Book - 2016
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"Originally published in 1977, Jane Gardam's Bilgewater is an affectionate and complex rendering-in-miniature of the discomforts of growing up and first love seen through the eyes of inimitable Marigold Green, an awkward, eccentric, highly intelligent girl. The Evening Standard described Bilgewater as "one of the funniest, most entertaining, most unusual stories about young love." Motherless and 16, Marigold is the headmaster's daughter at a private backwater all-boys school. To make matters worse, Marigold pines for head boy Jack Rose, reckons with the beautiful and domineering Grace, and yanks herself headlong out of her interior world and into the seething cauldron of adolescence. With everything happening all at once, Marigold faces the greatest of teenage crucibles."
Publisher: New York : Europa Editions, 2016.
Copyright Date: ©1976
ISBN: 9781609453312
Branch Call Number: FIC GARDAM, JANE
Characteristics: 227 pages ; 21 cm


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Jul 21, 2016

Good. Coming-of-age story about a girl raised in a boys school by her vague father and their loving but no-nonsense housekeeper. Her nickname, created by the boys, came from “Bill’s daughter” and she grew up thinking of herself as ugly, stupid and clumsy. When she got an eye defect corrected she learned to read and when she approached adolescence an old girlfriend from kindergarten returned and taught her how to dress properly. The meat of this story is her new relationships with her age-peers, their help and their betrayals, and her emergence as a bright, confident adult.

This story was first published in 1976 and the copy I read was a “Europa Edition” paperback which contained several spelling errors that would have been caught by a spellchecker – I imagine the originally submitted typed manuscript was read into Europa without further editing.

I enjoyed this book as a mild, predictable English boarding school story, unexceptional but a pleasant summer read.


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