Monday, October 31, 2011

Slipstream' by Elizabeth Jane Howard

'The Oliva Reader' is supposed to be a book reviewing blog. In reality, the last few months have shown no sign of a review, good or otherwise. There are many reasons for this, but mainly it's because I have been too lazy to sit at a computer and write something. Seeing as there are a small group of you who take the time to visit the blog (of which I am very grateful), it's time that I make more time and effort, to try and give you something half decent to read.

The first book that I am going to talk about is Elizabeth Jane Howard's memoir 'Slip stream'. Having already read and enjoyed Howard's thriller 'Falling', someone commented that I should read Howard's autobiography and I took their advice. So here's my review:

Publisher: Pan Macmillan


477 pages

What the 'blurb' says:

'In this candid and remarkable memoir, Elizabeth Jane Howard tells the story of her eventful life, using her skills as a novelist to reveal the friends, family and times that she has known and loved........

'Slipstream' is a superlative word of autobiography. Honest and unflinching, it brilliantly illuminates the literary world of the latter half of the twentieth century and gives a deeply personal insight into the life of one of our most beloved British writers.'

Opening Line:

'The first thing I can remember is a dream.'

What's right about this novel?

One of things that I enjoyed the most about this book, was the style of Howard's writing. It's conversational and it makes the reader feel as if Howard is having a chat with you.

I also found, being a budding writer myself, that I could relate to Howard's sense of insecurity to do with writing and also in some places, in life itself. I thought that it was interesting to read about the series of events, which lead to Howard writing her novel 'Falling' and was interested to discover what influenced Howard's writing.

What's wrong with this novel?

Throughout the book, I found myself increasingly exasperated by the fact that Howard repeatedly made the same mistakes with men, without seemingly learning from it. Possibly this shows the complexities of human nature, but I found that I felt frequently annoyed by this.

Although some of Howard's encounters with famous stars were interesting, towards the end of the book I found the 'name dropping' to be a little tiresome. It also felt as a reader, that it was as if Howard was telling me about people that I should know, but didn't. This I found to be a little boring.

Is this worth a read?

To be honest, I wouldn't have chosen this book. It was mildly interesting, but didn't give me the insight into writing, that I was anticipating.


  1. Thank you for the review. To be honest, I'd be tempted by the cover and would have read the book.

  2. Thanks for the comment Olga. Yes the cover is striking isn't it? It is a very glamourous photo of Elizabeth Jane Howard.