Diary of an Ordinary Woman

Diary of an Ordinary WomanMargaret Forster Presents The Edited Diary Of A Woman, Born In , 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 S Her Story Moves On To Social Work And The Build Up To Another War, In Which She Drives Ambulances Through The Bombed Streets Of LondonHere 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

Margaret Forster was educated at the Carlisle and County High School for Girls From here she won an Open Scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford where in 1960 she was awarded an honours degree in History From 1963 Margaret Forster worked as a novelist, biographer and freelance literary critic, contributing regularly to book programmes on television, to Radio 4 and various newpapers and magazin

❮Read❯ ➸ Diary of an Ordinary Woman ➻ Author Margaret Forster – Stockbag.info
  • Paperback
  • 416 pages
  • Diary of an Ordinary Woman
  • Margaret Forster
  • English
  • 04 March 2018
  • 9780099449287

10 thoughts on “Diary of an Ordinary Woman

  1. says:

    Millicent King was a woman ahead of her time Feisty and independent from a very young age, she refused two proposals of marriage because she wanted to do something important but nonetheless embarked on a long term, secret, and passionate affair with one of her suitors a very liberated woman for the early 20th century.After having abandoned short lived jobs as shop girl and school teacher, Millicent trained for employment as a social worker, a profession still in its infancy at that time, and embarked on her career filled with both optimism and trepidation Through this work, she met Robert, the only man she ever loved and wanted to marry Sadly, he was a married man whose wife refused to divorce Nonetheless, their professional relationship evolved into a long love affair and eventual open co habitation.Millicent bore the scars of two world wars view spoiler From World War I, her elder brother George returned a mere shadow of himself, a tragedy which weighed heavily on her entire family During World War II, she lost her beloved Robert in a Japanese POW camp hide spoiler

  2. says:

    I absolutely adored Margaret Forster s Have the Men Had Enough when I read it back in 2017, and think that her biography of Daphne du Maurier is superb It has been a surprisingly long time since I picked up another of her novels, but I selected the rather chunky Diary of an Ordinary Woman as my next Forster because it sounded splendid It sounds, on the face of it, as though it has rather a lot of themes in common with Have the Men Had Enough , and I was intrigued to compare the two Diary of an Ordinary Woman spans an entire century, from the birth of its protagonist in 1901, to her old age in 1995 It is presented as the edited diary of Millicent King, who takes the decision to keep her journal just before the outbreak of the First World War In it, she vividly records the dramas of everyday life in a family touched by war, tragedy, and money troubles Of Forster s decision to include such a vast time period in her novel, The Guardian writes Not only is the background of social and political change meticulously accurate but there is everything one would expect from a well kept diary This is fiction, yet it is true The diary begins with an introduction written by an overseer, an anonymous author who has been asked to read Millicent s many diaries by her great niece by marriage, and assess their literary worth The author comments I pointed out that it is quite dangerous letting a writer loose in a field of very personal material I might run amok and trample on sensitive areas However, upon reading the earlier diaries, they note The writing was fluent and lively, and seemed driven by some sort of inner energy which, though the content was mundane enough, gave it a sense of drama If she could write with such vigour at 13, how would she write at 23, 33, right up to 93 Millicent shows her diaries with some satisfaction Inside a cupboard , there were three shelves packed with hardback exercise books, most of them red but some black She stood back and surveyed them, telling me that whenever she looked at them like this, she felt her life must, against all the evidence, have amounted to something after all The introduction of this anonymous author cum editor ends as follows there was nothing ordinary about this woman Indeed, I now wonder if there is any such thing as an ordinary life at all To continue with this idea of Millicent s diaries being edited, entries are sometimes interspersed with comments from the anonymous author, which give background to the social climate, or which explain why several months or sometimes years have been omitted from the edited diary From the beginning, one really gets a feel for Millicent s quite prickly character As a young lady, she certainly feels hard done by, particularly with regard to her position in the family I am most unfortunately placed in this family, coming after Matilda and before the twins and Baby I am special to nobody, and that is the truth Her humour, which is not always deliberate, comes through too in the earliest entries When she stays in Westmorland for a family holiday in 1915, she comments There is no place or time to read and in any case I must be sparing with what I have to read because there is no hope of getting to a library I have made Lorna Doone last for ages and I do not even like it I found Diary of an Ordinary Woman immediately compelling Forster has perfected an intelligent but accessible writing style, which seems to give us access to Millicent s every thought, however dark Due to the span of almost the entirety of the twentieth century, Forster has allowed herself to engross one in the details, creating such depth for Millicent and the changing world in which she lives There is little which is remarkable in Millicent s life, but the very fact that such a huge chunk of it has been recorded by herself, is remarkable One is really given a feel for the huge shifts which occurred during the twentieth century, and the impacts which this could, and would, have upon one individual Her life unfolds against the century her childhood lived in the First World War, the role of fascism in Italy where she later works as a teacher, the Mass Observation Project which she takes part in, and the Korean War, amongst others In many ways having a career, deciding not to get married or have children, and even wearing trousers in the early 1930s Millicent subverts what was expected of a well bred woman.The element which I found a little tiresome in this novel is the emphasis placed upon Millicent s romantic conquests Whilst mildly interesting at first, these soon begin to follow the same pattern, and the men whom she falls so wildly for become quite similar figures This detracted somewhat from my enjoyment of the novel Had this part been succinct, or less spoken about, I imagine that I may well have given Diary of an Ordinary Woman a five star rating.Millicent King is a singular woman, but she is also presented as Everywoman here Forster makes it clear that Millicent shares a lot of her concerns with women living within the twentieth century Of Forster s protagonist, the Independent on Sunday stresses the whole hearted belief which we have in Millicent, and the element of heroism within her that George Eliot would recognise Whilst there were some later decisions in which I found myself questioning Millicent s judgement, I could not help but warm to her She feels realistic, particularly for all her foibles and complaints In Diary of an Ordinary Woman, Forster has created something quite remarkable Whilst in some respects the novel does feel rather long, there is so much within it which both fascinated me, and sustained my interest Evidently, to span an entire lifetime, there must be a lot of detail included, and the novel is certainly richer for it.

