Playing with the Grown-Ups by Sophie Dahl

This novel tells the life experiences of a young girl (Kitty) on the cusp of adulthood and her self-destructive "mummy" Marina. It is a beautifully written coming-of-age tale which develops quite a gritty sting in the latter half while describing Kitty's teen years. Throughout the story we read about Kitty’s idyllic life in the country with her grandparents, mummy, aunts, siblings and nanny, her stay at boarding schools, the moving back and forth between England and the U.S., her friendships, drugs, alcohol, sex, and just the wildness of it all. Yet, I enjoyed this even when it became a little harrowing.

I found the ending a bit disappointing. After all that we went through with Kitty, it just leaves you to imagine what she has to overcome in order to lead a better life. You obviously know that she was able to overcome her mother’s influence and eventually make a life for herself in New York, but you just don’t read how she was able to do it (you know this from the first chapter - so I’m not giving anything away). It would have been nice to read how she was able to get herself out of the hole she was in and better herself and her life.

Moving, well-written, tender-hearted coming of age/mother-daughter relationship story. Utterly charming and I couldn’t help wondering if some parts were autobiographical. I think anybody who had a slightly unconventional childhood will be able to relate to this in some way.

And just in case you were wondering, Sophie Dahl is Roald Dahl’s granddaughter.


Ana S. said...

I was wondering! Definitely sounds worth reading, despite the disappointing ending.

Beth F said...

Nice review. And I agree with Nymeth, sounds like a good read regardless.

Darlene said...

This sounds really good. Something I would like despite the ending. I wish a lot of books I would read would give a better idea of what happens to the character in the future but they leave it to us to imagine instead. I love the cover too.

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