Friday 12 November 2010

A childhood in Scotland (Miller)

The first of the Canongate Classics that I picked up is A childhood in Scotland by Christian Miller. What an absorbing book it was, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading period autobiographies - it's only 98 pages long but incredibly rewarding.

Christian Miller tells us about her upbringing in the 1920s; living in a castle - an aristocratic existence, but one which was nevertheless impoverished. As the youngest of six, she would sit with her family around the dinner table wondering how the odd number of potatoes would be divided up and whether or not she would go hungry. She seems to have had a somewhat sad life - distant parents, left to the care of servants and only allowed to read if she couldn't find something "more useful" to do.

Juxtabook has written a lovely review of this book, where she compares Miller's experiences to those of the Mitford children, and I'm inclined to agree - if you were fascinated by Hons and Rebels then you are likely to enjoy this lesser known book too. Although at times it put me in mind of I capture the castle too. And you can read a review by Cornflower here.

I am now very much looking forward to reading my other two Canongate Classics. Thank you Andrea for letting me have this!


  1. This sounds fascinating! Reading your first paragraph I kept thinking of I Capture the Castle, so it made me smile that you mentioned it too. :)

  2. A hungry child...breaks your heart doesn't it. A very touching read by the sounds of it.

  3. Thank you for the link! It is a lovely book but very sad.

  4. I'm glad to hear this was as good as it sounded!

  5. This sounds like an interesting little find. Puts me in mind of I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith... but perhaps a little more serious and real-feeling.

  6. That's going on my wishlist. Sounds like a great read.


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