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The Colour of Milk

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,724 Ratings  ·  359 Reviews
Mary is a sharp-tongued farm girl, and she will do anything to learn to read and write. But as she does so through four seasons of one extraordinary year, she discovers that nothing comes for free. Told by a narrator whose urgent, unforgettable voice will break your heart, The Colour of Milk is an astonishing novel.
ebook, 176 pages
Published December 26th 2012 by Ecco (first published 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"

my name is jeanette.
j.e.a.n.e.t.t.e.
i am very tall and my hair is the colour of weak tea.
this is my review and i am writing it by my own hand in the year of our lord twenty-thirteen.

i did read this book, and my teeth did grind and my eyes did cross for that there were no upper-case letters on any page. no, nary a one. nor were there any quotation marks neither.

i understand that the narrator is barely literate, and it is for this that we are meant to see that she does not know proper punctuation
...more
Michael
Aug 22, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
Mary is a sharp tongued fifteen year old farm girl who has a strong desire to learn how to read and write. “In this year of lord eighteen hundred and thirty one” you follow the journal of a poor and disabled girl who should have no rights going against the odds to achieve what she always wanted; the ability to read and write.

The Colour of Milk is written in a personal journal over the four seasons of a year. Mary is the youngest of four daughters living in a house of a man who really wanted son
...more
Seija
Nov 08, 2012 Seija rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
HOLY EFFING TOUR DE FORCE!!! Yes, this book is really sad. I hate using the word "heartbreaking," but it's apt here. This is one of those books where I want to say, "yes, it's going to devastate you, but TOO BAD, MAN! You know what's devastating? How women were treated 200 years ago!" Somehow, Nell Leyshon captures the utter banality of everyday abuse and intellectual oppression of women living on a farm in England in the 1830's. There is no anachronistic rebellion here... just acceptance of sma ...more
Libros Prestados
Feb 15, 2015 Libros Prestados rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Videoreseña de este libro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L0tZ...

Un novelón. Y un dramón también. Suelo decir que una novela es triste o trágica, pero lo suelo decir en sentido intelectual. Esta novela, sin embargo, lo es a nivel emocional. Hacía años que no lloraba con un libro, pero éste lo ha conseguido. Puede que haya leído novelas con argumentos aparentemente más dramáticos, o con tintes más épicos, o en las que el escritor haya exagerado el carácter de los personajes o los hechos, pero N
...more
Diane S ⛄
Feb 18, 2013 Diane S ⛄ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A farm in the 1830's, 4 girls live with their mother and their abusive father on a farm, where they are worked from sunup until sundown. The youngest, Mary, who is 14 is sent to help the local preacher with his wife who is ill. Mary is very special, it is her journal, her story we read, and it is written simply and rather starkly to reflect the circumstances in which she lives. Her reading and writing has come at a high cost to herself, but it is the one thing she can do to make her grandfather ...more
Sub_zero
Feb 02, 2016 Sub_zero rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reto-2016
Del color de la leche no es una novela extraordinaria, no tiene ningún elemento portentoso ni estrictamente original, pero lo cierto es que ha logrado convertirse en una de las lecturas más especiales que han pasado por mis manos en mucho tiempo. ¿Qué es lo que Nell Leyshon hace tan bien en esta novela? ¿Por qué deja una huella indeleble en tantos lectores? La respuesta, si es que es única, reside en la poderosa combinación de ingenuidad, desconocimiento del mundo y rabiosa desfachatez que derro ...more
Emily Crowe
Nov 10, 2012 Emily Crowe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic book! A coworker of mine pointed out that this is the real, unromanticized counterpoint to the works of Jane Austen et al from the first half of the nineteenth century--the one where farm girls are illiterate and completely at the mercy of the men in their lives and where upward mobility is but a distant, future concept.

The postscript-like ending may come as a twist to some, but I saw it coming a long way off, as it's not exactly an unused-device in literature, but that withsta
...more
Shawn
Jan 31, 2014 Shawn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author took painstaking measures to ensure that you understood from the beginning that the main character is an illiterate, uneducated, poor farm girl who despite her "sunny outlook" had little more than a bleak existence in store. So how, on the second page, are we to believe that she is using the word "unfurled" to describe spring leaves? You never learned to read, you never learned to write, but in a few short months of tutelage -- "unfurled"? Really? "Opened up", maybe... "Came alive", p ...more
Zorphie Zorro
Unfortunately, despite all the great reviews, this book just did not do it for me. A very simplistic and spare writing style that's more hyperbolic than anything (Mary uses no capitalization, yet somehow, every word she writes is spelled correctly) didn't convince me that this book was anything more than pretense. I'm not sure where the "beautiful writing" so many people mentioned appeared in this book--spare, repetitive sentences without much imagination or description, and completely affected ...more
Roberto
Mar 01, 2013 Roberto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Il mio nome è Mary e ho imparato a scriverlo lettera per lettera”

