Review: Long Leggety Beasties by Alienora Taylor.
When I first picked up Long Leggety Beasties I didn’t really know what to expect… school memoirs, I thought, are not really my cup of tea. But I knew Alienora, know her sense of the ridiculous and her inimitable way with words. This woman has a turn of comic phrase more convoluted than a corkscrew.
I started reading.
“…resembled nothing so much as a brace of hamsters in a particularly vicious blender.”
This simple phrase sets the tone for pages of untold delight in the creative misuse of imagery. To say the contortions of the writer’s mind resemble those of a pretzel would be, I feel, both a gross understatement and a deep injustice. She is utterly twisted.
A sense of the ridiculous pervades this book, with deep appreciation of the lunacy of her fellow man, woman and child… keenly observed and relayed with loving laughter. It does not lampoon lunacy, it celebrates it.
The school appears poised somewhere between St Trinians and Bedlam; the staff are, we are told, the archetypes of teachers we have all known. Nor does the writer hide behind the role of heroine. Though not strictly an autobiography, there are clearly Moments. Those familiar with her blog may well recognise the location of an odd bush or two.
Half hidden between the comedic cameos nestle moments of deep sadness, a fragility as a young teacher comes to terms with a world that is neither funny nor pretty.
There are the tragedies of forgotten and abused children, the ludicrous system within which a teacher must work, the politics of personality in the staff room….
…. and a goat.
Yet through it all is a deep sense of satisfaction and joy as the author condenses a career into a highly readable and hugely funny tale.
Worth every penny and the box of tissues.
Long Leggety Beasties is now available in paperback as well as for Kindle via Amazon.
You can follow Alienora’s Blog here. She writes from the heart, sharing her personal journey and her bawdy humour.