RMSYL 8: No! I Don’t Want To Join A Bookclub by Virginia Ironside (read by Joss Rossiter)


And fathers. Two people it is almost impossible for us to be neutral about. Particularly if they’re our own.  

I was running a reading group last week in a Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre. We were reading Of Mice and Men.  A new member of the group launched into a tirade about her mother and the many, many ways in which she had been abusive and ostracizing towards her.  At times like these, Larkin’s This Be The Verse seems like the only sane rejoinder.

I said something slightly wet in response to all this, bringing us back to the book: “Well, there aren’t too many mothers in Of Mice and Men…” But maybe she needed books crammed with mothers and daughters, homeopathic literature, like cured by like, or at least by reading about it.

On Friday one of my closest friends wrote to tell me that his mother had died from a brain tumour that had felled her in less than a month. “I’d like to meet up, maybe in a few weeks- for now I am in bits.”

Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the UK. So I’ve been thinking quite a bit about mothers mourned and mothers hated, mothers loved, even obsessively loved, mothers turned into psychoanalytic demons, mothers who once were daughters of other mothers. And so on.

And then I took a long walk across the borough of Brent and went to visit my mother. We decided she’d read me something she loves, and this is it.


12 responses to “RMSYL 8: No! I Don’t Want To Join A Bookclub by Virginia Ironside (read by Joss Rossiter)

  1. I’m honoured to have listened to your mother reading and speaking to you with such frankness, humour and wisdom. “Charles Lawton in a dressing gown” was a fabulous line! The offhand whisper of, “My reading is terrible”, made me howl. More please, Steve’s mummy!

  2. What a fun time we had, with a satisfying result. Thanks.
    Let’s not wait another 33 years till you read me something you love!

  3. Absolutely, SB.

    I thought you’d appreciate that one, C.

    I left it in to show a) that SB is a fine reader and no need for self-dissing, and b) to show up my own disentranced approbation. The sort of tone you can probably only get away with when speaking to family members….

    • I did appreciate it! You know me so well after such little time! How nice..
      And yes, there is that relationship between family members, when looking from the outside-in, that we can all relate to, in terms of how we act and speak with one another. I can tell the both of you are close, it was a very candid conversation. Lovely stuff.

  4. Chantal, you can come and visit me anytime, I love you already! (Steve’s mummy)

  5. How wonderful to hear your voice, Souly B!!! What a grand piece for you to read and relate to! Steve, you have a great interviewing technique. This was a lot of fun to hear…makes me wonder what I would read if I were on…I think I have an idea…first thing that comes to mind…a Rudyard Kipling classic! How fun to hear what people love and to encourage reading!!! Great website!!!

  6. great to hear your voice Jos. the book was a wonderful selection too. interesting web site.

  7. Blimey, I should get you on here more often, Ma. Doing wonders for my Comments section….

  8. Well, I have missed you Mr P; so good to catch a glimpse.

  9. Yahoo, and even ElizT- where have you been? Look at my blog- many more comments there too.

  10. What a joy to hear your voice Joss!
    And to “meet your son” too.
    Of course I loved the book and I did pass it along to a friend my age.
    I only wish you had not used the word “decay” when talking about the aging body changing. It sounds like we are the walking dying. Of course we all are, but “decay” sounds so imminent. I certainly do my share of going into denial about the new loose skin, the tiny new hanging mole thingies, that crepey look when I hold my arms just so…


    I really spend very little time doing any of that “self realziation” as I am too busy living and enjoying life! At almost 71 I am only just starting to admit to “aging”. I still balk at calling myself OLD. I have decided 80 is when I will admit to that. Sorry, but I plan to live a long long time so there is time yet for growing OLD! Not that I think I am younger than my children, although I do feel surprised at times that they have gotten past 40! Not sure how that happened. Wasn’t looking. Soon they will be older than me.

    Again, loved loved loved hearing your voice reading to me/us.
    And I do do do hope we meet up one day in person and hug our flabby bodies together! LOL

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