Diary of An Ordinary Woman

Diary of An Ordinary Woman

by Margaret Forster
     
 

'Sometimes I have the feeling I'm going to turn out to be something queer when I grow up. Mathilda is so ordinary, she makes me feel special. I am not like her. I want to be different, I don't know how. Mathilda hates to be different. I am different already.' Millicent King, 26 November 1914

'There was nothing ordinary about this woman. Indeed, I

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Overview

'Sometimes I have the feeling I'm going to turn out to be something queer when I grow up. Mathilda is so ordinary, she makes me feel special. I am not like her. I want to be different, I don't know how. Mathilda hates to be different. I am different already.' Millicent King, 26 November 1914

'There was nothing ordinary about this woman. Indeed, I now wonder if there is any such thing as an ordinary life at all.'
Margaret Forster, Introduction to Diary of an Ordinary Woman

Millicent King is an 'ordinary' woman living through extraordinary times in this brilliantly conceived piece of fictional memoir writing. Diary of an Ordinary Woman is the edited diary of fictional woman Millicent King (1901-1995). From the age of 13, on the eve of the Great War, Millicent King keeps her journals in a series of exercise books. The diary records the dramas of everyday life in an ordinary English family touched by war, tragedy and money troubles in the early decades of the century. With vividness, she records her brother's injury, her father's death from pneumonia, the family's bankruptcy, giving up college to take a soul-destroying job as a shop assistant. Millicent struggles to become a teacher, but wants more out of life. From Bohemian literary London to Rome in the twenties, her story moves on to social work, the General Strike, the Depression Era of the 1930's and the build-up to the Second World-War in which she drives ambulances through the bombed streets of London. This is followed by her experience of the Swinging Sixties and Maggie Thatcher's Britain. She has proposals of marriage and secret lovers, ambition and optimism, but her life is turned upside down by wartime deaths. Here is twentieth-century woman in close-up coping with the tragedies and upheavals of women's lives. Her ordinary life proves unexpectedly absorbing and, at times, extremely moving showing that, above all, the most ordinary lives are often extraordinary…

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Margaret Forster's books hold you in their grip and linger in the mind'
—Mary Wesley, Daily Express

'A highly enjoyable read: well-informed, gripping… an overview of the period seen from the underside'
Sunday Telegraph

'We believe in Millicent whole-heartedly and come to love her… she has a heroism that George Eliot would recognise. It may be fiction, but it's also — convincingly, tragically and often exhilaratingly — real life'
Independent on Sunday

'A new work by Margaret Forster always gives me a tingle of anticipation… I rushed through this novel and enjoyed it enormously… what she experienced in her very "ordinariness" was shared by thousands of real women of her generation'
—Val Hennessey, Daily Mail

'A beautifully crafted novel about the cost of war… Forster is as distinguished a biographer and memoir-writer as she is a novelist. She is an old hand at making a story out of the fragments of a life.'
Daily Telegraph

'A richly textured, skilfully structured and highly enjoyable novel by an experienced writer at the peak of her powers'
Times Literary Supplement

"This is a remarkable novel. Forster evokes a woman and a century with faultless clarity. She also makes us question how we know the past, each other and ourselves."
Good Book Guide

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780099449287
Publisher:
Random House UK
Publication date:
05/25/2004
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.75(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Forster was born in Carlisle in 1938 and educated at the Carlisle and County High School for Girls. From here she won an open scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford where she was awarded an honours degree in History. After her exams she married the writer Hunter Davies, whom she met and fell in love with at the age of 17. She became a schoolteacher in Islington, North London (between 1961-63) briefly before embarking on a writing career. She first achieved fame in 1965 with her second book, Georgy Girl which was made into a film.

Since 1963, Margaret Forster has worked as a novelist, biographer and freelance literary critic, contributing regularly to book programmes on television, to radio 4 and various newspapers and magazines. She was a member of the BBC Advisory Committee on the Social Effects of Television from 1975-77 and of the Arts Council Literary Panel from 1978-81, as well as the chief non-fiction reviewer for the London Evening Standard from 1977-80.

She is the author of the bestselling memoirs, Hidden Lives (a memoir of her own family) and Precious Lives. Her acclaimed biographies include the biography of Daphne du Maurier, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Amongst Margaret Forster's many successful novels are Lady's Maid, Private Papers and The Memory Box.

She now lives with her husband, Hunter Davies and their three children, Caitlin, Jake and Flora. They live half the year in North London and half the year at their cottage in the Lake District.

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