“Good writers are good readers” – here, Paul will sporadically share thoughts on his favourite books.
Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
Cider with Rosie is the recollections of early youth as told by Laurie Lee.
It revolves around beautiful descriptions of a countryside many of us may have never seen and a childhood that some of us will have only read about in books like this one.
The story is set in the English countryside circa 1920 and begins in the local school and charts Lee’s junior and teenage years growing up in a ramshackle cottage with his Mother and three sisters.
The nurturing of his family around him and the song of nature in the fields around them is told in a sentimental way that make the reader smile knowingly, nostalgic of a time gone by and our own time passing by.
However far the world of the Cotswolds in 1920s England is removed from our own now; Stroud with its horse and carts and Sunday service, there is still something universal and timeless about the trials of young lad growing up that resonate with us all.
These autobiographical descriptions of his childhood sing like birdsong and gurgle and bubble like the eddies and the streams he hops around and over in his youth.
You can smell the meadows outside and shiver with the cold inside the old cottage Laurie Lee grew up in the winter, and eventually walked away from one midsummer morning. You can hear the wind in the trees and the shrieks of his mother running for the bus and we can nod sagely at the bright idiosyncrasies of young people without a care in the world. Playing out, chasing bees, making jam, dressing up.
But darkness too. The achings of young love, the whispers and gossip of a small village. The characters good and bad and the distant Father that whose return they await.
Like growing up itself the book is journey full of optimism as it meanders river like through the first 18years of Lees life. Sometimes rushing, sometimes sharps bends, a waterfall, then the dashing sections of fast running. In the same way we know a river will eventually reach the sea, taking all it has picked up on its journey and diffusing into the ocean; we know that childhood is only a stage on the journey for Laurie Lee and that it is an essential part of becoming an adult. And you will never make a man without growing up – the tribulations of youth are not complete without a secret cider with a girl.