Autobiographies can some times be rather dry and predictable, but One Hundred Summer; a family story by Vanessa Branson is a cracker. She has correctly determined that you are a product of your ancestors. Their fortunes, family traits, attitudes, and genetics have a huge part to play in who you are, and how you handle your life today. Therefore, it is quite fascinating to begin this story with the author’s family tree, and a little information about each character. Being removed from the family the reader begins to see patterns of behaviour emerge, and attitudes become entrenched.
Having a famous brother adds to the interest, however this is her story, told in a vivid and compelling style. The author was brought up in a loving household. Her Mother was energetic and always looking for interesting and exciting ways to keep busy. There were very few restrictions placed on the children. They were always trusted to do the right thing and although physical love wasn’t demonstrated much the children certainly knew they were cared for.
The house was always busy with friends of the family calling in to discuss topical issues, and everyone was allowed a voice. As the children grew, their friends would also come to the home and hotly debate a huge range of issues. All the family were exposed to new ideas, new ways of thinking and creative ways to be strong and solve problems. Richard had started Virgin Records, and Vanessa had survived boarding school. Interestingly and hugely inspirational is the fact that both of them suffered from a learning disorder.
As an adult, Vanessa became well known in the art world and travelled extensively. She found love and had children and then survived a marriage breakup. Every page is a treat to read in this honest and loving recount of her family, warts and all.
|Publisher||Bloomsbury Publishing/Mensch Publishing|