A witty memoir about the trials of adolescence, the tribulations of family life and the embarrassment that ensues from having larger-than-life parents Neville and Liz Hodgkinson bought into the Thatcherite dream of home ownership, aspiration and advancement. The first children of their working class parents to go to university and have professional careers, they lived in a semi-detached house in Richmond, sent their sons Tom and Will to private school, and went on holiday to Greece once a year. Neville was an award-winning science writer and Liz was a high-earning tabloid hack. Then a disastrous boat holiday, followed by a life-threatening bout of food poisoning from a contaminated turkey, led to the search for a new way of life. Nev joined the Brahma Kumaris, who believe evolution is a myth, time is circular, and a forthcoming Armageddon will make way for a new Golden Age. Out went drunken dinner parties and Victorian decor schemes; in came large women in saris meditating in the living room and lurid paintings of smiling deities on the walls. Liz took the arrival of the Brahma Kumaris as a chance to wage all-out war on convention, from announcing her newfound celibacy on prime time television to writing books that questioned the value of getting married and raising children. By an unfortunate coincidence, this dramatic and highly public transformation of the self coincided with the onset of Will's adolescence. This is his story.
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Will Hodgkinson grew up in a larger-than-life family. His father, Neville, was an award-winning science writer until he received a calling from the Brahma Kumaris in 1983. He currently lives with them on a retreat in Oxfordshire. His mother, Liz, continues to write for the Daily Mail. His brother, Tom, created the Idler. As well as working as the rock and pop critic for The Times, Will decided it was high-time to record his family's colourful story.Review:
'An affecting, and very funny, evocation of adolescence' Telegraph 'A My Family and Other Middle-Class Animals let loose in the jungle of Thatcher's suburban Britain. The result is a howlingly entertaining memoir that is raw, affectionate and, unbelievably, true' The Sunday Times 'An utterly charming, funny and touching memoir' Sathnam Sanghera, author of Marriage Material 'Endearing' Observer 'I have been banned from reading in bed as it makes me laugh out loud too much ... Punishingly funny, and wonderfully written' Rachel Johnson, Mail on Sunday 'A rip-roaringly funny read' Viv Groskop, Red 'Thoughtful, heartfelt and so well drawn ... [It] deserves to become as well loved as My Family and Other Animals' Travis Elborough, author of London Bridge in America 'I laughed until I levitated' Jarvis Cocker
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