Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Different Lives: The Family From One End Street

I tend to gravitate towards old-fashioned family books, particularly ones that are old fashioned because they were written a long time ago.  My copy of Eve Garnett's The Family From One End Street has a published date of 1939, which is a lucky year because my mom was born in it. It was actually written a bit before that, so it's actually older than her, but it's set a bit earlier than that. There's no war, no depression, just a family in a town that Miss Read would recognize, with too many kids and not enough money but a genial ability to just get on with it since their family can handle it all.
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Each chapter follows a specific story, first going through the oldest five kids as they have smallish adventures such as losing an (expensive) school hat that should have lasted five years and instead won't make it to the start of term at the secondary school. The twin boys have more improbably adventures that still pinpoint the alien nature of the past, with the English shadings of class and money. I remember liking these when I was a kid just as I liked science fiction and fantasy; it seemed just as unlikely. Anyway, a cosy and happy story about people living very different lives.

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