Vanity Fair (1848) by William Makepeace Thackeray

I finished reading this more than a month ago, well ahead of the review-along date.  Plenty of time.  Then I went away for a week – all planned – and totally forgot that the review was due to be posted the very day I got home.  Not a word written. Ah well.  A little preamble then, to explain that this has been written in haste and may turn out to be a very short review of a very long book.  (Or a rather long review which doesn’t say much.)

Such a long book, in fact, that I doubt I would ever have read it without the review-along, so thank you, fellow reviewers.  I can at least cross this doorstopper off the list.  What I can’t do is say whether I enjoyed it.  I didn’t dislike it certainly, but neither did I soak it up.  It’s easy to read and made me laugh occasionally but there was nothing in all its 800+ pages which really made me feel it was worth the how-ever-many hours it took to read.  That said, I’m glad to have read it.

(Now to come clean and say that after I’d written my own review but before publishing it I foolishly read the marvellous reviews of everyone else!  Hence a disclaimer: everyone else loved it and saw all the humour and characterisation and produced marvellous, insightful reviews which I urge you to read for yourselves.  In contrast – after all, one can have too much of a good thing – I have produced a dreary, holier-than-thou, damp squib of a review which I’d quite like to screw up and toss in the bin.  But that would be cowardly.  So here it is, gripes and all!)

There are some factors which stand out as putting Thackeray’s opus at a disadvantage with me from the off.  I’m not a fan of satire which is exactly what Vanity Fair is.  The title was first used in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.  Thackeray uses the phrase in a slightly different guise.  In Thackeray’s ‘Vanity Fair’ he argues that everyone seeks the approval of their fellows and as many rewards as they can grasp, generally in the forms of success, status and wealth.  This sounds depressingly familiar.  Society now seems even more in the grip of Vanity Fair than it was then. Have we learned nothing?  If little has changed in the 170-odd years since the novel was published, can I still dare to hope that one day humans will as a species become kinder?  I’ll try.  (When I’ve finished polishing my halo…)

I shouldn’t have been surprised really, that most of the characters were unpleasant.  To be expected I suppose, in a satire.  Those who weren’t conniving and merrily trampling over their fellows appeared as weak and spineless, nice but powerless pawns in the scurrilous game of life.  Although it’s fair to say that the nice ones did get a few rewards eventually, no one lived happily ever after and I found them almost more irritating than the villains of the piece.   While I’m still on my soapbox, I was genuinely angered by the racist references.  Normally I’m able to acknowledge what was acceptable language for its time.  On this occasion it got to me, tangled up perhaps with that sense that too little has changed since Thackeray was writing.  I accept, it is only a book.  I know – I’m taking it all too seriously…

In a nutshell, Thackeray introduces us to two young women as they leave school: wealthy Amelia – sweet, innocent and virtuous, and Becky Sharp – penniless, alone in the world and ruthless in her desire to acquire wealth and status.   Their lives weave together and drift apart throughout the course of the book which opens a few years before the Battle of Waterloo and continues for several decades beyond.  Along the way there is a huge array of characters, all trying to make their way and advance in the world, usually at the expense of someone else.  I enjoyed the first half of the novel more than the second.   By the second half I was bored of Becky’s shenanigans and disliked her heartily.  But also by then I disliked Amelia too, for being so pathetic.

And yet, I did keep reading and not entirely because of the review-along.  There is no denying that Thackeray made me laugh at times.  Even I was amused at the outrageous names bestowed on his unfortunate nobility and several set pieces had me snorting aloud.

“After which kind of speeches, in which fashion and the main chance were blended together, and after a kiss, which was like the contact of an oyster – Mrs Frederick Bullock would gather her starched nurslings and simper back into her carriage.”

And as Becky begins, yet again, to worm her way back into the hapless Jos’s favour:

“And she began, forthwith, to tell her story – a tale so neat, simple, and artless that it was quite evident from hearing her that if ever there was a white-robed angel escaped from heaven to be subject to the infernal machinations and villainy of fiends here below, that spotless being – that miserable, unsullied martyr, was present on the bed before Jos – on the bed, sitting on the brandy bottle.”

