Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan

February 21, 2018

5 / 5 Stars


Warm, completely relateable account of growing up as a bookworm.

I've always been a passionate believer in the power of books - even from an early age. I guess that's what being a bookworm is all about; and this is something that Lucy Mangan clearly understands too. 

This book is a sweet, engaging narration of the author's life, told from a bookcentric perspective. With each chapter, she outlines the books that shaped her childhood; how they extended her learning and changed her views on the world. From the guzzling fun of The Very Hungry Caterpillar to the teenage issues covered by Judy Blume, Lucy Mangan recaptures the magic of some of the most popular kids books - identifying why she thought they were so great (or not), and why we all love them collectively.

I was delighted to see many of my old favourites in there; plus some that I'd completely forgotten (The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright - how I used to love that book!). Most of her opinions I agreed with, save for one. If you didn't sob when Beth died in Little Women... how?! I also tittered at the mention of the terrifying Der Struwwelpeter, which thankfully I never had, but my children were purchased recently by their stepfather... I took one flick through it and consigned it to the very highest shelf immediately! 

As a mother myself, I especially loved the author's frank thoughts about her own child reading; and the realisation that he wouldn't necessarily engage with books in the same way she did. That's something all us parental bookworms go through, and it can be a peculiar process (I've got one son who's a total book-maniac, and another who isn't nearly so much). 

So, in conclusion - if you can't go a day without burrowing your nose in a book, Lucy Mangan's Bookworm totally gets you. It's a glorious trip down memory lane, reliving all the books that made childhood so brilliant. I loved it.

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