I read this book in June this year, and wrote about it over on my other blog. Here is the post again, slightly edited.
This is the story of 13-year old Delia at a turning point in her life. Her father has just died, and her mother is about to move (with her brothers and sisters) to start a dressmaking business in another town. Delia's grandmother feels that this would not be best for Delia, and offers her the chance to stay behind and carry on attending school. The book is about her subsequent life, her relationship with her Gran...not very much happens, but it is a wonderful evocation of life in Ireland in the 1920s.
I love this sentence which is representative of Delia's feelings for her grandmother and is typical of Laverty's wonderful writing:
"Human nature is like bread I think. Soda bread calls for buttermilk and baking powder bread for new milk. Use the wrong kind of milk and the bread is sodden. Gran was the right kind of milk for me".
Almost every meal is outlined in detail in this sort of style - not just what it was, but how it was made.
The edition that I have from the library has an interesting introduction by Maeve Binchy - I've read some of her novels which are very light, so it felt a little strange to see her writing in quite a different context, and before her commercial success. She points out that the book is certainly not autobiographical as Laverty never lived with her Gran and that although it is a disappointment to discover this, perhaps we should see the book as the sort of childhood Laverty wished for rather than the one she actually had. She fills in some of the biographical detail to Laverty's life, which is interesting, apparently her two cookbooks graced almost every kitchen across Ireland when Binchy was growing up, which explains the attention given to describing the meals eaten in the text.
Two covers for you here:
I see from my list that VMC have also published No more than human, so having remembered how much I enjoyed Never no more, I am now on the look out for. Unfortunately not in the library, and only expensive copies on Amazon...