beautifully written and funny and moving. A young girl who’s upbringing by an Evangelist mother makes it difficult for her to accept her sexuality, It is about feeling that you don’t quite fit in, not being sure of yourself and at the same time being sure you are not fully able to be yourself. I love the way chapters wander into fairytales just as children do when they want to escape. There are also fantastic reminders of growing up in Britain in the 60s/70s (which is a nice nostalgia trip for those of us who grew up then or grew up hearing about it).
My copy is full of sweet wrappers (orange Clubs and Penguins) where there were quotations I wanted to remember.
Here are some favourites:
In the library I felt better, words you could trust and look at till you understood them, they couldn’t change half way through a sentence like people, so it was easier to spot a lie.
Whelks are strange and comforting. They have no notion of community life and they breed very quietly. But they have a strong sense of personal dignity. Even lying face down in a tray of vinegar there is something noble about a whelk.
And my favourite:
Happiness is not a potato
(Although I’d say this is debatable as potatoes can definitely make you happy.)
From: That bookshop raid in Nailsworth (don’t worry, I paid for my plunder!)
Read: While on a mini-break with friends in the Cotswolds (cos I’m sociable like that) and finished the evening I got home.
Felt: drawn in, entertained, amused, heartbroken. All the things. And so very grateful that people are much more accepting, or openly able to be themselves in glorious technicolour now.
Would recommend: to everyone.