Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Pattern in the Carpet by Margaret Drabble


DATE READ: July 2010 (audiobook)

NOTES: This memoir is a real nostalgia fest! Although Margaret Drabble set out to write a brief history of the jigsaw puzzle she found herself shooting off at tangents into a series of random memories and reflections.

She uses memories of her beloved Aunt Phyllis as a starting point but in the course of the book she reflects on childhood, children’s games, art history, the value of puzzles, mosaics, literature and the problems of growing old. Quite a mix! I also remembered well many of things from her childhood. - evaporated milk and tinned fruit (yum, yum!), five stones, jigsaws, board games played by the whole family. And those magical embroidery transfers – blue designs on tissue paper – that my mother never allowed me to iron on to the fabric in case I spoiled it! And ric-rac tape! And, yes, I even remember sewing cards – in fact I used to give these to my infant class pupils. I used them to help develop coordination in tiny fingers but Margaret Drabble sees no purpose in them.

I found the parts explaining the history of the jigsaw puzzle fascinating – especially the references to it in literature. I would however have liked to hear more about the inspiration and development Drabble’s novels – even though I realise this is not the remit of this book.

This was a really interesting read. Now I’m off to do a jigsaw!

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