I think Jos – Joseph Sedley, lifelong bachelor, lover of fine wine and fine waistcoats, larger than life brother of Amelia – is my favourite character.  Pompous and inflated by cowardly bravado yet appealingly ingenuous in a cast of so many scheming characters. I was always on his side, hoping he might escape the traps laid for him.  And his attempts at speaking French were very funny indeed.

Which leads me to Dickens.  I find it impossible not to think of Dickens when I think of Thackeray and in my view, Dickens is by far the better writer not least because he can transcribe dialects and accents and quirks of voice in a way which is easy for the reader to absorb.  I had to work much harder with Thackeray’s efforts. 

And that leads me to the role of the narrator in Vanity Fair.  Thackeray frames Vanity Fair as a puppet show, looking back at events from some decades earlier.  But at times the narrator takes on a gossipy tone, relaying information second or third hand and occasionally appearing in the story himself.  I wasn’t bothered by this and given that he was writing in instalments under deadlines, I can forgive him.  In fact, I quite liked it.  But for me, Dickens has a surer grip on his narrators. 

Dickens is far from perfect of course and it is refreshing to find a variety of female characters in Vanity Fair who are not simperingly lovely in face, weak and passive in heart.  I wondered if Thackeray had Dickens in mind when he wrote this:

“Sick-bed homilies and pious reflections are, to be sure, out of place in mere story-books, and we are not going (after the fashion of some novelists of the present day) to cajole the public into a sermon, when it is only a comedy that the reader pays his money to witness.”

I would like to think that Thackeray was writing a comedy with the intention of making people laugh.  (And in this he succeeded for me at least.)  Certainly in his letters he apparently stressed that it was not his intention to preach.  But he also claimed, in response to critics who (like me) were disappointed at Thackeray’s dark portrayal of human nature, that he mostly saw people as “abominably foolish and selfish”.  A black comedy indeed in that case, with little sign of redemption for us poor humans.

Maybe I’m just too serious?  Maybe I need to get a life! 

The reviews are listed below and are well worth reading. Thanks to all of them for nudging me into reading this worthy tome!

Fiction Fan’s review (which also includes insightful comments from Alyson & Christine who join the review-alongs but don’t have blogs of their own)

Rose’s review

Jane’s review

Madame Bibliophile’s review

Loulou’s review

63 thoughts on “Vanity Fair (1848) by William Makepeace Thackeray”

  1. I really enjoyed your review Jane so I’m pleased you didn’t throw it in the bin! I also found myself thinking how little has changed with what Thackeray is satirising. Although he was writing about the military rather than political leaders, I thought so much of what he said about those who lead was still dishearteningly relevant. It would be so nice to read a centuries old satire and think ‘thank goodness we’ve moved beyond all that now…’!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m not a huge fan of satire, either, although some work better than others. The characters are too pat, too one dimensional. I have never been tempted to read “Vanity Fair,” and your review makes me think this is a good decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a good review, what are you talking about, throwing it in the bin pah! (I think I’m the one who’s being all worthy!) I think there is a happy ending with Jane Crawley in the coutryside with all the children and that makes it typically Victorian doesn’t it, in that town v country debate? Unfortunately I agree that so much of what he says feels remarkably fresh

