Friendaholic by Elizabeth Day

I had a bit of a weird moment a couple of years ago that turned out to be quite significant because I’ve thought about it often since. I walking with my friend Sam around Burnley Gardens. We came across this plaque on a bench overlooking a quiet corner of the gardens –

Sam asked me what words would be on my plaque (which wasn’t weird – she knows me well). Without hesitation, I said “Friend, swimmer, reader.” Sam replied, “Not mother?” And no, ‘mother’ was not what immediately came to mind. Analyse that whatever way you want… actually, it has come up a few times in my own therapy and I’m no closer to understanding my response, short of saying that my friends always have been, and always will be extremely important to me. I think much of it relates to what I witnessed with my grandmother.

That’s a long intro to Elizabeth Day’s memoir-ish exploration of friendships, Friendaholic. Continue reading

Upstairs at the Party by Linda Grant

I’ll cut straight to it – Upstairs at the Party by Linda Grant was a massive disappointment.

The right ingredients were there – campus-lit, a tight group of friends, an incident that disrupts their university bliss – all with a seventies backdrop. What I actually got was a story as bland as the drab concrete buildings that populated Grant’s imagined campus. Continue reading

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

It’s been years – no, decades – since I read any Virginia Woolf. And I’d be hard pushed to say what of hers I’ve read, apart from A Room of One’s Own (and when it’s so long ago, I’m not sure it counts).

Anyway, Mrs. Dalloway was in the reading stack and seemed like a decent starting point for Novella November. Continue reading