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Sylvia Smith is neither an actress or a popstar or a politician. She doesn’t have a starry story or a rags to riches tale to tell, she has not had an amazing career or done great charitable works, infact she has really done very little with her life apart from live - she is an ordinary, everyday person (although she once dated a member of the Dave Clarke 5 before they got famous and he left the band)! This is probably one of the strangest and most unusual books I have ever read. All the stories contained within are either something she has experienced or been told about – there is no real plot, adventure or love story, although the book does progress in chronological order, starting with tales of her parents and grandparents and then stories of her own childhood up to 1995. Had Sylvia married and had children, this would have been wonderful legacy to pass on to them. Some of the stories made me smile, some were embarrassing - the kind of thing you would tell only your closest friends and family. Some like the story of how Slyvia’s grandmother would throw herself down her entire staircase in the early stages of pregnancy, in the hope of losing her unborn children, made my mouth drop open. This book is like sitting down for a good chat or the old woman who sits next to you on the bus and wants to tell you her life story. It is about people that touch our lives through work and friendship and then move on – the people who in later life you find yourself thinking of and wondering how they are doing. The Express newspaper said ‘Is it utterly banal or fascinating?’ I found it to be both but hard to put down and surprisingly enjoyable too. What made Sylvia think a publisher would every print this astonishes me and it amazes me even more that it ever got published but I guess it is one of those things that comes along once in a while and bucks the trend. Reading the stories yo
u’ll think – “I know someone like that”. It’s like sitting down with your best friend or a family member and reminiscing “do you remember when ....”? It’s about the funny things that people say and do. I don’t expect everyone to enjoy this book, infact I recently read a review of this book entitled “Dull, dull, dull”, so be warned! However, I found the book to be strangely comforting in that it makes it ok to be normal. I found it to be heartbreakingly honest and easy to relate to. A good book for the Big Brother and Bridget Jones generation.
Part memoir, part comic monologue, this is an ensemble of mishaps and anecdotes that, taken together, reveals the ups and downs of one woman's life. Relentlessly self-deprecating, Sylvia Smith's diary at first seems to relay the humdrum, everydayness of living, yet it steadily gains momentum as a darker undertone gathers force. Interspersed between humorous tales of first-date disasters and get-rich-quick schemes gone awry, the reader is thrown off-balance by the loss of sexual innocence and a pervading sense of loneliness.