Diary of an Ordinary Woman, 1914-1995

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Vintage, 2004 - Diary fiction - 407 pages
"'Sometimes I have the feeling I'm going to turn out to be something queer when I grow up. Mathilda is so ordinary, she makes me feel special. I am not like her. I want to be different, I don't know how. Mathilda hates to be different. I am different already.' Millicent King, 26 November 1914
"'There was nothing ordinary about this woman. Indeed, I now wonder if there is any such thing as an ordinary life at all.'
Margaret Forster, Introduction to "Diary of an Ordinary Woman
Millicent King is an 'ordinary' woman living through extraordinary times in this brilliantly conceived piece of fictional memoir writing. Diary of an Ordinary Woman is the edited diary of fictional woman Millicent King (1901-1995). From the age of 13, on the eve of the Great War, Millicent King keeps her journals in a series of exercise books. The diary records the dramas of everyday life in an ordinary English family touched by war, tragedy and money troubles in the early decades of the century. With vividness, she records her brother's injury, her father's death from pneumonia, the family's bankruptcy, giving up college to take a soul-destroying job as a shop assistant. Millicent struggles to become a teacher, but wants more out of life. From Bohemian literary London to Rome in the twenties, her story moves on to social work, the General Strike, the Depression Era of the 1930's and the build-up to the Second World-War in which she drives ambulances through the bombed streets of London. This is followed by her experience of the Swinging Sixties and Maggie Thatcher's Britain. She has proposals of marriage and secret lovers, ambition and optimism, but her life is turned upside down by wartime deaths. Hereis twentieth-century woman in close-up coping with the tragedies and upheavals of women's lives. Her ordinary life proves unexpectedly absorbing and, at times, extremely moving showing that, above all, the most ordinary lives are often extraordinary...

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User Review  - Northern_Light - LibraryThing

This is nothing like an ordinary woman. Millicent through her diaries takes us from the start of WWI until she is 94. It makes you live her life with her and you really experience all she goes through ... Read full review

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User Review  - bookwoman247 - LibraryThing

Millicent King was just an ordinary woman who lived through two world wars and the devastating loss that entails, into the age of anti-nuclear, anti-war, feminist protests and marches of the 1960's ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Margaret Forster was born in Carlisle in 1938 and educated at the Carlisle and County High School for Girls. From here she won an open scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford where she was awarded an honours degree in History. After her exams she married the writer Hunter Davies, whom she met and fell in love with at the age of 17. She became a schoolteacher in Islington, North London (between 1961-63) briefly before embarking on a writing career. She first achieved fame in 1965 with her second book, Georgy Girl which was made into a film.
Since 1963, Margaret Forster has worked as a novelist, biographer and freelance literary critic, contributing regularly to book programmes on television, to radio 4 and various newspapers and magazines. She was a member of the BBC Advisory Committee on the Social Effects of Television from 1975-77 and of the Arts Council Literary Panel from 1978-81, as well as the chief non-fiction reviewer for the "London Evening Standard" from 1977-80.
She is the author of the bestselling memoirs, Hidden Lives (a memoir of her own family) and""Precious Lives. Her acclaimed biographies include the biography of Daphne du Maurier, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Amongst Margaret Forster's many successful novels are Lady's Maid, Private Papers and The Memory Box.
She now lives with her husband, Hunter Davies and their three children, Caitlin, Jake and Flora. They live half the year in North London and half the year at their cottage in the Lake District.

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