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My Driver

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  117 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Vanessa Henman, a plucky but accident-prone white writer, flies from London to Uganda for an African writers' conference. She also means to visit her former cleaner, Ugandan Mary Tendo, now the successful Executive Housekeeper of Kampala's up-market Sheraton Hotel. But Mary has her own agenda: her son Jamil is missing, and she has secretly summoned Vanessa's beloved ex-hus ...more
ebook, 380 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Telegram (first published 2009)
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Maggie Gee’s My Driver, from the Arvon course last year where Maggie was teaching about writing a novel and I had gone along to seek help with my poetry! That worked and this book worked for me as well. Its very fast, funny, has a great and very real setting, and was a useful companion on flights between London and Edinburgh this week.

Maggie’s characters are all good value, she writes with authority about the English and the Ugandans, about those different countries but I also had a sense that
In this new novel of Maggie we meet Mary Tendo, of old, quite a character, from her last work, My Housekeeper. Mary was, then, the housekeeper of Vanessa, an English writer of middling success. Now, in this story she’s back in her own country, in Uganda. She’s still a housekeeper, but of a different kind, somewhat elevated, in fact. She works for an international hotel, and she has other housekeepers and maids under her.

Throughout the book Mary and Vanessa play hide-and-seek in Uganda. Like a co
Angela Buckley
Maggie Gee is one of my favourite writers and I have been meaning to read this novel for a while. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the hapless Vanessa Henman as she tries to navigate her way around Kampala, causing chaos in her wake. A fabulous read!
I only rated this book three stars because I couldn't rate it 2.5. Whilst it was easy enough to read, I didn't warm to any of the characters, and found the stereotypes excruciating. I felt that the author simply skimmed the surface, using these stereotypes to tell the story, and so the characters became one dimensional and I knew how their stories were going to develop. This all contributed to what I found to be a very patronising story. Disappointing.
Maggie Gee writes well and this is a really interesting take the way the British interact with each other and with people in one of their former colonies. An intelligent book which will sometimes make you laugh as well.
David Grieve
Co-incidences play a big part in this story of a delusional woman visiting Uganda as part of a writers' conference and taking the chance to find an old employee and see the gorillas on the DRC border. Alongside this is the story of her ex husband and also the employee she is looking for. All the while in the background is the unrest on the DRC/Ugandan border.

A good story although it doesn't maintain the initial pace and interest and becomes a little predictable as it goes on.
Clare Coffey
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The character of Vanessa was good but at times I thought that she was too vague. The other characters especially Mary and Trevor was excellent.
The description of Uganda was amazing. I felt that I was there and I did enjoy the gorilla section- truly amazing. I do hope that Maggie Gee writes another book about Vanessa and Mary as I would certainly like to know if Mary ever gets her novel published and whether Vanessa realises her true potential.
I agree with G, best to have read My Cleaner first, I was much more interested in and entertained by the characters having got to to know them previously. It is tempting to rush through this fairly short book but resist as otherwise it is too easy to miss some of the subtle but devastatingly funny lines, especially from Vanessa, poor old deluded Vanessa. It could have done without the 'meanwhile back in the UK' type stuff but otherwise a recommend
Wonderful story set mostly in Kampala. I felt like I was in Kampala with the vivid writing and descriptions of the noise and scenery. Vanessa the main character is very annoying but very believable. I would recommend reading My Cleaner first because the characters are the same, just more developed. All the characters are diverse and compelling, a great read.
Denise Kruse
I really enjoyed My Cleaner and this book, My Driver, continues the story of Ugandan Mary Tendo and British author Vanessa Henman. Set in Africa, this book is not a light read as it delves into the warring. The author tidies up loose ends from My Cleaner with, perhaps, a few too many coincidences.
Leonie Mueller
I can see why people rate this book highly. But I found it like wading through treacle till more than halfway through. It picks up pace but is still thin on the ground and stylistically difficult. The issues are so huge and I really like the glimpse into one person's mind whilst grappling things that frankly hurt the brain.
Katherine Govier

Perhaps the ending is a little predictable. But it's very satisfying.
And authoritative on the subject of Uganda.
Not to mention gorillas.
I shuddered with recognition, a little, at the description of
Vanessa at international literary festivals, trying to be cool.
Tracey  Wilde
I enjoyed this. Its a sort of sequel to My cleaner. Outlines the political situation in Uganda very well and poverty outside of the main cities.

Lots of humour and characters very well written.
I found the characters very hard to like. All of them seemed fairly unsympathetic in their own way. The setting was interesting. But the plot seemed somewhat farfetched.
Follow-up to "My Cleaner," this time set in Africa-Uganda-with the same protagonists and even better than the first. Ties up all the loose ends from the first book.
i wish the characters were more likable; they made what could/should have been a good and unusual story kind of tedious.
Cathie Davis
I could not get into this book, and did not finish it.
Maria Vincent
A gentle and humorous adventure in Uganda.
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Maggie Gee is an English novelist. She was born in Poole, Dorset, then moved to the Midlands and later to Sussex. She was educated at state schools and at Oxford University (MA, B Litt). She later worked in publishing and then had a research post at Wolverhampton Polytechnic where she completed the department's first PhD. She has written eleven novels and a collection of short stories, and was the ...more
More about Maggie Gee...
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