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Diary of an Ordinary Woman (2003)

by Margaret Forster

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3201072,208 (3.97)16
Margaret Forster presents the 'edited' diary of a woman, born in 1901, whose life spans the twentieth century. On the eve of the Great War, Millicent King begins to keep her journal and vividly records the dramas of everyday life in a family touched by war, tragedy, and money troubles. From bohemian London to Rome in the 1920s her story moves on to social work and the build-up to another war, in which she drives ambulances through the bombed streets of London. Here is twentieth-century woman in close-up coping with the tragedies and upheavals of women's lives from WWI to Greenham Common and beyond. A triumph of resolution and evocation, this is a beautifully observed story of an ordinary woman's life - a narrative where every word rings true.… (more)
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» See also 16 mentions

English (9)  Dutch (1)  All languages (10)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This is nothing like an ordinary woman. Millicent through her diaries takes us from the start of WWI until she is 94. It makes you live her life with her and you really experience all she goes through from the ordinary and mundane to the dramatic such as her times in WWII. Although she is often alone she is never apparently lonely, living a very full life. It definitely deserves a wider audience. ( )
  Northern_Light | Dec 20, 2016 |
Interesting story but last part of book needed some editing ( )
  sianpr | Oct 27, 2016 |
Millicent King was just an ordinary woman who lived through two world
wars and the devastating loss that entails, into the age of
anti-nuclear, anti-war, feminist protests and marches of the 1960's and
1970's and even beyond. She was an early feminist, in her own way, who
lived an unconventional, independent life, having a few lovers, and a
long-term relationship outside the bounds of marriage. She seems to
have been an incredibly strong woman. In other words, not so ordinary,
but extraordinary.

This is a novel, yet feels completely authentic. According to the
author, it is based on a set of actual diaries that captured her
imagination, yet, which she never got to see. The way the book reads,
it's very hard to believe that she never did see the diaries.

I think that one reason that I loved this book so much, and one reason
it feels so real and authentic is that it was written entirely in the
character's voice. The author never forced her own voice into the
writing.

I absolutey loved this book! I definitely want to read more of
Margaret Forster's work, and have added this to my rapidly expanding
list of favorites. ( )
  bookwoman247 | Nov 21, 2010 |
My early edition of this book said nothing about it being a work of fiction - it was entirely sold as a biography based on a woman's lifelong diaries. I felt cheated when I finally learned it was a work of fiction. I haven't bought any of Margaret Forster's subsequent novels.
  SandraKessell | Apr 12, 2010 |
Love her writing style. Very thought provoking and so believable. Raised lots of discussion about the events of the 20th cent that she lived through. Also women's lives, diaries, ageing... Some of us wanted more on the historical events. Some of us wanted more emotions. All inspired to read more of her writing. ( )
  cfbookgroup | Jul 10, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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FOR SUSAN MORRIS

WITH THANKS
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Introduction:

In May 1999, I received a letter from a stranger, Joanna King, which seemed at first to be one of those pleasant fan letters that authors are occasionally cheered by, but which turned out to be something else.
26 November 1914

Father said if want to keep a diary I must begin it on New Year's Day.
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Margaret Forster presents the 'edited' diary of a woman, born in 1901, whose life spans the twentieth century. On the eve of the Great War, Millicent King begins to keep her journal and vividly records the dramas of everyday life in a family touched by war, tragedy, and money troubles. From bohemian London to Rome in the 1920s her story moves on to social work and the build-up to another war, in which she drives ambulances through the bombed streets of London. Here is twentieth-century woman in close-up coping with the tragedies and upheavals of women's lives from WWI to Greenham Common and beyond. A triumph of resolution and evocation, this is a beautifully observed story of an ordinary woman's life - a narrative where every word rings true.

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