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Emma's Non Fiction Venture with Laurie Lee

Monday 30th Jun 2014

Emma Smith

Emma's Non Fiction Venture with Laurie Lee

Anyone who knows me will know I never read non-fiction. I love escaping into other worlds, somewhere different from our own that can take me away from everything I know; a little like visiting a foreign land. For years I automatically said no to any kind of non-fiction, it just did not interest me. However, I’m not one for defeat, so I set myself the task of making 2014 the year that I actually conquer this! For those who know my colleague Ed, you’ll know what an absolute fountain of knowledge he is, no matter the topic, and it made me realise that I could probably tell you all about the lands of Middle Earth, the hidden realm of Narnia and the continent of Westeros, but very little about the world we actually live in! But where does one start?

Something called within me when the beautiful centenary hardback edition of Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie came in, and I wondered why I’d never stopped to even think why people have admired his work so much and for so long. After having spent all my recent weekends exploring the Somerset countryside in all this lovely sunshine, there was some part of me that never wanted to leave; and from the first opening paragraph of Cider with Rosie, I knew Laurie Lee would be just the man to take me back. 

There is something intrinsically beautiful within Laurie Lee’s writing, which although is autobiographical, almost reads like a novel. His descriptions of the remote Cotswold village of Slad, through the eyes of himself as a toddler are just captivating, undoubtedly conjuring childhood memories for every reader; with each blade of grass being “tattooed with tiger-skins of sunlight” and “grasshoppers that chirped and chattered and leapt through the air like monkeys.” Although far from Narnia and Middle Earth, Lee’s writing does evoke something of the magical, and a feeling of safety and comfort that can come from none other than your childhood home, contrasted with a sense of underlying sadness as we witness the gradual disappearance of the time and place Lee spent his youth. 

It may be 100 years since the birth of Laurie Lee, but Cider With Rosie remains nothing short of perfect. As a Gloucestershire girl, born and bred, there has been no better place to begin my non-fiction venture other than with the place I call home. The question is, where do I go next? 

Emma's Non Fiction Venture with Laurie Lee

Monday 30th Jun 2014

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