Yet another Alan Bennett book; I was on a bit of a roll and once I’d discovered how good his books were I couldn’t stop reading more and more of him! This book had me chuckling just from the first few pages so I anticipated it would be another great story. It is the story of Mr Midgley’s father seriously ill in hospital, and how this makes Mr Midgley assess his own life and his feelings towards his father.

I particularly loved the details of Parents’ Evening at the school and the main purpose of the evening being an opportunity for the teachers to judge and criticise the dress and mannerisms of the parents, ‘That was the real point of these get-togethers. The teachers were appalled by the parents but found their shortcomings reassuring. With parents like these, they reasoned, who could blame the schools?’ I also enjoyed a mother giving graphic details about the heaviness of her daughter’s periods to an startled teacher.

I also found Mr Midgley’s attempt to navigate the hospital switchboard extremely funny. And other wonderfully comical scenes featured Mr Midgley’s Aunty Kitty with her rambling comments, her overt displays of sympathy and pity when discussing magazine articles, and especially her veiled criticisms of Mr Midgley loosely disguised as compliments such as Mr Midgeley’s father being, “A saint. You take after your mother more.”

Such a witty and wonderful book.

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