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by Susan Jameson,Margaret Forster

Download Diary of an Ordinary Woman fb2, epub

ISBN: 0754084477
Author: Susan Jameson,Margaret Forster
Language: English
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks (June 2004)
Category: Humanities
Subcategory: Other
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 983
Size Fb2: 1362 kb
Size ePub: 1215 kb
Size Djvu: 1758 kb
Other formats: txt lit mobi azw


Like many other readers I initially thought Diary of an Ordinary Woman was a real diary and I was disappointed to discover that it is in fact a novel

Like many other readers I initially thought Diary of an Ordinary Woman was a real diary and I was disappointed to discover that it is in fact a novel. After I recovered from this disappointment I enjoyed the book a lot but as it got closer to the end it started to drag for me. The author has done a wonderful job of tracing the major events of the twentieth century through the experience of one woman, and she explores many of the issues and changes that women faced over this time convincingly.

On the eve of the Great War, Millicent King begins to keep her journal and vividly records the dramas of everyday life in a family touched by war, tragedy, and money troubles.

Helen Falconer on Margaret Forster's 'memoir' that gives 20th-century women a voice, Diary of an Ordinary Woman. Still, it was with trepidation that Forster received the beautifully preserved hoard of 80 notebooks - what if it was tedious stuff, badly written, trivial to the point of tears?

Helen Falconer on Margaret Forster's 'memoir' that gives 20th-century women a voice, Diary of an Ordinary Woman. Still, it was with trepidation that Forster received the beautifully preserved hoard of 80 notebooks - what if it was tedious stuff, badly written, trivial to the point of tears? Forster's luck was in. Even at the age of 13, when she starts her diary, Millicent is fluid, funny, unintentionally ironic.

So realistic that many readers believed it to be an authentic diary, it is one of Forster's best-known novels

A triumph of resolution and evocation, this is a beautifully observed story of an ordinary woman's life - a narrative where every word rings true. From bohemian London to Rome in the 1920s her story moves on to social work and the build-up to another war, in which she drives ambulances through the bombed streets of London. A triumph of resolution and evocation, this is a beautifully observed story of an ordinary woman's life - a narrative where every word rings true.

Diary of an Ordinary Woman. Diary of an Ordinary Woman.

For Margaret Forster, whose career has produced novels, biographies and memoirs, the attraction evidently lies less in. .

For Margaret Forster, whose career has produced novels, biographies and memoirs, the attraction evidently lies less in the opportunity to indulge herself in playful genre-busting than in the lure of creating a realistic record of a single woman’s life. From bohemian London to Rome in the 1920s her story moves on to social work and the build-up to another war, in which she drives ambulances through the bombed streets of London

On the eve of the Great War, Millicent King begins to keep her journal and vividly records the dramas of everyday life in a family touched by war, tragedy, and money troubles. Born in Carlisle, Margaret Forster was the author of many successful and acclaimed novels, including Have the Men Had Enough?, Lady's Maid, Diary of an Ordinary Woman, Is There Anything You Want?, Keeping the World Away, Over and The Unknown Bridesmaid. She also wrote bestselling memoirs - Hidden Lives, Precious Lives and, most recently, My Life in Houses - and biographies.

Comments:

Awene
Like many other readers I initially thought Diary of an Ordinary Woman was a real diary and I was disappointed to discover that it is in fact a novel. After I recovered from this disappointment I enjoyed the book a lot but as it got closer to the end it started to drag for me. The author has done a wonderful job of tracing the major events of the twentieth century through the experience of one woman, and she explores many of the issues and changes that women faced over this time convincingly. The futile destruction and devastation of war is a major theme running through the book and the final sentence sums up what Ms Foster was attempting to do, which was to give voice to the ordinary women who live and die in quiet obscurity: "To me, she is as symbolic, in her way, as the unknown solider: The Unknown Woman of her times."

Millicent King has a very engaging voice at the start of the novel and I think her childhood entries are among the strongest. As she ages her voice changes accordingly and she always seems realistic, but there was one glaring problem with this character that I found it difficult to get past: her lack of personal relationships. If she is meant to represent the ordinary woman then I feel it was vital to capture the full gamut of emotions and ties that most ordinary people experience over a lifetime, and this book doesn't do that. Daphne is Millicent's only close female friend throughout her entire life and she doesn't even like her much of the time! It was inconceivable to me that someone could have so many interesting life experiences and not meet any other like-minded people to form friendships with.

