|
Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Uncommon Reader: A Novella » User review

Queen Everyman

  • Oct 20, 2007
  • by
Rating:
+4
Once upon a time the Queen of England was walking her dogs in the Buckingham Palace gardens when they took an interest in the bookmobile parked behind the palace kitchens. When the dogs refused to come back to her, Queen Elizabeth went to retrieve them and decided to borrow a book from the mobile library just to be polite. Before she knew it, one book led to another, and the good Queen became an avid reader and lived happily ever after.

Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader is a laugh-out-loud novella that does indeed read like a fairy tale at times but the little book packs a lot into its 120 pages. Avid readers will recognize themselves in Queen Elizabeth as she exercises her "reading muscle" and progresses from reading anything suggested to her by others to falling in love with "new" authors and more serious literature. They also will recognize the reactions of the Queen's family and staff who are somewhat bewildered to find that she carries a book with her wherever she goes and has lost interest in many of the things that previously kept her busy. Not only do they not understand her new love of reading, they come to resent her for it, and some even suspect that she is showing the first signs of senility.

Her move along the road to a new sensibility and self-awareness allows Elizabeth to make some observations that are guaranteed to put smiles on the faces of book lovers. At a reception in Canada, for instance, she remarks to one Canadian minister, "Can there be any greater pleasure than to come across an author one enjoys and then to find they have written not just one book or two, but at least a dozen."

On another occasion, when being briefed by a befuddled member of her staff who does not understand why she suddenly prefers reading to his briefings, she tells him that "...briefing is not reading. In fact, it is the antithesis of reading. Briefing is terse, factual and to the point. Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting. Briefing closes down a subject, reading opens it up."

For a while, the sheer joy of reading is enough for Elizabeth as she begins to regard the world and those around her with a new empathetic understanding. But, as her self-awareness continues to grow, she comes to believe that she is meant to be not only a reader but also a writer. That is the twist that leads to Alan Bennett's unexpected, but perfect, ending to his charming little tale. This one will be special to book lovers everywhere.

What did you think of this review?

Helpful
0
Thought-Provoking
0
Fun to Read
0
Well-Organized
0
Post a Comment
More The Uncommon Reader: A Novella reviews
review by . April 25, 2009
It's good to be Queen, but it does have its drawbacks -- long periods of tedium in slow-moving vehicles, a relentless round of ceremonial duties, and a bird's eye view of everyday life. What better solution to these drawbacks than the pages of a good book?      The Uncommon Reader: A Novella is a quirky little book about Queen Elizabeth II and her discovery of the joys of reading. Pursuing her yapping corgis through the grounds of Windsor Castle, she ends up in the library bookmobile …
review by . April 06, 2008
It's good to be Queen, but it does have its drawbacks -- long periods of tedium in slow-moving vehicles, a relentless round of ceremonial duties, and a bird's eye view of everyday life. What better solution to these drawbacks than the pages of a good book?    The Uncommon Reader: A Novella is a quirky little book about Queen Elizabeth II and her discovery of the joys of reading. Pursuing her yapping corgis through the grounds of Windsor Castle, she ends up in the library bookmobile …
review by . March 27, 2008
This short and sweet novella is many things: humorous, witty, insightful, linguistic, intelligent, and even mysterious. We follow Queen Elizabeth II of England as she discovers a love for reading late in life; her thirst for books is one many a bibliophile can relate to. Those of us who have friends and relatives who occasionally insist that we need to set aside books to "interact" or "try something else" will recognize a kindred spirit in Her Majesty as the queen hides books nearby in order to …
review by . October 21, 2007
For such a slim novella, "The Uncommon Reader" operates on many levels. Most obviously, it is a charming, comedic story. But it's also a meditation on the merits ... and the limits ... of books and reading as a means of opening one's eyes (as the book's subject might say) and softening one's sensibilities. It's about what an awakening familiarity with literature can do to a person, and also the havoc it can create for people who expect life to be led in certain familiar pattern. That's a lot to …
About the reviewer
Sam Sattler ()
Ranked #254
Oil company professional of almost 40 years experience who has worked in oil-producing countries around the world. I love books, baseball and bluegrass music and hope to dedicate myself to those hobbies … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

You
SamSattler
Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this book

Wiki

From the author of The History Boys and The Clothes They Stood Up In
A deliciously funny novella that celebrates the pleasure of reading.
When the Queen in pursuit of her wandering corgis stumbles upon a
mobile library she feels duty bound to borrow a book. Aided by
Norman, a young man from the palace kitchen who frequents the
library, Bennett describes the Queen's transformation as she
discovers the liberating pleasures of the written word. With the
poignant and mischievous wit of The History Boys, England's best
loved author revels in the power of literature to change even the
most uncommon reader's life.
view wiki

Details

ISBN-10: 0374280967
ISBN-13: 978-0374280963
Author: Alan Bennett
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (September 18, 2007)
First to Review

"Queen Everyman"
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
()
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since
reviews
comments
ratings
questions
compliments
lists