Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Can Any Mother Help Me?

Another cover in a shade of pink which sets your teeth on edge ... the book is great, though!

In 1935 a depressed mother calling herself Ubique wrote to a women's magazine asking for help to overcome her loneliness. Other mothers responded with empathy and it was decided to produce a magazine which could be circulated among themselves. Thus began the Cooperative Correspondence Club or CCC. This magazine continued for decades as the women's friendship and mutual support endured through wartime, marriages and marriage failures, the birth of children and old age. Well-educated and intelligent, the women gave themselves nicknames which afforded anonymity when they discussed personal issues in the magazine. These names, A Priori, Accidia, Yonire, Ad Astra, Elektra etc are similar to the user names adopted by those who use internet discussion forums today.

I particularly enjoyed the cheery Roberta's lively account of giving birth to a much longed-for daughter, Amelia's tale of sleeping overnight on a London pavement in order to watch the Queen's coronation procession and Yonire's success at fighting off an over-amorous admirer with a high-heeled shoe. There is also a poignant account from Isis of her difficult marriage and passionate love for the family doctor, but my own favourite is Accidia, the Cambridge educated mother of five who longs for a good night's sleep.

Jenna Bailey has meticulously edited contributions from the magazines and I hope this talented author publishes more in this new genre of social history.

4 comments:

Tara said...

Are you my reading twin? I have a copy of this, thanks to Karen's (from Cornflower) review a while ago.

kristina said...

I heard an interview with the author on Radio 4 a little while ago, and thought the book sounded quite interesting. Now your review has convinced me! Will be adding to my wish list :) K x

Karen said...

This is a wonderful book!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

yes! I blogged about this back in august l think and many mentioned they would go out and buy it on the back of the post...its very satisfying on several levels l thought