My Alphabet Reading Challenge - D

Author: Anne

Date Published: Aug 3rd 2018, 6:54pm

For “D” in my alphabet challenge I am reading “Daddy, We Hardly Knew You” by Germaine Greer. This is a memoir/family history. The author decides following the death of her father to trace his background and family. The only clues she has to go on are some family stories he told. The book explores the actual journey of discovery and touches on some aspects of social history as well as revealing much about the author’s family life and childhood.

I like this sort of a book and this was fascinating as it turns out that the family really did not know Germaine’s father. Everything he has told them in the past turns out to be untrue, including his real name, and there is a lot of unravelling to do. This part of the book is fascinating and the social history which creeps in about Australia and Malta is also relevant and interesting.

The parts of the book that work less well for me are when the author describes her family in the present day. Her mother appears to be a difficult woman and her relationship with her siblings also has complications. I did feel at times that these pieces were included for Germaine to say her piece without being contradicted and some of it made for slightly uncomfortable reading.

If you like family history memoirs, and I do, then you will find this interesting, especially how the author reacts to some secrets which are revealed and which don’t show her father in a complimentary light. I didn’t find it as compelling as “Hidden Lives” by Margaret Forster, “Bad Blood” by Lorna Sage or “Too Many Mothers” by Roberta Taylor for example but it was definitely worth reading.

This has been the first, and I think only, non-fiction book on my list and with E we are back to novels with “Epitaph” by Mary Doria Russell. This is a Western based on a real historical event. I hope that I enjoy it more than the two previous novels on this list (see “A” and “C”).