Magazine article The Spectator

Getting on and Getting By

Magazine article The Spectator

Getting on and Getting By

Article excerpt

NO! I DON'T WANT TO JOIN A BOOKCLUB by Virginia Ironside Penguin/Fig Tree, £12.99, pp. 247, ISBN 057122637X . £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655

This is the sketchy diary of a 60year-old woman with an amusing, runaway pen, written over 19 months. She is scatty, impulsive, open-minded and living cheerfully in Shepherd's Bush, which never ceases to intrigue her ('Today I saw a man standing on his head in the middle of the pavement'). Wide-eyed and aware of men, it is easy to see her as Bridget Jones's mother, but she is not silly. She is strong in adversity, loyal to sick friends whom she sees through to the end and she expresses her fearless if curmudgeonly opinions even at her own dinner parties, where, often, silence falls. She is a passionate atheist, though the last entry has her embracing a black evangelical priest.

Her big theme is that being 60 does not mean you have to bicycle to outer Mongolia or start paragliding. …

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