”Il colore del latte” è un romanzo che fin dall’inizio disorienta un po’. Lo stile non è gradevole: poca cura della punteggiatura, scarso uso delle maiuscole, grammatica approssimativa. Capiamo poi leggendo che a parlare è Mary, una contadina di quindici anni con una gamba più corta dell’altra e capelli chiari come il latte e che lo stile è correlato al suo livello di istruzione.

È la primavera del 1831 quando Mary incomincia a scr
...more
Teresa
Aug 20, 2012 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Looks can be deceiving – The Colour of Milk looks like a dainty little thing, measuring just 15cm x 10cm and at 176 pages, more novella than novel but behind that delicate exterior lurks a powerful story with a strong female protagonist.

It is 1851 and this is the story of 15 year old Mary, the youngest of four daughters in a farming family where a son would have been more highly prized. Mary tells it as it is and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She tells her story over four seasons and over the cou
...more
Karina
A stay up till the wee hours read...this is Mary's story, told over the course of the seasons of one year - about her harsh life on her family's farm and the consequences that follow her being sent to work in the nearby vicarage. A bleak yet bitterly beautiful account of a young girl's intellectual awakening that comes at a terrible cost. Wonderful and very different.
prettybooks
Sep 28, 2015 prettybooks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
16/20

Un récit court mais fort et poignant, révoltant aussi. Mary est un personnage passionnant, une jeune fille au caractère insaisissable, exploitée dès son plus jeune âge. Quand elle découvre la possibilité d’apprendre à lire et à écrire, sa vie va changer, et son destin aussi.

Ma chronique : https://myprettybooks.wordpress.com/2...
Luis
Oct 10, 2015 Luis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary y sus tres hermanas mayores son hijas matrimonio granjero que necesita todas las manos posibles para ocuparse del campo. El trabajo llena casi todos los huecos de su día, hasta que un día su padre decide que empiece a servir de criada en una casa vecina a cambio de dinero. En ese nuevo entorno Mary aprenderá poco a poco las letras, pero también otra muy amarga enseñanza...

Llamando la atención por su estilo y por contar una historia de pocas palabras a lo largo de cuatro estaciones, el encan
...more
Aziz Fahad
جو الرواية محزن وقاتم
تروي فيها البطلة المراهقة "ماري" قصتها كخادمة في بيت رجل دين مسيحي وامرأته المريضة وابنه الشاب في عام ..
كيف تعلمت هذه المزارعة الصغيرة الكتابة؟
هنا يقع سر الرواية..
كلما تقدمت في القراءة زاد الظلام والصقيع فيها..

(مشكلة الرواية الكبرى أنها نسوية بزياااادة)
...more
Mary-Ann Fuduric
I knew where the story was going from the get go but somehow the book kept me interested from beginning to end. The writing (no capitalization) was very annoying to read.
Cindy
Apr 27, 2014 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful little novel, full of life and thoughtful observations. The pacing is excellent as is the balance of strong character and intense plot. I'll read it again because Leyshon did so many things so well with tight focus. (As opposed to, say, Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, which rattles on forever as characters stay locked in place.)

I was just going to rate The Colour of Milk without a review, but another reader's cheap snarkfest prompted me to say a little something. Alas, I cannot
...more
Chris
Mar 23, 2013 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reads
Just an ok read. A totally predictable story line that even I, who can't figure out an Agatha Christie mystery, actually figured the ending. When the main character said her "hair was the colour of milk," I thought she was writing her story as an old woman, but apparently she's a towhead, something that was lost on me. I'm surprised this has been nominated for the "new" Orange Prize, it certainly didn't blow me away. But then, I am probably in the minority, based on the many 4 and 5 star reviews ...more
Stef Eleane
Dec 12, 2015 Stef Eleane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dans ce roman, oubliez les codes. Vous n'aurez pas de "-" devant un dialogue, vous n'aurez pas un français parfait, pas de majuscule . Vous aurez une suite de phrases afin de poser une idée. Tout simplement parce que ce roman est un journal, le journal d'une jeune fille de ferme du XIX siècle qui n'a appris à lire et à écrire que sur le tard. Au départ, j'ai été un peu déstabilisée, je corrigeais les verbes employés, je me perdais sans les fameux tirets entre les dialogues et les pensées. Puis j ...more
César
Apr 17, 2015 César rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sorprendente novela testimonial, “Del color de la leche” –poética referencia al color de pelo de la protagonista- narra las condiciones de vida de una chica campesina de 15 años, que vive junto a su familia en una granja del inclemente campo inglés del siglo XIX. Mary es destinada a casa del vicario para cuidar de la mujer enferma de éste. Allí descubre la lectura y la escritura y también el brutal mundo de los adultos. Con la palabra adquirida, Mary es capaz ya de dejar testimonio escrito de lo ...more
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
'i can't hide nothing in my voice, mrs. least you know where you stand with me. don't reckon i could lie if i was ordered to.'

