• The Girl on The Wall by Jean Baggott

    Jean Baggott has led a life that is both ordinary and fascinating, a needlewoman since childhood the tapestry she has created, and the book that followed show a different side to life over the last 60 years. The tapestry is made up of circles, each one representing an event or person in her life, from the mundane, living with rationing as a child, to the world famous, the OPEC crisis and Lord of the Rings. One is of herself as “The Girl on the Wall”.

    I will freely admit, this is the sort of book I would have passed by in the shop, or perhaps bought for my grandmother, but I am glad I read it. Jean Baggott, although not a professional writer, brings a certain honesty to the table, and while she talks about the good that has happened she does not shy away from the bad.

    In Circle 48 she talks about her mum, giving just a small piece of her story, and I found myself wondering about that woman, a frugal spendthrift whose own childhood was marked with beatings, incapable of showing affection, but who could be tremendous fun.

    There were only a couple of things that I can say on a negative note, throughout the book Jean uses the word mom instead of mum, or even mam or mammy, giving the book an American flavour that jars with what we know about her. The book itself may have been easier reading if it had followed a chronological order, instead of jumping time frames and subjects, something that seemed to halt the natural flow of the book.

    One thing that I did love was her conversations with ' the girl on the wall' - the picture of herself at 11, and her justification for certain little luxuries, cream cakes and new shoes, by buying them for ' the girl on the wall '. I am now considering getting my own picture!

    As I have said, I would not have chosen this book but I am glad I read it so give it 3 glasses of wine.