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A Life Like Other People's by Alan…

A Life Like Other People's (2009)

by Alan Bennett

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1871063,175 (3.92)19



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A Life Like Other People's is the main story from Bennett's collection Untold Stories, but is long enough to stand up a short memoir in its own right in this publication.

This memoir focuses on Bennett's family, primarily his parents in later life and two of his aunts. It covers some difficult ground, primarily his mother's lifelong struggle against depression and her 15 years of being lost through Alzheimer's, yet is never maudlin or self-pitying.

I loved this book. It was thoroughly 'Great British' - full of dry humour in the darkest of times, and with many warm moments of old-school British daftness around everything from his mother's perception of 'commonness' to her aspiration to join the 'cocktail set' she read about in her women's magazines, despite both her and her husband being teetotallers.

'Your Dad and me have found an alcoholic drink that we really like. It's called bitter lemon'.

Nor was it merely the drink at cocktail parties my mother found mysterious, but the food that was on offer there too.... a sausage had only to be hoisted onto a stick to become for my mother an emblem of impossible sophistication.

4 stars - warmed the cockles of my heart. My first but certainly not my last Bennett read. ( )
  AlisonY | Mar 8, 2017 |
Having watched many of Alan Bennett's films I thought it time to read one of his books. An unexpectedly sad but at times funny story, of his parents lives and his connection with them. There is no attempt to cover up any of the struggle they all had with his mother's dementia and how each member of the family coped with her depression, and her many years in and out of various homes and hospitals. You just never know people's stories! ( )
  Fliss88 | Jan 21, 2015 |
I am finding this book hard to review. I liked it, but I found something was missing. The title is suited for the book. Alan Bennett's does not have extraordinary life, but it's his. I have a feeling that he wanted to get this off of his chest.

We got up close and personal, not just with his parents, but also, his mother's side of the family. I enjoyed reading about his "aunty's".

Alan wrote this book at the point of his life when he is thinking of what his senior years would be like. I felt that he is concerned that he may end up on the same path as some of his family members.

It certainly was a fast read. There were times in the book where I got bored, but then it picked up and I soon forgot my boredom.

Glad I read it. Opened up my eyes on what so seniors do have to face. ( )
  callmejacx | Sep 20, 2013 |
A poignant memoir of his parents’ marriage and the family relationship with his “aunties”, grandparents and the uncovering of a long-held family secret. A beautifully written and thoughtful examination of life. Patti
1 vote vplprl | Jul 17, 2012 |
I love his writing and enjoyed the first half of the book, but found the last half of the book very upsetting as what he writes about the living death of dementia patients is all too true. I hope he found it cathartic to write about his mother's last years, but it certainly didn't help me or my memories to read it. ( )
1 vote lesleynicol | Jun 25, 2012 |
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There is a wood, the canal, the river, and above the river the railway and the road.
She was still making lists: guy ropes for a life that didn't have much point, evidence of what she had and therefore what she was.
Every family has a secret and the secret is that it's not like other families.
Aunt Eveline had had a brief career playing the piano in the silent cinema, then, when the talkies came in, had turned corsetiere, a profession often embraced by ample ladies who could simultaneously model the product they were marketing.
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A poignant family memoir offering a portrait of his parents' marriage and recalling his Leeds childhood, Christmases with Grandma Peel, and the lives, loves and deaths of his unforgettable aunties Kathleen and Myra.

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