Mavis Nicholson writes her memoir with skill, bringing back the sights, sounds and smells of childhood to all those who like her grew up in wartime. In this account of the joys and agonies of girlhood, she conjures up her vanished world at Briton Ferry, the small house crammed with people and Martha Jane, her dominant grandmother.
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Written with understanding and compassion, Martha Jane & Me is Mavis Nicholson's story of her relationship with her grandmother, a possessive, jealous woman, who was the dominant influence in Mavis's young life.Review:
Mavis Nicholson was born into an extraordinarily ordinary family in South Wales and grew up in the world of the working classes as they lived through two world wars and changing fortunes both globally and close to home. In this rather lovely autobiography Nicholson speaks fondly and pragmatically of her nearest and dearest, recalling with all the clarity and simplicity of a child the neighbourhood of her youth, gradually peeling away the layers of her memory as she tells the story of the little girl who grew up to be one of the Britain's most compassionate and well-respected broadcasters.
Fond memories of the terraced home she shared with her parents and grandparents and her younger twin siblings are deliciously intertwined with recollections of a burgeoning spirit of adventure fuelled by New Best Friends, bus rides to Woolworths and regular trips to the cinema, interlaced with a psychological insight that belies the tender age of the young Mavis as she wends her way through childhood. Martha Jane and Me is a gracious, likable memoir in which Nicholson's unquestioning acceptance of and fondness for the characters and events that shaped her young life shine brightly, and is filled with the kind of captivating detail that instantly transports the reader to the very heart of a small town in South Wales where the going was sometimes tough, but the tough just got on with it. --Susan Harrison
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