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You made me laugh, Jane! And yes, Jane Crawley does manage her situation (and those of others which impact on her own) with grace and sensitivity. It’s perhaps a measure of my own state of mind that I rather overlooked her. Or perhaps by the time she really came to the fore I was autopilot. It is a VERY long book! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had read Vanity Fair decades ago, and had written a review of my own of the pen and paper type, which of course got recycled with elements of Mother Nature at some indeterminate moment. All I can remember now that it had left me with many mixed feelings. I had disliked the conclusion too. I have reread many fat books, but I’ll never reread this one, or Doctor Zhivago, even though I loved the latter. The unmistakable takeaway from your review is how humans remain unchanged, or perhaps have become worse in their vanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Doctor Zhivago is another on my long list of unread classics that I may get to one day, Uma. I’m glad to have read Vanity Fair but I won’t be reading it again 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting response, and just because you felt differently to others doesn’t make your review invalid. Satire is not for all, and we might not all want to read about annoying characters. The comparison you make with Dickens made me pause, too, because I have been thinking about reading Vanity Fair, but of course Dickens is usually better than most…. ;D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right of course, Karen. I think I was just having a moment – allowing circumstances to trickle into the blogosphere. Which is fine in itself but it didn’t add much in this instance 😉 I know you’read the other reviews from the reviewalong so you’ll have a fair idea of what to expect from VF if you get to it. I stuck with it through 800 pages so clearly it has some merit!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. oh Sandra, you made me laugh and smile with your honest review. I certainly never will read this heavy tome as I still have some 200+ books in E to devour first… and those are ‘just the ones I love to read’ – so no hurry to go for one I don’t think I’d enjoy anyway…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely Kiki 😊 It’s not heavy as such – quite easy to read. But demoralising for this reader at least. Stick to what you enjoy and makes you smile. We all need smiles in our lives!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. with ‘heavy’ I didn’t mean the content but its actual weight, 800+ pages weigh heavily when the book is falling on your face before you fall asleep 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s great to see a different take on this. We all loved it, but I can see why it didn’t quite work for you. I’m not generally the world’s biggest fan of satire either, but I was able to find enough humor in this for it to seem fairly light in comparrison to others I have attempted to read. It was also a re-read for me, so I suppose I knew what to expect. In my heart, I would say I prefer Dickens also, but I found re-visiting Thackeray a nice change.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Alyson 😊 With hindsight, had I begun VF with the intention on enjoying the humour I would probably have got on better with it. But we live and learn! I’m glad to have read it and ticked it off the list but it won’t be getting a re-read from me!

      Like

  8. Haha, well I enjoyed your “mean” review very much! Funnily enough, it’s all the things that put you off it that I enjoyed! I agree that it’s an extremely cynical view of humanity, but I’m a cynic – you only have to look around to see that people are just as Thackeray portrayed them, and that human nature continues unchanged however much we pretend we’ve improved (if we’re optimists) or decayed (if we’re pessimists). In fact, most people do good if it’s easy enough, but are far more interested in their own and their families’ comfort than in the rest of humanity’s – otherwise we’d all be polishing our haloes endlessly! 😉😇 Madame Bibi paraphrased Jean Rhys as saying “morals are a privilege of the comfortably off, and those with choices (mainly men)” and I must admit that entirely sums up my view of human nature. If Becky hadn’t have been Becky, she’d have ended up as Miss Briggs. Society wouldn’t have rewarded her for being an angel – they’d have ignored, abused and demeaned her. Go, Becky, I say! Only Dickens (whom, as you know, I love more than chocolate) believed that good people win and bad people lose – and as a man who built a wall down the middle of his bedroom to hint to his wife that things weren’t going well, I’m not sure how much he really believed it himself! 😉 Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed it enough to want to finish it, and it’s a pretty big box to tick off your list! And I’m glad you took a different view – what a dull world if we all agreed about everything! *FF chucks her copy of Johnson’s Dictionary out of the coach window and drives off to the gambling den*

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have delayed replying to you in the hope that if I read your thoughts on a new day, I’d find a more positive view of humanity hidden in there somewhere. But no! You still fill me with gloom because of course, what you say is cynically accurate. Does this make me naïve, I ask myself? Perhaps. But I have to think that there’s hope for improvement. Otherwise, why bother? That said, I have adjusted my view of humanity just a tad. I am reminding myself that no one is perfect; we’re all flawed. (Even Dickens built walls.) Collectively, that’s a lot of failings, no wonder we’re rubbish as a species! And Becky, poor little Becky, she just got more flaws than most. I can almost feel sorry for her now 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha, yes, my comment was a bit bleak! However, if it cheers you up any, that doesn’t mean I take a completely bleak view of the future prospects for humanity! I just think that since every individual is flawed and since those flaws tend to be accentuated in people with poorer prospects, then the solution is to develop a society and a world where prospects are better for us all! Also by continuing to develop laws to deal with new issues as they arise, or old issues as we collectively decide they’re a problem. Hate speech, for instance, or radicalisation. It never stops all the bad stuff but it’s society’s way of collectively deciding what should be acceptable behaviour. So I do think we’re collectively better as a society and getting more so, even though I think individually we’re just the same as we’ve always been… 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If only I could bring myself to master Twitter we could have a nice little exchange about this 😂 You might even convince me of a thing or two 😁 (I finally found your greeting btw, but not how to reply to it! )

