07 July 2010

The Diary, by Eileen Goudge

So this is how I picked up The Diary, by Eileen Goudge. A couple of months ago, my husband and I were walking through a bookstore, and I was craving something, something interesting, anything to satisfy the girlish side of my literary delights...everything that my hand brushed through on the shelves just didn't seem engaging, and I was starting to get concerned. Would I actually walk out of a bookstore with nothing in my hands? NOTHING? Is it 2012 already?

My husband found the book. The hubby, you say? Yes, I speak the truth - my husband listened to what I wanted, and voila! Can you believe it? I wanted something fun, responding to my inner girl! I took this from him, read the back, and thought, YES! This will work!

I read this book in a day because I needed to know how it ended, I just had to know. The scenes quietly whispered the events to me, and my hands fluttered through the pages, desperate to drink in just a little more of what was going to happen. It's told from two perspectives -- from Elizabeth's daughters during current day and from Elizabeth as a young woman through the events recorded in her diary. The two sisters have come across it as they clear their parent's house -- their mother, Elizabeth, has suffered a severe stroke and is placed into a nursing home. Their father has already passed and they feel that their mother may not survive her stroke either. The diary is written when their mother, Elizabeth, has a choice between two men -- one who is considered to be the all around perfect guy and a real catch, and another who is from the wrong side of the tracks. Not to mention, Elizabeth also has a dominating mother who is into pretense and image who she constantly struggles with.

At first blush to hear the premise, you may think it's a story told before, but I can assure you that there is quite a difference with Eileen Goudge's writing -- once you dive into the flow of the words, the beauty and suspense becomes quite a treat. It was a perfect excuse to get caught up in another world, thinking about what the choices and experiences of a young woman in the 1950s may go through. It was a sweetly told book, the kind that as I read, I was begging for it to start to rain outside, simply because it's just one of those books to curl up with. Quite honestly, I have visions of this being a movie, and maybe with someone like Sandra Bullock as Elizabeth in the 1950s? (I do realize that Sandra Bullock is a little older than the character, but I am firmly Team Sandra, and I think she can play any role). Okay, maybe Maggie Gyllenhaal? I've been loving the roles that she's been in lately.

Has there ever been a book that you've read that as you are moving through the story, you can just see someone from Hollywood taking the role? And the book is written so well that you can see each scene play out? That's what The Diary did for me! I've got it all mapped out...


  1. This cover just really grabs me. The story sounds pretty interesting too. I am reading (or listening) an audiobook called Three Cocktails, at the moment, to satisfy my girly side. It's by Madeline Wickham who is, under another name, the author of the Shopaholic books.

  2. I'm a big fan of the Shopaholic series, so it sounds like a fun one! I find that I read a lot of serious or dark works, and after a period of that I need something light, fun, and girly. The Diary is sweet and nice, and although it deals with very sad events at times, it is a book that touches on the romance and beauty of true love. I loved it!

  3. When I read the Bridges of Madison County years ago, seriously slushy but suited my mood at the time, as soon as I started reading it I had cast Clint Eastwood in the leading role. Five mins later I had cast Meryl Streep as Francesca and a year later the casting was announced with those two people.

    I do it all the time - read the first Harry Potter and said Alan Rickman was born to play Professor Snape.

    It is great fun doing this!

  4. Elaine, I love it! Of course, sometimes I am so set on someone being that particular character and they pick the complete opposite and I am bummed! Picking Clint and Meryl, lovely! :) And Snape -- I agree, it could only have been Alan Rickman, he is perfect for it!

  5. I'm with you, I'm definitely a Sandra Bullock fan all the way. She can play in any role and I will love the movie. My favorite will always be The Ya-Yas.....she was amazing!

    What a gorgeous review! I love reading your reviews. So well written and wonderfully descriptive and I just want to dive into the book immediately! Thank you for sharing The Diary!

  6. Thank you, Stacy! I am a Sandra fan through and through, and I think you'll like The Diary!


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