A Woman of my Age – Nina Bawden

This is the first Virago Modern Classic I’ve read in it’s traditional green spine. Lovely to read, the perfect length for this type of story at 160 pages.

Having just finished it I’m struck at how fitting the title is. Five short words convey so much. It is on the one hand the deeply personal experience of one woman, a woman of a certain age living in a certain age. At the same time I suspect it could be the story of many women and this is captured in the title as well.

Elizabeth is on holiday in Morocco with her husband of eighteen years, Richard. As they make their way around the country, Elizabeth takes the time to reflect on their marriage. A marriage it would be fair to say that has been rather mundane and one of comprise in her eyes. It doesn’t sound like especially enjoyable reading does it but it actually was. Saved from being too gloomy by delightfully wicked thoughts and observations scattered throughout – I found myself laughing away on the train, always a good sign, especially on the way to work!

Thrown into the mix to help Elizabeth cement her thoughts are Flora, an old friend of Richards who coincidentally happens to be in Morocco at the same time and an older couple – ‘Daddy’ and Mrs Hobbs who they meet along the way.

We learn about the upbringing Elizabeth had with her somewhat unconventional Aunts and the conflict she has between wanting to pursue a career in politics and being seen to be a good wife and mother.

A lot to ponder in this little green book – a nice introduction to Nina Bawden and the Virago Modern Classics which I’ve read for Rachel and Carolyn’s Virago Reading Week. I’m not sure I would have chosen to read this otherwise. I’m glad I did, it’s a real treat.

First published in 1967
160 pages


11 responses to “A Woman of my Age – Nina Bawden

  1. Nina Bawden is an author I loved as a child but I’ve never read one of her adult novels. This sounds very subtle and perceptive, and I will make sure I pick it up soon! Thank you for a brilliant review, and for highlighting a lesser read Virago. I’m so glad you’ve managed to take part in our reading week!

    • bookssnob – Thank you for finding the time to comment during what must be a hectic week! I was interested to read Nina Bawden is a children’s author as well – I think it must take a talented writer to be able to pull off both. She is definitely an author I will look out for again.

  2. Pingback: Virago Round Up: Day Four! | Book Snob

  3. Interesting review, I’m loving discovering so many forgotten early feminist authors, and I was curious about Nina Bawden from putting together the Virago list by author and seeing how many of her books they’d republished.

    • Carolyn – me too, loving discovering all these fantastic books – thanks so much to you both for hosting this week and highlighting all these great reading opportunities. My wish list has grown substantially this week!

  4. Sounds interesting! I’ll have to check if our library has this one.

  5. I’ve not read any Nina Bawden I think though I have looked at her books many times. I feel I have reached that Certain Age and this must be put on my TBR pile ! 🙂 Love the cover too.

    • Alex – your comment made me laugh! I too have reached that certain age 0:) I hope you enjoy it ( the book and the certain age). The cover is great isn’t it?

  6. I have an interest in following up writers I have known primarily as the authors of children’s books (particularly women) so this post was of great interest to me.

    Definitely convinced. Thank you!

  7. Sarah – You’re welcome and thank you! I will be interested to see how you think her adult writing compares to the children’s stories. I hope you enjoy.

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