Between the Stops

What a charming book. Its easily one of the most enjoyable I’ve read this year.

It’s Sandi Toksvig’s autobiography – or perhaps memoir would be a better word – but structured unlike any other memoir I’ve ever read. Instead of a chronological account of her life – I was born in… – she builds it around a regular bus journey from her home in Dulwich to the BBC’s Broadcasting House in the heart of London.

On the way she springs from recounting incidents in her own life, to observations about fellow passengers, to local history prompted by passing landmarks. (She wonders about the number of monuments to men in the capital and cites several women whose achievements were equally, if not more, worthy of a statue.)

 You might expect such a fluttering butterfly approach to be irritating. It’s anything but. (For me, at least.) It’s funny, touching, serious. Reading it feels like taking the bus journey with her to hear her life story, but being constantly interrupted by something interesting seen out of the window. And then getting back to the life story… before being interrupted by yet another fascinating landmark.

It’s wonderful.

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