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Haha, if you want to retain any belief at all in the potential goodness of humanity, my advice is to stay as far away from the Twitter cesspit as you possibly can! 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Well, I’ve always thought that, hence making very little effort to learn how to use it. But you’re there, FF, so I’m wondering what that means… 🤔😉

            Like

  9. I love this review, Sandra, because it is so honest. I plan to read this next year so it is very timely. It’s not very helpful for people who haven’t read a book to only hear the raves, if someone else truly did not like it or had issues. I wonder what I will think? I will try to keep your thoughts in mind after I finish. I wonder which side of the fence I will find myself on?!!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Yay! I’m so glad you didn’t toss your review, Sandra. Different points of view are what make the world go around.
    I’m amused by Jos being your favourite character. He meant well, and like Amelia, saw the best in the people he loved. But as a character, he was there to be used by Becky (much like everyone else). The times might have changed, but clearly human nature hasn’t.
    Not having read a great deal of Dickens, I saw Thackeray and Vanity Fair as more separate, but am interested to see that you along with some of the other reviewers have made comparisons and that Dickens usually comes out on top. I’m not sure that Dickens ever created such a resourceful female character, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Poor Jos! 😀 I think I liked him because he seemed harmless in his bumbling ways. Such an innocent! But it interests me that I failed to cite Jane Crawley as the one genuinely good and honorable character. She is presented as rather beige really and didn’t stand out. So I noticed her but she didn’t stick. Plus, I suspect that by the time she was coming into her own I’d switched on the autopilot 😂 Re Dickens, his female characters are a great weakness I think. Dickens himself treated his wife abominably. But of those of his novels I’ve read, I can’t help but admire his abilities. Thackeray…? 🤔 Not so much! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jos was an innocent, wasn’t he. I’ve wondered a little about his and Amelia’s similarities as siblings and can’t think of many.
        I didn’t notice Lady Jane at all, as was much too interested in what Becky was up to!
        Have you read anything else by Thackeray? I plan to, soon.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Vanity Fair is the only work by Thackeray that I know of. I’m sure he’s written many others and I’ll look forward to your thoughts on your next sampling from him. Personally, I can’t see myself choosing anything else of his. I’ll stick with Dickens!

          Liked by 1 person

  11. I thought this was going to be another glowing review, Sandra, so it was quite refreshing to read a different opinion! I wasn’t particularly impressed by this book either when I read it a few years ago. Although I did enjoy parts of it, I felt that my time could have been better spent reading Dickens or Trollope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’m with you on Dickens certainly, Helen. I’ve only read a few short stories from Trollope and they didn’t make much impression on me. I must try something longer from him.

      Like

  12. I remember that I loved this one and wondered why it had taken me so long to get around to reading it. I learned quite a lot too. I had no idea that battle tourism was a thing, with people in carriages viewing it all from the edge of the battlefield – if I’m remembering correctly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the book and you are right, Katrina. The early sections in Belgium were among my most favourite part and like you, I was astonished at what went on. I wonder if part of the reason I enjoyed this section is because we don’t do things that way any more. Here is something where we have improved matters!

      Like

  13. Well you have taken me back to one of the most dreadful curriculum choices of my college years. For reasons unknown I signed up for “Novels of the Nineteenth Century.”(All British. That was assumed at the time.) And we had to read one a week, including “Vanity Fair.” I remember endless hours of lying on my bed reading hundreds of pages of tiny print and ruing the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oooh, I quite forgot I hadn’t commented! It’s years and years since I read Vanity Fair: I had a bit of a Thackeray moment in my late teens, and found him more accessible than Dickens, whom I still (whisper) struggle with rather. I quite enjoyed Trollope too – in smallish doses. Still, I can’t see that I’ll return to these books – once may have been enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I really enjoyed your review, Sandra. And there is nothing wrong with having an opinion, which differs from others. As you say, it would be boring, if we all thought the same. I’ve never had any intensions of reading this book. Just the sheer length of it….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it takes a certain amount of fortitude, Stargazer! And on audio, which I know you prefer, it would be a mammoth undertaking! You’re wise to pass on this one 😊

      Like

  16. I haven’t read this tome, but I appreciate an honest review and what I like about yours is that it feels what you might admit in a conversation with a friend, you know, the truth.

