Tuesday, 25 January 2011

GIRL ON THE WALL Book review

Title: GIRL ON THE WALL: One Life's Rich Tapestry
A very personal social history of one British life over the past seven decades told through a hand-sewn tapestry. Jean, a talented needlewoman, has stitched a remarkable tapestry looking back on her life as an ordinary young girl from the Black Country growing up in extraordinary times. The tapestry, which took 16 months to complete consists of 73 interlocking circles, gives a unique portrait of everyday life for the working people of the industrialised West Midlands. In each chapter Jean explores the memories evoked. She grew up in a house where the bath hung on a nail in the yard, children listened to Dick Barton on the radio while their mothers made rag rugs, there are events such as the first Moon landings and the Cuban Missile Crisis, others are filled with memories of wash day, childhood illnesses, wartime rationing and games played in the fields and streets beyond Jean's two-up two-down terraced home. Her entertaining and conversational style and the exquisitely appealing beauty of her tapestry recreated in full colour are given a rather special treatment on this heavyweight glossy white papered book. There are even memories of Pink Floyd and what the band means to Jean, the Rubik's cube, the hula-hoop and the mini skirt, make do and mend, how the cinema has changed in the last 60 years, aircraft, politicians, to women's clothing. A delightful read and there is even an opportunity to buy a large-scale print of Jean Baggott's tapestry plus a superb fold-out plan in full colour at the back of the book of the tapestry itself with numbered circles explaining each piece. 352pp.
Published Price: £17.99

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