12 Feb 2013

Diary Entry - A Round Heeled Woman

I have just finished reading a book called  “A Round Heeled Woman” by Jane Juska.
You know what a sucker I am for a well-written book – this is one of them.  It had me enthralled from the moment I picked it up.  This was possibly because of its content as much as the quality of the writing.  Jane was a 66 year old woman on the look out for sex.  It is the story of how she found it.  Inbetween the story of her sexual encounters, there is an underlying text about literature.  She was an English teacher for all of her life with  a passion for Trollope.

In one section where she is giving a class in San Quentin prison, she reads a passage from ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens.  This is one of my favourite films, especially the 1940’s version with John Mills.  Ashamedly, I have never read the book, but the passage she quotes about the meeting on the marshes with the convict  Magwitch, says more than any picture can reveal.

            “A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg. 
            A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag
            tied round his head.  A man who had been soaked in water, and
            smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and
            stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped and shivered,
            and glared, and growled; and whose teeth chattered in his
            head, as he seized me by the chin.”

How good a description is that, brilliant, that’s what!  So, of course, I intend to read the book now – how could I not?
Magwitch and Pip

Janes’ book was very touching and when times were tough for her I wept with her.  In the last chapter she writes:-

            In the beginning of all this, I had thought to make my life fuller,
            Not just happier.  I had thought that my passion, which had
            Served so many people so well when I was a teacher, might find
            A place to put itself before it subsided into the contentment of
            Old age.  I thought right; I got what I hoped for.  What is just
            As far away as ever is the contentment of old age.  I doubt that
            It comes, ever.  There is the inevitable falling off of energy, I
            Suppose, certainly the falling away of flesh from the bone, and
            In some of us a flagging of the spirit.  It’s called dying.  But
            Contentment?  Peace?  I think we just get tired, and people who
            Write junk about us, because contentment makes better greeting
            Cards, mistake fatigue for serenity.


  1. Replies
    1. Since I read this they have now turned the book into a play - I wonder if it does the book justice.

  2. You'll be captivated by Great Expectations... each time I read it it changes slightly and I take away a different experience. The book reviewed sounds great - I'll keep my eyes peeled x

  3. Lovely post ! I think Dickens is a master, and I must read him again, if I can ever find the time to do all I wish for!! I agree that film is perfect I first saw it as a child and can watch it over and over, thanks for reminding me:~))

    1. I have a copy on dvd and often watch it when I am in the mood - having since read the book I think I actually prefer the film.

  4. I just love Great Expectations - the film, the book - it's excellent. I am a real Dickens fan and currently reading Barnaby Rudge.
    Patricia x

    1. I have never read Barnaby Rudge and haven't a clue what it is about - I have a friend with the complete works of Dickens I shall have to ask if I can borrow it.


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