Man, if I'd known this was a memoir I'd never have read it. I don't like memoirs as a general rule, although oddly enough I've never read a bad one. (AB Facey's 'A Fortunate Life' - by the guy with the most misfortunate life EVER - springs to mind as a superlative example.)
I liked some of Lee's mini-stories: about the two old women living side by side, about his mother on the bicycle, about his school. I do have to wonder how someone who claimed to be so disinterested in school was able to write this well, however.
"What's the matter, Loll? Didn't he like it at school, then?"
"They never gave me the present!"
"Present? What present?"
"They said they'd give me a present."
"Well, now, I'm sure they didn't."
"They did! They said: 'You're Laurie Lee, ain't you? Well, just you sit there for the present.' I sat there all day but I never got it. I ain't going back there again!"
LOLs by Loll.
I loved these descriptions, too:
They looked like starlings, flecked with jet, and they walked in a tinkle of darkness.
The garden, dizzy with scent and bees, burned all over with hot white flowers, each one so blinding an incandescence that it hurt the eyes to look at them.
She was yellow and dusty with buttercups and seemed to be purring in the gloom; her hair was rich as a wild bee's nest and her eyes were full of stings.
However, it was an awful trudge of a book, really. I fear I'm not that interested in the Cotswolds, and memoirs - those not of the child-abuse genre - don't tend to be very interesting, because they tell the truth. This one was no exception.
Previously, on Book Glomp 2009:
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope
The Bostonians, Henry James
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
For Esme - with Love and Squalor, JD Salinger
The Outsider, Albert Camus
The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten, Meg Cabot
The Vicar of Bullhampton, Anthony Trollope
Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans
Villette, Charlotte Bronte
The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler
Cecilia, Fanny Burney
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark
Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut
Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann
Siddhartha, Herman Hesse
The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga
The Duke and I, Julia Quinn
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell