FULL MARKS FOR TRYING by Brigid Keenan

FULL MARKS FOR TRYING

An Unlikely Journey from the Raj to the Rag Trade
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A memoir about “what it was like to grow up…in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s in a family that was, like Britain itself, facing and adapting to the enormous changes taking place around us with gathering speed.”

Keenan (Packing Up: Further Adventures of a Trailing Spouse, 2014, etc.), who lived in India until she was 8, recounts her childhood in India followed by her career as a fashion reporter in London during the 1960s. The author’s gossipy, lighthearted narrative offers a peek into the lives of a certain slice of British society. As a member of the British military, the author’s father was posted to India. Born in 1939, Keenan was a member of the generation known as “the last of the British Raj babies.” Keenan interweaves her memories of her family life on a British army base with the rich cultural, social, and political life of India. In 1947, following Indian independence from the 200-year British rule and the division of India into two countries, the family returned to Britain. Returning home to a “grim postwar England after a Technicolor childhood in one of England’s colonies” as a teenager was a challenge. However, the author became one of the it girls of her day and was cited as “one of the two best young fashion writers of the day.” While many of the pop cultural references and personalities Keenan mentions may be unfamiliar to American readers, the author skillfully captures the zeitgeist of the youth rebellion in London during the 1960s. Her world did include a solid cast of well-known characters, including Nora Ephron, Jean Shrimpton, Terence Conran, Mary Quant, Diana Vreeland, and Vidal Sassoon.

Keenan understands how much the world has changed and hopes her story will resonate with reflective readers who will appreciate her brief but warm glance back in time.

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4088-5227-9
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2016




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