Posted by: billpurdue | March 12, 2010

90 It’s ladies’ week

When I read two different reviews of the same book I sometimes wonder if the reviewers are talking about the same thing. This seemed to be the case when I was trying to find out more about Marina Lewycka’s new book We are all made of Glue [Penguin £7.99 9780141030999] The reviews in the Guardian and the Telegraph are quite different. These are both reviews of the hardback edition which appeared last July, but I hardly think that’s going to make any difference to the paperback edition which was published last month.

Anyway, this book would certainly seem to be worth investigating further: when I read A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Lewycka’s first bestseller, I enjoyed it, though I thought it just a little unusual. She has written several books since then, but her latest is a return to the theme which made the “History of tractors..” a success. This is the middle aged woman trying to protect someone more vulnerable from gold diggers or unscrupulous people. In “Glue” Georgie, having been dumped by her husband (the Guardian reviewer seems to imply it’s the other way round) resolves to try to protect her neighbour , Mrs Shapiro, (who claims she is related to Georgie) from the estate agents , cowboy handymen and  social workers. In doing so, Mrs Shapiro proves to be a blessing in disguise in helping Georgie to sort her life out after the separation from her husband.

It just goes to show that you shouldn’t take too much notice of what the reviewers say – read it for yourself. Perhaps this also applies to the new autobiography by Pauline Prescott, Smile Though Your Heart is Breaking’ ,[by Pauline Prescott with Wendy Holden, Harper Collins £18.99 9780007337187] I was listening to her being interviewed on Woman’s Hour (BBC Radio 4). I didn’t feel that she gave a very good account of herself, but then again she isn’t used to as much media attention as her husband gets. Her new book tells of the baby she had to give up for adoption not long before a chance encounter at a bus stop led to her marriage to John Prescott, a marriage that has lasted nearly fifty years. Many years later she was reunited with the son she thought she would never see again. So, if you want to read about life with the Prescotts, take no notice of the critics, get the book and make up your own mind.

Talking about new autobiographies, Lynda Bellingham has just brought out hers called Lost and Found [Ebury Press £17.99 978-0091936402]. If you think Mrs Prescott has had problems in her life, then consider Ms Bellingham. Lynda Bellingham was adopted; her first two marriages were unhappy ones; she has recently re-married and is now much happier and has found much more confidence in herself. Because her mother, Ruth Bellingham, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she now does a lot to support the work of the Alzheimer’s Society. She has recently discovered that her birth mother has also been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. As well as all that Lynda, currently appearing on “Loose Women” and in “Calendar Girls” writes about her long and eventful showbiz career .

Finally, another “Loose Women” presenter, Denise Welch, will be bringing out her autobiography in May: Pulling Myself Together [ Sidgwick and Jackson £16.99 9780283071089] . Denise writes about her struggle against severe post natal depression and alcohol.


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