  3. says:

    Sometimes when you buy a book, it turns out that you re setting aside a gift for your future self I bought this book almost two and a half years ago in a Charing Cross Road bookshop during my first trip to London and it s sat on my bookshelves ever since then I don t know what pushed me to pick it up a few days ago but I could almost instantly tell that it was a case of right book, right time I was deeply moved by the opportunity to follow one ordinary woman through her life as it spans the 20th century from her girlish observations of the Great War to the restless, roaring Twenties and on to the growing unease of the 30s and the life changing experience of living through World War II This is historical fiction at the foundational level all of the messy details of life played out large and the big historical events in the background This the kind of book that has a narrative that consumes you and a strong voice that leads you to turn pages You do need to suspend disbelief since the diary conceit requires the entries to have explanation that I think a real person would include in their diary but Forster manages to neatly sidestep most of the historical background by providing herself as the editor of the diaries She occasionally comes in to skip over dull years or to provide perspective on the events of Milicent s time The interaction between historical events and real life becomes a bit heavy handed during Milicent s later years when she fights with her niece adopted daughter over the growing Feminst movement All of their conversations feel stilted as if Forster had to find a way to play out the central questions of Milicent s life in the last quarter of the book This is a very small flaw in an otherwise deeply textured novel that clearly illustrates how quickly we forget the dramas of the everyday and how soon all the moments of life can become something written in a journal or an email The diary conceit works beautifully for Forster to say a great many things about how we chose to live our lives and in particular how womens lives in the 20th century were shaped by the historical events As the pages of the diary go by, the reader lives a life along with Milicent, seeing and understanding things that perhaps she herself has not yet understood Diary is a fascinating experience that I would urge every lover of historical fiction to seek out and read.

  4. says:

    I picked up a used copy of this in the UK in Blackwell s in Oxford, I think , solely on the basis of having liked Lady s Maid and Forster s biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning I m glad I picked it up, because it s very good and happened to hit exactly the mood I was in The novel is in the form of a diary kept by a woman born in 1901, whose life spans almost the entire twentieth century Forster writes a long introduction in which she meets Millicent King and agrees to edit her diary for publication This is so convincing that apparently some readers haven t realized that the book is fiction rather than non fiction until they reach the author s note at the very end Millicent begins her diary as a teenager, just before WWI, and stays with it through her whole life, until 1995, when she can t physically write any The characterization is excellent, of Millicent and also of her friends and family, as seen through her eyes Forster shows us just how unordinary an ordinary woman can be.

  5. says:

    I did not have high expectations of this book the title and the author s reputation persuaded me in advance that it would be light reading And indeed it was However, I have to admit to enjoying it far than I expected The author claims at the start that she met the diarist, Millicent King, at her request so that she could re write the diaries she d kept throughout most of the twentieth century From then on we get edited highlights of the diaries interspersed with summaries or commentaries from the author.As the title suggests, Millicent is in some ways an ordinary woman but in other ways unique as all humans are We are taken through many of the big events of the century in England as witnessed by our hero from her teenage years during World War One to the Greenham Common demonstrations and beyond Some hardly affected her whereas others changed her life totally There were love affairs some shocking for their time , compassion and tragedies, and Millicent s personalty shines through and develops as time goes on and she is shaped by events We well, I are hooked by the suspense formed by her character and the desire to know how she survives or thrives events we know are approaching.Her family provide the heart of the relationships with her father at the start, her mother soon after and her siblings and their children after that but there are love interests, regrets and poignant losses too.Another quality of the book is the way the writing style reflects Millicent s age at the time the totally self centred attitude as a teen, the ambition to make her mark in her twenties and thirties, her independence in middle age, all the way to curmudgeonly grumpiness near the end I felt this was an easy read I got through the 400 pages of small print much faster than I expected perfect for on holiday, but interesting for all that and I am glad it was our Book Club s choice or I would never have read it.

