Waterstones Book Club

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Dear Lupin: Letters to a Wayward Son – Charlie and Roger Mortimer

Published June 22, 2013 by bibliobeth


What’s it all about?:

Nostalgic, witty and filled with characters and situations that people of all ages will recognise, “Dear Lupin “is the entire correspondence of a Father to his only son, spanning nearly 25 years. Roger Mortimer’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes touching, always generous letters to his son are packed with anecdotes and sharp observations, with a unique analogy for each and every scrape Charlie Mortimer got himself into. The trials and tribulations of his youth and early adulthood are received by his father with humour, understanding and a touch of resignation, making them the perfect reminder of when letters were common, but always special. A racing journalist himself, Roger Mortimer wrote for a living, yet still wrote more than 150 letters to his son as he left school, and lived in places such as South America, Africa, Weston-super-Mare and eventually London. These letters form a memoir of their relationship, and an affectionate portrait of a time gone by.

What did I think?:

Dear Lupin is a series of letters from a father (Roger Mortimer) to his son Charlie over a twenty five year period. It was picked as part of the Waterstones Book Club for this summer, and I was intrigued enough to add it to my must-read list. The letters themselves are witty and insightful, giving readers the sense of a close and loving relationship between a father and his son. Charlie himself comes across as a typical young lad, getting into a number of sticky situations which he always seems to pull himself out of, with a considerable amount of support from his father.

Roger’s letters to Charlie are filled with wise advice, some gentle chiding, constant reminders that he is there for his son no matter what, and some real laugh out loud moments: “I naturally don’t expect you to exist like a constipated mouse there..”  The family and local news he imparts always seems to consist of recent deaths, which I found quite amusing (in a very dark way!) For example: “Not much local news: three people were roasted to death in a car accident at Theale.”  I can imagine receiving one of his fathers letters must have been quite an experience for Charlie, never knowing what to expect.

Although I did find the letters from Roger interesting and amusing, I didn’t seem to get on very well with this book – not certain why, perhaps it just wasn’t my sort of thing. Roger himself was obviously an incredibly funny, intelligent and loving individual, and a terrific father to his wayward son, and the book itself is very short –  less than 200 pages so it is a quick read, but just not satisfying for me on a personal level. However, I can appreciate that many people will thoroughly enjoy this, so if you’re intrigued give it a go!

Would I recommend it?:

Probably not.

Star rating (out of 5):


Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013 Shortlist Announced

Published April 16, 2013 by bibliobeth

The Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013 shortlist was announced today (formerly the Orange Prize), looks like a tough group – do you think Hilary Mantel can take them? And win yet another literary prize (and £30,000) for Bring Up The Bodies? Place your bets! The Chair of Judges, Miranda Richardson said “The shortlist for 2013 represents six tremendous writers at the top of their game.” 

I can’t wait to read them. I’ve only read On Beauty by Zadie Smith and wasn’t that impressed but it was a long time ago and here’s hoping my tastes have matured. The A.M. Homes book is on the Waterstones Book Club list at the moment and definitely on my TBR radar, and I have been meaning to read Kate Atkinson for a while, but not sure whether I should start with her older works? I have read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and have The Lacuna to read pretty soon so looking forward to dipping into Flight Behaviour. As for the giantess that is Hilary Mantel, I will soon be attempting to read Wolf Hall again, was I the only person in the world that didn’t get it? I am a big fan of the Tudor period so am very disappointed in myself…. (slaps wrist). Finally, Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple  was also mentioned and recommended in a podcast that I listen to on a regular basis – Books on the Nightstand, so will be checking that out.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments on the shortlist!


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