Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The L-Shaped Room

Tonight is my book club night.
This month we have been reading The L-shaped Room.
I am the youngest in our group (not often I can say that!) and most of the ladies read this back in the 60s and 70s and they were looking forward to re-reading it.
I'm looking forward to seeing what they think of it this time around.
The story is about Jane. She is 27 years old and living at home with her civil servant father. That is until she becomes pregnant and has to move out and so finds herself living in The L-shaped Room.
For the most part I enjoyed it. I was a little disappointed at the arrival of the great aunt who seemed to be like a fairy godmother trying to make it all better.
And the language used, on occasion, when referring to some of the characters did make my skin crawl. Words used to describe a Jewish boss or a young black gay man made for very uncomfortable reading.
I noticed that the Lynn Reid Banks went on to write two more books following the life of Jane and her child.
I have ordered the next one in the series as I would like to find out which path of life the author took her on.

One part of the book really stood out for me and I have shared it here. I like the succinct descriptions of each season.

Jane notices Spring is coming and observes....

'The Spring can be more painful than any other time of the year. Summer is lazy and indifferent; Autumn is demanding and invigorating: Winter is numb and self contained. But Spring has none of the palliatives. Every emotional nerve is close to the surface; every sound and sight, every touch of the air, is a summons to feel, to open your doors, to let life possess you and do what it likes with you.

Have you read it? What do you think of this description?


  1. I haven't read this but as it's an old book and about an unmarried mother I suspect there'll be lots of old fashioned prejudice in it along with language long since deemed acceptable to describe the jewish boss and the black gay man. I hope you enjoy the next book.

  2. I have read it, but years and years ago, and I can safely say I remember absolutely nothing about it! The language and attitudes will reflect the time of writing, I suppose, and in a way, we can feel glad that they are no longer acceptable or as prevalent. Progress!
    The descriptions of the seasons are pithy, though I'm not sure I agree with her! xxx

  3. No I haven't read it Lisa. I started a book group years ago but couldn't keep up with the different choices of books ! x

  4. I haven't heard of it, Lisa - but it sounds interesting. I didn't agree with the description of Spring, but I thought it was beautifully written. Our book club is reading The Missing One by Lucy Atkins at the moment, and I literally can't put it down, finding it much better than I anticipated. x

  5. Not read it but I've read one of her books, I forget which. Interesting descriptions!

  6. I read this years ago but not when it was first published. I was a teenager and I really enjoyed it. Seeing it on your blog reminded me but it might have been right me for me at the time and I might not enjoy it so much now. Tastes change even in books.

  7. How did it go? I can't remember if I've read it or not....

  8. I've not read that book Lisa but I do like the description of spring! x

  9. I'm a literacy teacher, and I haven't been reading much of anything. I need to work on that!!!