“ Author: Pam Ayres / Format: Paperback / Genre: Diaries, Letters & Journals /Title: The Necessary Aptitude / ISBN 13: 9780091940492 / ISBN 10: 0091940492 / 416 Pages / Book is published 2011-09-15 by Ebury Press / Alternative title: The Necessary Aptitude: A Memoir / Alternative ISBN 10: 0091940486 „
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You can't really go wrong with Pam Ayres. I first heard of her when she appeared on a television talent show in the dim and distant past. Her funny, heart-warming, slightly cynical poems captured people's imagination and from there her popularity quickly grew. Forty years on 'The Necessary Aptitude' is a nostalgic look back at her eventful life written, as you would expect, in a charming, sometimes sad but always funny way.
The story begins in the small village of Stanford in the Vale in Berkshire where Pam grew up in a desperately poor family. She talks a lot about this, about the effect of being poor and looked down on had on her, and how she was determined to do better for herself. Her descriptions of her family life paint a vivid picture of poverty in the 40s and 50s and how she and her brothers and sisters coped.
As a young woman with few prospects Pam went to work in several dead-end local jobs before discovering the Women's Royal Air Force and deciding that this was going to be her ticket out of there. Anyone thinking of joining up might be swayed by Pam's telling of the wonderful life she led; of how it taught her discipline and camaraderie and let her experience a standard of living, on overseas postings, that she had previously only dreamt of.
Later in the book she tells how, having done several small local talent shows, she eventually takes the leap to national television and stardom. The road has many ups and downs but, in typical Pam fashion, she describes these using her very dry sense of humour and cynicism, and her never-failing resilience always shines through.
I found this book entertaining, easy to read but above all really uplifting. I could feel the bitter cold in her family home and I could smell the orange blossom on the RAF base in Singapore. It made me feel good and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to escape into a true story of sunshine with just the odd spot of rain.