Book Review: Bookworm by Lucy Mangan

When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up different worlds and cast new light on this one.

She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library.

In Bookworm, Lucy brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life and disinters a few forgotten treasures poignantly, wittily using them to tell her own story, that of a born, and unrepentant, bookworm.

What I Thought:

What a lovely book! As one who was most often found with her head in a book, Bookworm is like the membership manual to a club of people like me!

It was an absolute delight to read Lucy’s own memories of the books she read, and see which I also found, but which had passed me by. As I seem to be a similar age to Lucy too, a lot of what she wrote about her childhood years applied so much to me, that it was lovely to reminisce.

From Narnia and Enid Blyton to Geek Girl, so many old and new childhood books get a mention (including my beloved Trebizon series by Anne Digby), and Lucy is completely unashamed in her passion for books. I remember well adults saying ‘ooh, you’ve always got your head in a book’ like it was a bad thing, and I never understood this insistance on being outside at playtime, when a beanbag in the library was MUCH more my style…

Rather handily, there is a reading list for each chapter at the back of the book, so you can see just how many amazing children’s books you have missed in your life, but it’s well worth going back in – although they’ll sadly never be the same as an adult.

This is a very short review, but I’m not sure what else I can say about this book, except read it. If you’re one of us, read it and you’ll have hours of happy memories. If you’re not one of us, read it and you’ll understand us just a little bit more!

Lucy Mangan is a journalist and columnist. She was educated in Catford and Cambridge. She studied English at the latter and then spent two years training as a solicitor, but left as soon as she qualified and went to work much more happily in a bookshop instead. She got a work experience placement at the Guardian in 2003 and hung around until they gave her a job.  Lucy now writes a regular column for the newspaper as well as features and TV reviews there. She has written for most of the major women’s magazines, including Grazia, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan, and has a weekly column in Stylist magazine. She was named Columnist of the Year at the PPA Awards in 2013.

You can connect with Lucy on Twitter.

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