    How we respond to a book does seem to sit alongside who we are and what we appreciate, unless we are reading in academia or a classroom, which we are not, so bravo I say. I love the review, and now know not to go seeking this book, nor is it the TBR thankfully.

    My only criticism is when the narrator of the review begins to critique the narrator (themselves), I have to diverge when it comes to those opinions of “taking oneself too seriously” in the spirit of making it a kindlier world, starting with oneself. Rather, I see an authentic, genuine, valid response to a reading experience, that has tremendous value to other readers, proof of which comes from the great number of appreciative comments and visits to a little corner of Cornwall.

    Personally, I think that expression ought to be banned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha, thank you Claire! You are quite right in your criticism. I would not normally be swayed in this way and had I posted my review on the same day as everyone else it would have been a different matter. There are circumstances well outside the book review which give me cause to second guess and doubt myself more often than I would like and some of that insecurity crept in here. Next time I have a critical review to post, I will not apologise for it! (But I’ll still try to critique it nicely 😉 )

      Like

  17. I ploughed through ‘Vanity Fair’ before starting university – it was on our reading list – and couldn’t help wondering what the point of it was (perhaps I was too young?). I enjoyed reading your review, which makes me feel that perhaps I wasn’t such an ignoramus after all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne, a number of us read it and posted our thoughts at the same time. I was very much in the minority! But at least it’s done and dusted now. I won’t be re-reading it!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. This was one of my 20 Books of Summer reads that I ran out of time for. I was looking forward to it before. Perversely, now I’ve read your review, I’m looking forward to it even more. Perhaps because Thackeray skewers the awfulness and stupidity of people in a way that’s still relevant. As an historian, I’m very cynical about people, there being so much historical evidence of our inability to learn from the past or to be little other than self serving as a species. Our animal nature is only thinly veneered with civility.

    What you say about the racism present in the book and how it made you feel is interesting. The casual racism of the past seems jarring to me today, in ways it wouldn’t have been even 10 years ago, because the voices of people towards whom racism is directed are better heard now, and feigning deafness towards those voices, from a position of social privilege where deafness feels comfortable, is inexcusable. Reading what was social convention from an earlier time should make us feel angry now, I think, and should be a spur to do better ourselves now. We can’t change the past, but we should learn from it.

    I’m glad you didn’t toss out this review, Sandra!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan, thank you for your comments 😊 I’m glad my thoughts are encouraging you to read this one! I’m just about to post this month’s six degrees which also ended up on the same self-serving theme. Whilst I totally take your point on human nature, and the logical side of me accepts the argument, I shall continue to look for the positives. There is good in most of us! Most people are kind!

      Your comments on racism in books are spot on. You’ve helped me to identify why I was angry about the references in this book and that’s a positive. How do you stand on the debate about banning books with racist references? Or removing such references? (Probably several posts worth of material to answer those questions!)

      Like

      1. I find it a really difficult one to take a position on, if I’m honest, Sandra. Part of me feels that we shouldn’t hide the fact that racism is a white Western imperial construct, which banning books feels like doing, but I’m also aware that I have the freedom to say that because I have never lived a life where the colour of my skin has been used to classify me as subhuman, and I don’t carry centuries of pain wrought by the slavery system. Part of me believes that it is for the people who experience racism to decide. The presence of racist language and attitudes in books from previous eras impacts them more precisely than it does me. The worst I feel is uncomfortable or upset by it.

        Contemporary books are a different matter, because there is no excuse to hide behind, no sweeping it away with a ‘that’s how things were’ type shrug. I don’t think contemporary books should be banned, either, because it pushes the issue out of sight. Instead, I think anyone who uses racist language or displays racist attitudes in their writing now should be called out on it, whether it’s inadvertent because the author doesn’t realise their language is racist or whether it’s blatant because the author owns their racism and wants to promulgate it. I think about the recent calling out of Kate Clanchy, the (white) teacher who regularly puts her (diverse) pupils at the heart of her writing, who was challenged by writers of colour about the language she had used to describe pupils from diverse cultural and ethnic communities and immediately went on the defensive, pulling in other white writers to defend her, instead of listening to what people from the communities she couldn’t see she was offending were saying. She did eventually reflect on what had been pointed out to her. I wonder whether, if she had been cancelled or banned, that reflection might not have happened.

