Sample Saturday – three memoirs

Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye.

Rosie: Scenes From a Vanished Life by Rose Tremain

Why I have it: Spotted at Lady Fancifull.

Summary: Tremain’s reflections on her childhood – from post-war London and to summers on her grandparents’ farm in the Hampshire countryside, to how she came to be dispatched to a prison-like boarding-school.

I’m thinking: Yes.

Places I Stopped on the Way Home by Meg Fee

Why I have it: Spotted at A Life in Books.

Summary: Essays about the men who (for better or worse) helped define the author. 

I’m thinking: Maybe – the writing is good but not sure I need more relationships-in-NYC stories at the moment.

The Day That Went Missing by Richard Beard

Why I have it: Read about it somewhere earlier this year.

Summary: On a family holiday in Cornwall in 1978, Richard, aged 11, and his brother Nicholas, 9, are playing in the sea. Suddenly Nicholas is out of his depth and drowns. Richard does not attend Nicholas’s funeral and afterwards the family return to Cornwall to continue the holiday. Soon they stop speaking of that day at the beach altogether. This is Richard’s story.

I’m thinking: Yes.


14 responses

  1. The Meg Fee doesn’t really appeal to me, but the other 2 sound interesting, especially the Beard. That way of coping might be interesting to you with your counselling studies? To me it seems totally weird to not let him go to the funeral and then just try and erase the whole thing, but how on earth would a family cope with something so unbearable? It’s really interesting, in an awful way.

    • I was drawn to it because of the way that the family ‘handled’ the grief – and use that word loosely because it would seem that it hasn’t been handled at all, rather, buried. I suspect that when I get into this book I will find it distressing but nevertheless, that kind of approach (not going to funerals, not talking about it) is very common.

  2. Thanks for the link, Kate. Places I Stopped on the Way was one of those books that took me by surprise. Of the other two, I’ think I’d pick the Beard. As Madame Bibi suggests it looks like an object lesson in how not to deal with loss.

    • I liked the writing in the Fee but not sure that I’m the target audience… which shouldn’t matter if the writing’s good but my reading time is competitive 😀

  3. I’m with Madame Bibi, Rose and The Day That Went Missing appeal. I don’t usually like anything about missing children, but if that part is over early and the focus is on the messed-up nature of families, that’s something I can get behind!

    • Funny you should say that because the drowning occurs in the first ten pages and, as an ex-life guard and swim coach, the description was brief but incredibly accurate and quite distressing – you’ve been warned!

  4. I actually know about all three this time! I have Tremain on request from the library; I finished Fee the other day (pleasant enough, but not really for my stage of life / my experience); and I DNFed the Beard a little while back (a flat and emotionless retelling).

    • I’ll look forward to your review of Rosie – I’m sure you’ll read it before me.

      Oddly, it’s the flat and emotionless element of the Beard that I’m interested in – how does he remain detached from such a traumatic event? How does his family?

      • I think part of it is just that nearly 40 years had passed before he started investigating his brother’s death. His memories of that day were foggy at best, and in his family it had been swept under the rug — unbelievably, they actually continued their beach holiday after his death!!

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