Started Reading: 30 Jan 2019
Finished Reading: 1 Feb 2019
I picked this book because I absolutely adore the film. I find that a satire such as this is refreshing, and hits all of the feel-good emotional triggers that a light ‘dime store’ literature does, but it also evokes intellectual appreciation of satire.
Stella Gibbons’ first novel is also the one from whom she spent her whole life distancing herself.
I find it quite hilarious.
I am not a Briton much to the cruelty which life bore me. I am, however, a devout ‘Britannophile’. I truly find the history of the British Isles — all the way to prehistory — fascinating. The 1940s is a common historical time period, so it was intriguing to me to read a book from the 1930s about ‘the future’.
It is scary that she got it pretty close.
She, Stella Gibbons, drops grains of wisdom into a lighthearted novel to create a pearl. She talks of a war that recently happened in 1940s — though she does get the combatants incorrect. She brings up fashion with large hats. Stella Gibbons knew the world of which she made a joke.
She never lays it on too thick. It never seems flippant. I wonder if it be because Miss Flora is the perfect woman of the period — by the sexist, and middle-class unoriginal rabble –. It is impossible to fault her because she plays by the rules. Some may call her various names amounting to a Mary Sue complex, but I find that Flora is simply a looking-glass. She shows reflections, and not creations.
I envy her in some ways, though. Sounding very ill-bred, I accept that I come from peasant stock. Miss Flora is not a social climber, so she diverts the hatred those types engender. She also is not a classist. She simply follows a rule book of etiquette. Growing up in a world of survival, I envy that life. I strive to know when to send letters, how to send thank you notes, which font to use in correspondence, and the ilk. Miss Flora’s breeding, and social graces juxtapose mine.
I, as a reader, am left with the question throughout most of the novel: is Flora happy?
In the sappiest scene that has even been, I find out.
In short, this book skims the surface of society without delving too deep. All the pretensions that other books leave out are within this story. I felt not in Sussex but in the idea of Sussex.
Check this out. Watch the film. Just have a good time with it.
Be safe. Be loved.