Review: ‘The Uncommon Reader’ by Alan Bennett


This charming little novella is typical Alan Bennett but with a nice twist.

The Uncommon Reader (Elizabeth II) begins reading for pleasure after finding a mobile library visiting the palace. She quickly develops a thirst for knowledge and the reading begins to interfere with her royal duties. This story explores the impact of this new-found love on her life, as well as the opinions of her advisers and government.

This short book is witty and wry, with a very enjoyable storyline. It’s not very challenging but it makes for a nice relaxing read. Bennett’s observations of royal life don’t seem to fall far from reality and this story allows the reader to empathise with this untouchable monarch. It is also an ode to reading and its ability to educate, widen horizons and inspire. A real pleasure.

Vic x

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