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This is an autobiography of Janice up to the age of 11, detailing her life growing up in Scotland in the 1950s and 60s with her elderly mother who is very selfless and tries her very best, and her sister Cora who is by contrast a selfish and quite cruel person.

I found the book quite slow and frustrating, particularly at first, and didn’t like Janice as she just seemed to complain about everything. In fact, the level of her dissatisfaction and complaining led me to suspect she was building up to reveal she’d been abused as a child, and then her unhappiness and dissatisfaction would have been fully justified and understandable, but this wasn’t the case (thankfully, obviously). I did get more drawn in as the book went on, so felt the beginning was the weaker part of the novel. I also begun to warm to Janice, and I did feel sorry for her being so withdrawn and quiet and lonely, and I wanted to continue reading to find out what happened to her.

I must admit to questioning how anyone could remember so accurately all the tiny little details and exact conversations from their early life, as Janice seems to be able to do; I couldn’t help wondering if it was all true or if (quite naturally) she had misremembered or misconstrued things, and how much her memories were affected by the fact she was now judging them as an adult and putting an adult’s perspective on them.

On reaching the end of the book, I did want to know what happened to some of the other people in the book, such as Janice’s friend Donna and her sudden disappearance, and particularly Janice’s mum and whether she ever again attempted to harm herself as well as the reasoning behind what she did, as I imagine (as an adult) Janice is aware of more of the background to this act. However, even though I wanted these answers I don’t think I enjoyed the book enough to want to go on and read the next book and instalment of her life story.