Valerie Grove

The Voice of Everywoman

Memoirs of a Not So Dutiful Daughter

By

Bantam Press 320pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Fanny Burney’s famous account of having her breast cut off without anaesthetic in 1812 was recently read out on Woman’s Hour, a programme whose unflinching and trustworthy ethos is personified in its presenter, Jenni Murray. Whether listening to harrowing tales of pain and loss and human indomitability, or beadily interrogating devious politicians, or confessing to idolising interviewees like Joan Baez, she is the voice of Everywoman. A mother, a daughter of aged parents, a tidy housekeeper, a wife (marrying her children’s father after twenty years together), she is a fallible modern woman who eats too much, smokes too much and approaches the age of sixty with a thinly veiled air of chippiness, the residue of being ‘the working-class girl from Barnsley’ who has always feared being found out.

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