It is 1831, and fifteen-year-old Mary is writing an account of her life the previous year, dividing it into the four seasons, taking us from Spring 1830 to Spring 1831. She lives with her father and three sisters, a hard life working dawn until dusk on their farm, with her grandfather bedbound. Then one day her father informs her that she will be required to leave them an
...more
Gail Cooke
Feb 13, 2013 Gail Cooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With her compelling new novel “The Colour Of Milk” Nell Leyshon has given us Mary who has a voice that cannot be silenced or forgotten. Mary is a fourteen-year-old farm girl who lives in 1831 and promised herself that she would “write the truth and the things that happened.” That she does for Mary is an honest girl, headstrong, determined with hair the color of milk and a game leg.

She lives on a hardscrabble farm with her parents and three sisters. The girls are forced to do exhausting work fro
...more
Sue
Jul 22, 2012 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a page turner! I was rooting for Mary throughout. The odds were stacked, she was a pawn in 19c. England - a woman with no rights, poor and disabled. There were some very funny parts and her plain speaking was a joy in these days of political correctness. Loved her for her kindness to her grandfather but wondered why she kept quiet about her sister - sure she could have found a few choice words!! But she reacts not instigates. Like Hardy's Tess, Mary is a victim, no way out for her even ...more
Jane
Jun 13, 2012 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a small book, but it feels very substantial. Because it contains a unique voice, and a story that voice it wants to tell so very, very much.

“this is my book and i am writing it by my own hand.

i want to tell you what it is that happened but i must be ware not to rush at it like the heifers at a gate for if i do that i will get ahead of myself so quick that i will trip and fall and anyway you will want me to start where a person ought to.

and that is at the beginning.”


The style is idiosyncr
...more
Nicola
Sep 19, 2013 Nicola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novel about a young farm girl called Mary, who writes about her own account of the year 1830, in some ways, you can consider it written like a diary. It tells the story of Mary working in harsh conditions on her father's farm, one day is told that she is going to be a maid at the local vicarage. This is where she learns to read & write using the Bible & with the help of the Vicar. In some ways this is where the story unfolds.

The language of the book evokes a biblica
...more
Cheryl
This was a simple, absorbing read; though saddening. I suppose that in some genre classification circles, it could be on an "experimental fiction" list. It's also the second book I've read this week (Purple Hibiscus was the other) with the fifteen year old girl and her ill tempered father. Huh. Wasn't planned, I promise.

Mary is sassy, the girl who says everything that's on her mind. She also doesn't know how to read because she's lived on a farm all her life (where though? the author doesn't sa
...more
Echo
Mar 01, 2014 Echo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The sentences were short, repetitive and capitalized. The character seemed almost dim witted in her simple logic, although she was able to point out may truths as a child might. I couldn't tell if she was supposed to be simple or if that was the authors view on uneducated people. It did illustrate the problems of sexism in the early days - all the guy has to do is deny he slept with you and you're the harlot with a baby, masters can easily force their servants to have sex with them with no reper ...more
Sarah
Jun 23, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is small and sharp as its utterly beguiling narrator. The grim tale is told with skillful economy, and the violence that unfolds seems inevitable but no less devastating for that. Mary's voice is so alive and charming, I was riveted throughout.
Marie Manou
Feb 10, 2016 Marie Manou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Picture a young girl who tells us the story of her life.
And what she had to go through...
Thin book with so much emotions, could let it down.
Steven
Dec 19, 2014 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, women
Sad story of a youthful rape and murder.
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“nice day, i said. and i put one of the raspberries in my mouth. is it? i looked up at the sky. the sun is there, i said, only it’s hid by a cloud. you ever see the bad in life? he asked. i’ll have time to think about that, i said, when i’m dead.” 1 likes
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