Monday, August 13, 2007

In the Blood — Review

Publisher's Weekly, week of August 13, has a very complimentary review of the upcoming Godine title In the Blood, a memoir of the childhood of British poet laureate Andrew Motion. To wit:

In the Blood: A Memoir of My Childhood
Andrew Motion. Godine, $24.95 (336 pages) ISBN 978-1-56792-339-1

Motion, Britain's poet laureate, was 16 in 1968 when his beloved mother fell into a coma after a hunting accident and his childhood “ended suddenly.” After this shock opening, Motion recounts the scenes and events of that childhood, which range from warm early memories of growing up “country gentry” in Hertfordshire to being sent off to a Dickensian boarding school—with disgusting food, terrible sanitation and a headmaster who enjoyed beating little boys—at age seven. The book soars into the extraordinary when Motion recounts his early teens. A new boarding school brought a sympathetic headmaster who recognized the potential in the unread country boy's love for Dylan and Hendrix and encouraged him toward poetry. (A heartwrenchingly beautiful scene describes his slow, awed discovery of Thomas Hardy.) By age 15, Motion had made his first real friend and entered a new relationship with his mother, who read eagerly in partnership with him. Motion perfectly conveys the “new faster time” of adolescent thinking and subtly conveys us back to his mother's tragedy with a new understanding of its importance to his entire life.

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