Thursday, 24 March 2011

Book #7 The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Uncommon Reader

I did Alan Bennett for A Level, specifically the Talking Heads monologues: The cream cracker under the settee, the drunk vicars wife, the woman trying to hide the fact her daughter is mentally ill, the woman writing poison pen letters; they're the ones I remember but I don't think that's all of them.

The Uncommon Reader isn't a novel, it's more a short story or a novella. It has a whimsical pretext, the lead character is The Queen. Not some fictional queen our current queen, and yet it is a fictional story that Bennett has written about her, and a fictional portrait of her as a person, which makes it slightly odd yet interesting: It makes you automatically wonder if The Queen has read it and what she thinks of it, but that's something no one knows, if The Queen is A Reader and what she reads if she reads and that's the whole pretext of the story.

A mobile library comes to Buckingham Palace and the Queen, out for a stroll decides to venture in. From that one trip, she begins to read, a whole variety of things and 'gets into reading'. A servant she comes across in the mobile library helps her with her endeavour, and the two form an unlikely friendship....

This is a lovely little story which doesn't last long but does make you smile, and is worth the hour or so of your time it would take to read. 8/10

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