My eleventh book in March’s 12 in 12 Challenge is The Co-Op’s Got Bananas by Hunter Davies. This is his biography of growing up in Carlisle just after WWII. His family wasn’t horrendously poor but they lived on a council estate and his father had a longstanding illness which affected the family.
The author is a journalist who has also written a number of books. I have read one of his titles about Caribbean islands and am aware that he wrote the only authorised biography of the Beatles. I know him best, however, because he is the husband of the late Margaret Forster and features heavily in her autobiographical works (Hidden Lives by Margaret Forster is probably one of the greatest biographies I have ever read).
This book is written in chronological order and follows the writer through his school years, his time at university and his early journalism until it reaches his marriage. It is written in a mildly jokey style and the author is up front about his limitations. He does seem to imply that things seemed to happen to him and that he never really knew what was going on but I think that we can take a lot of that with a pinch of salt.
This is a great book to get a feel for an unusual time in British history where there was still rationing and the country was recovering from the war. The class system was a determining factor but some people were beginning to break through. The author is good on what his schools and friendships felt like, what was important to a growing boy and adolescent, and the way things worked at the time.
This is an easy but worthwhile read. You don’t have to have heard of the author to enjoy it.
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