REVIEW by Alan Bilton

NWR Issue 107

Hippy Dinners

by Abbie Ross

It seems to me that the trick of writing a successful memoir (a sentence typed with the blithe confidence of one who has never tried to do so) is to find a balance between the familiar or recognisable, and the unique and utterly personal: which is to say, the difference between remembering John Craven’s Newsround from the 70s and being an eight year old girl growing up in rural north Wales who longs to be John Craven, side parting, jumper/tie combo and all. The key note of Hippy Dinners, however, isn’t whimsy but rather the toe-curling comedy of embarrassment. Though the sub-title, A Memoir of a Rural Childhood, suggests some hazy bucolic paradise, Ross is a far too sharp eyed and beady a narrator to leave us roaming along the brambles for long. Rather the book is all about the longing to be normal, John Craven being the epitome of regularity – even if the attempt to ape his fashion-sense is not...

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previous review: The House of the Deaf Man
next review: William Wilkins


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