        Ultimately, all I can do when I encounter racism is examine my own attitude and challenge myself to do better personally, and to stand alongside the people who are directly harmed by it in fighting against it.

        And of course I agree that there is good in most people, and a fair number of us manage to rise above base instincts. My cynicism mostly relates to those who are seduced by power and actively seek to punch down on their scramble to the top of whatever grubby pile attracts them!

        I’ll look forward to reading your six degrees. I haven’t had time or inclination this weekend. Perhaps you’ll spur me on 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jan, thank you! I so appreciate the clarity with which you explain your position. (And I mean that with all manner of subjects not just in this instance.) The Kate Clanchy example is a good one. I also think of Hugh Lofting’s Dr Doolittle books, partly because I’ve written about the series and racism (link below) and partly because I’m reading his long poem for adults at the moment, in which he decries the deaths and destruction that arise from war so he’s very much in my mind. The editing of his children’s books followed by the release of an unedited version illustrates our confusion over the question in general, it seems to me. You have encouraged me to set off on a quest that’s long overdue: to understand more in this regard. I don’t expect to arrive at answers, just a greater understanding and respect for the issues. That’s a start 😊

          (Delighted to see a six degrees post from you too. I’ll be over later!)

          Reading Rambles: Rabbits, Bears and other talking animals

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I remember reading your post when you wrote it last year, Sandra, because I also have a conflicted relationship with the Milly Molly Mandy books! I was sure I’d commented, but apparently not.

            I’ve only read the first Dr Doolittle book. It was one of my favourites when I was 6 or 7. I don’t recall any racial slurs or stereotypes, but perhaps they wouldn’t have registered at the time, living in a time and place where racism was commonplace and only swearing was warned against. As I’ve examined my own attitudes in recent years, I’ve discovered a lot of inherited ideas and attitudes buried in my subconscious that came from my parents and their attitude towards people of colour. My parents weren’t bad people, but they were racist and used racist language, and it shocks me how much I absorbed as a child. Reading about the current scandal at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, the language being rightly called out was everyday language when I was growing up. Nobody using it gave it a second thought. Horrible.

            You’ve made me think about the intersection between historic expressions of racism in literature and the specific case of children’s books. I don’t have children and haven’t had to navigate the tension between wanting my child to enjoy the books I read as a child and discovering that those books are less innocent than I thought. Children’s brains are so plastic and ready to absorb it’s hard to believe that a book that includes racist language and attitudes won’t in some way cause racism to become subconsciously embedded. I can absolutely see a case for removing racist stereotypes and language from books like the Dr Doolittle series, and a case for explicitly saying that that has been done, so that it doesn’t hide anything away. But I also think that it would be a good thing to move on from children’s books of yesteryear that don’t reflect modern society and instead champion books by contemporary children’s writers that ensure that all children feel represented, and can see that their friends are represented, too. I’m not unaware, either, of the issues with the content of books by some popular children’s writers in recent months that suggest things are still far from ideal. *cough*David Walliams*cough*

            Liked by 1 person

          2. My eldest grandson is a great reader and I love how multi-cultural his choice of reading matter is. Books that weren’t available to us as children. (He does, like many children, like David Walliams books though, so I’d better temper what I’m saying a little bit.) One of my great joys watching my two grandsons growing up has been noticing the changes in how schools approach difference. Their school intake includes children from many nationalities. But they don’t see these differences; they are all pupils in a classroom. There is also a striking awareness and acceptance of neurodivergence. This is slightly off topic but it’s such a positive thing to witness and so encouraging.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. I struggle with David Walliams. He’s a repeat offender, starting with Little Britain and continuing in his children’s books. I find his brand of comedy cruel and unnecessary. But I do understand that his books are popular and encourage young boys in particular to read more than they might otherwise do.

            And yes, school is an utterly different landscape to when we were children, isn’t it, in so many positive ways. I have nieces, nephews and great nieces, and there are lots of opportunities to learn from them, I find!

            Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very kind of you, Emma. How dull life would be if we all enjoyed the same things. (Though I think everyone would agree on the delights of your October blog. I’m still enjoying those colours now!)

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: