2010: 92. The L-Shaped Room

“There wasn’t much to be said about the place, really, but it had a roof over it and a door which locked from the inside, which was all I cared about just then.”

The L-Shaped Room, Lynne Reid Banks

         This novel, first published in 1960, tells the story of Jane Graham, who finds herself pregnant in 1950s London, and in need of somewhere to live, after her disapproving father kicks her out.  Feeling terrible and like she deserves no better, she rents the first place in the first dive in the worst neighborhood she can find in order to hole up and punish herself for her choices. This is the L-shaped room of the title.  But once she stops feeling sorry for herself, and opens up to the L-shaped room and the other inhabitants of her building, she starts to reclaim her life, and realize that maybe she’ll just survive this mistake after all.  

       Well, I loved this book.  I’d heard it mentioned on some blog or forum or something, and the reason it stuck with me is that Lynne Reid Banks wrote The Indian in the Cupboard series, which I’d loved as a kid. And I guess there is a movie, or something - I’ll have to seek it out.  And I just found it to be lovely - it honestly depicts what it would be like for a nice girl in the 1950’s to have an unplanned unwed pregnancy (and it’s authentic because the book was only published in 1960), and all the nastiness that such a girl might face, but it doesn’t moralize or punish Jane for her actions.  Jane just seems so real - not perfect, but not a sinner, and as such, the book seemed modern and real.  I loved watching her grow, and I loved her relationships with the other tenants, and the realistic outcome of her little love affair.  Just a dear book, all around.

      And I found out, from Wikipedia, that there are two sequels! Lord knows where I’ll find them (I got this one from a used bookstore), but consider me on the hunt!*

Categories:  Fiction

*Or I guess I can just go on-line, but where’s the fun in that. 

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017