Daphne herself is a problematic character because when Millicent meets her she is very serious about study and interested in politics and social justice, but then for no apparent reason she metamorphoses into a party girl who wishes the war had never ended because she was having so much fun! She becomes merely a foil to show how responsible and self-sacrificing Millicent is in comparison to her. Although she's involved seriously with Robert, Millicent can't even decide if she really loves him and the two children she raises after her sister's death both eventually lose touch with her despite the fact that they'd adored her so much growing up. This lack of warm relationships really marred the book for me, and Connie does make reference to this when she points out that maybe Toby became so unsociable because of Millicent's influence. I wondered if the author is trying to show how Millicent's aloofness has hurt those she loves the most?

I also didn't like the fact that it became all about Connie rather than Millicent towards the end, and again I was left with questions about the author's intention: Was she implying that older people's lives are so uninteresting so they have to live through others, or was it Millicent's own fault for refusing to take part in life? I found Connie's turn to radical feminism to be heavy-handed, and the final message seemed to be that independent women like Millicent and Connie got it all wrong and it's really those with a traditional family life like Harry and his wife who are happiest. So it was a very conventional ending for an unconventional woman, but an interesting book and well worth reading despite its flaws. 3.5 stars
Nto
A very good read, although fiction, the entire diary, and voice of the diary feel real. I read the book over several weeks and Millicent became my daily companion, when I finished the book I "mourned" for Millicent for several days, I truly felt as if I had lost a close friend.
SkroN
Interesting. Authentic. Very readable. Feels like a real diary (which I have never manage to keep myself, the more I'm interested in other's).
AGAD
I found this story engrossing and believable. I was so disappointed when I read the Author's note at the end!
Kanek
Good reading, good book, interesting.full of a different aspect of war..different to watch I've been reading about the war recently
Granigrinn
I enjoyed this book quite a lot, however I was irritated when I discovered that it was a novel and not a real story. I admit that it clearly states "novel" on the front cover, albeit in very small print. I think it would have been just as interesing if it had been published without the deception.
The_NiGGa
Sometimes when you buy a book, it turns out that you're setting aside a gift for your future self. I bought this book almost two and a half years ago in a Charing Cross Road bookshop during my first trip to London and it's sat on my bookshelves ever since then. I don't know what pushed me to pick it up a few days ago but I could almost instantly tell that it was a case of right book, right time. I was deeply moved by the opportunity to follow one ordinary woman through her life as it spans the 20th century - from her girlish observations of the Great War to the restless, roaring Twenties and on to the growing unease of the 30s and the life-changing experience of living through World War II. This is historical fiction at the foundational level - all of the messy details of life played out large and the big historical events in the background.

This the kind of book that has a narrative that consumes you and a strong voice that leads you to turn pages. You do need to suspend disbelief since the "diary" conceit requires the entries to have more explanation that I think a real person would include in their diary but Forster manages to neatly sidestep most of the historical background by providing herself as the "editor" of the diaries. She occasionally comes in to skip over dull years or to provide perspective on the events of Milicent's time. The interaction between historical events and real life becomes a bit heavy-handed during Milicent's later years when she fights with her niece/adopted daughter over the growing Feminst movement. All of their conversations feel stilted as if Forster had to find a way to play out the central questions of Milicent's life in the last quarter of the book.

This is a very small flaw in an otherwise deeply textured novel that clearly illustrates how quickly we forget the dramas of the everyday and how soon all the moments of life can become something written in a journal or an email. The diary conceit works beautifully for Forster to say a great many things about how we chose to live our lives and - in particular - how womens' lives in the 20th century were shaped by the historical events. As the pages of the diary go by, the reader lives a life along with Milicent, seeing and understanding things that perhaps she herself has not yet understood. Diary is a fascinating experience that I would urge every lover of historical fiction to seek out and read.
This is a novel written in the form of an edited diary. It is a convincing, beautifully written account of the life of an ordinary Englishwoman from 1914 until 1995. You gradually build up a picture of Millicent's life in the diary which Forster writes with great clarity. It covers all majors events from the Great War onwards and it is a triumphant depiction of an independent 20th century woman, warts and all. I started this after reading Margaret Forster's biography of her grandmother and mother and I am full of admiration for her clear uncluttered style of writing and intend to read all the rest of her books now.

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