Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reading Journal: Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther

Book Description:
Shortly before the Second World War, a column by 'Mrs. Miniver' appeared in THE TIMES, the first of many recounting the everyday events of a middle-class Chelsea family: Mrs. Miniver's thrill at the sight of October chrysanthemums; her sense of doom when the faithful but rackety car is replaced; the escapades of Vin, Toby and Judy, her unpredictable young children; visits to the Kent cottage and, as war becomes a reality, the strange experience of acquiring gas masks and the camaraderie of those unsettling early days. Mrs. Miniver enchanted the public with her sympathy and affectionate humour, capturing ordinary lives and values now darkened by war. First published in book form in 1939 and later an enormously successful film, MRS MINIVER became a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic -- with Churchill exclaiming that it had done more for the Allied cause than a flotilla of battleships.
My thoughts:
When the title Mrs. Miniver is mentioned most people will think of the film with Greer Garson. Somehow this title ended up on my TBR list and languished there until I compiled my The Classics Club list.

Mrs. Miniver is told in a series of stories, or episodes. It is very different from the film, and of course a lot better than the film. Mrs. Miniver covers an array of topics such as marriage, the war, gardening, friends, going to the dentist, flying, and so much more. The main theme throughout is how the ordinary can become extraordinary. My favorite chapter was titled "At the Dentist's" which showed that not too much has changed in how people feel about going to the dentist.

I have to say I enjoyed Mrs. Miniver immensely. It is a beautifully written story and even though set before the World War II there was so much I could relate to. You can read a few teasers here. Highly recommended!



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