  6. says:

    Like many other readers I initially thought Diary of an Ordinary Woman was a real diary and I was disappointed to discover that it is in fact a novel After I recovered from this disappointment I enjoyed the book a lot but as it got closer to the end it started to drag for me The author has done a wonderful job of tracing the major events of the twentieth century through the experience of one woman, and she explores many of the issues and changes that women faced over this time convincingly The futile destruction and devastation of war is a major theme running through the book and the final sentence sums up what Ms Foster was attempting to do, which was to give voice to the ordinary people who live and die in quiet obscurity To me, she is as symbolic, in her way, as the unknown solider The Unknown Woman of her times Millicent King has a very engaging voice at the start of the novel and I think her childhood entries are among the strongest As she ages her voice changes accordingly and she always seems realistic, but there was one glaring problem with this character that I found it difficult to get past her lack of personal relationships If she is meant to represent the ordinary woman then I feel it was vital to capture the full gamut of emotions and ties that most ordinary people experience over a lifetime, and this book doesn t do that Daphne is Millicent s only close female friend throughout her entire life and she doesn t even like her much of the time It was inconceivable to me that someone could have so many interesting life experiences and not meet any other like minded people to form friendships with Daphne herself is a problematic character because when Millicent meets her she is very serious about study and interested in politics and social justice, but then for no apparent reason she metamorphoses into a party girl who wishes the war had never ended because she was having so much fun She becomes merely a foil to show how responsible and self sacrificing Millicent is in comparison to her Although she s involved seriously with Robert, Millicent can never decide if she really loves him and the two children she raises after her sister s death both eventually lose touch with her despite the fact that they d adored her so much growing up This lack of warm relationships really marred the book for me, and Connie does make reference to this when she points out that maybe Toby became so unsociable because of Millicent s influence I wondered if the author is trying to show how Millicent s aloofness has hurt those she loves the most I also didn t like the fact that it became all about Connie rather than Millicent towards the end, and again I was left with questions about the author s intention Was she implying that older people s lives are so uninteresting so they have to live through others, or was it Millicent s own fault for refusing to take part in life I found Connie s turn to radical feminism to be heavy handed, and the final message seemed to be that independent women like Millicent, Connie and Daphne got it all wrong and it s really those with a traditional family life like Harry and his wife who are happiest If Toby took on Millicent s anti social tendencies then it could be argued that Connie took her independence and ambivalence towards marriage to an extreme The book reflects on the changes of the past century and the freedoms women have gained and in my interpretation decides that they haven t really been worth it It s almost as if the author is saying See girls this is what happens when you value your freedom and independence so highly, you end up alone as Millicent would have if Harry hadn t stepped in and bitter, or in Daphne s case dead from lung cancer as a result of her irresponsible lifestyle It was a very conventional ending for an unconventional woman in my opinion, but it s still an interesting book and well worth reading despite its flaws 3.5 stars

  7. says:

    My mom recommended this and I absolutely loved it It s the diaries of a woman growing up through the wars in England, and spanning like Any Human Heart her whole life Clearly there s something about the diary memoir style that I really love Anyway, this book really showed me what things were like to be an ordinary person experiencing the wartime, the depression and all the cultural changes that followed 100 times better than a history lesson It really gets you to understand the values and how communities worked together that got people through the wartime experiences, their resilience and strength, having to get by on hardly any food or luxuries, how people had to survive being separated from loved ones and without any communication from them for years and years and just showed so well the differences between then and now It s so realistic and such a lovely read.

  8. says:

    It was, exactly as it is entitled, a diary of an ordinary woman In this case you can judge a book by its cover I was restraining myself from criticising it while I was reading it because it felt rude to criticise someone s personal thoughts edited or otherwise So I was really disappointed to find out at the very end that it is all fictitious At least now I don t feel so bad pulling it apart.

  9. says:

    I somehow didn t notice the word novel on the front cover and assumed the story was real This only slightly changed my opinion on the book still an interesting book but I would have loved her to have been real.

  10. says:

    I remember liking it very much when I read it about 15 years ago Would want to reread it, I was glued to it and thought it was a real diary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *