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Learning To Swim
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Learning To Swim

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  106 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Abigail Jex never expected to see any of the Radley household again. In dramatic contrast to her own conventional family, the Radley's were extraordinary, captivating creatures transplanted from a bohemian corner of North London to outer suburbia, and the young Abigail found herself drawn into their magic circle: the eccentric Frances, her new best friend; Frances' mother, ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Arrow
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Jess Chambers
Clare’s gift for storytelling and her quirky but incredibly accessible style make her novels a sheer joy to read. She has a talent for creating characters who are not only lifelike and eccentric, but immensely believable, and who have stayed with me long after I closed the book. Learning to Swim is far more than a novel of first love. It’s a story about individuality, family secrets and contrasting upbringings, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Fab, fab, fab. Such a lovely, well written, witty story. And, so far, not available in the US. Order it from the UK. If you like Barbara Trapido or Kate Atkison, you'll like this. This is one of my all time favorite novels, and I can't say enough good things about it.

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I fell in love with this book! I adored the bohemian characters, the way the writer picks up on the minutiae of life and how she captures the painfully awkward teenage years. I think it help reading this when I was in my thirties, that way you can really empathise with how life turns out for some of the characters.
The cover doesn't do this book justice! highly recommended for readers of Barbara Trapido and Kate Atkinson.
I really enjoyed reading this. I wasn't glued to the book wanting to know what would happen next; instead I read it slowly as though savouring a good wine.

Clare Chambers's writing reads so effortlessly, it's like you're reading something you wrote yourself, as she adds some thoughts about life that you'll probably identify with.

I found a lot of parallels with "In a good light", the 1st novel I read from this writer. It starts with a present situation and then goes back in time for most of the
Total feel good book for me. I was travelling and someone left this (completely dog earred and battered copy)in one of the hostels we stayed in. I remember as I finished it - it fell apart. I looked for it for ages at home but as I could not remember the author wasn't easy! Anyway, enjoyed the book - identified with the (slightly) nerdy main character and found her really funny. Plus reading it reminds me of my travels! Great book for me!
I really enjoyed this book. Clare Chambers is excellent at character and story development. This was sent in England in the 70s and 80s and dealt with childhood and family relationships. Very well done.
Mar 14, 2014 Jo rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: revisit
Not a bad book.... just soooo slow. I'll come back to it another time maybe. It's well written, just nothing happens
Just a fantastically written coming of age book in England. LOVED IT!!!
Trish Mcnamara
An unusual story that kept me hooked until the end...
Thomas Ullman
Clare Chambers! I have read nearly all of her books. I think this was the first I read. And (like all her books) it is funny, self-deprecating and

Abigail is drawn into the world of the bohemian Radleys with unforeseen consequences. Clare Chambers is an eloquent and joyful writer. As far as I can tell she hasn't had a book out for quite a while. I hope for more soon.
Very slow. Sometimes interesting but I was always waiting to get to the good part. I listened to it on cd while driving. If I'd been reading the book I probably would have given up half way through.

Overall I did like the story. I was just expecting a romance novel as it is described but it was not really like that at all. I did like how it ended. The lady who read the book was easy to listen to (if I can't stand the person reading then I don't listen at all)and there were a few times I found mys
Not my usual type of read, but as my mum recommended it I thought I'd give it a go! Not as cheesy as the title perceives it to be and actually quite funny and touching. A story about a shy girl from a reserved middle class family becoming best friends with a girl from a large and loud working class family and all the drama in between.
This would almost be a 4 for me. I liked the characters, the humor, the writing. I found the love interest of the book pretty unlikable though. The other thing, which bothers me more, is the title and story imply some kind of growth of spirit and boldness by the main character that I don't think ever really happened. Although I quite enjoyed the story, that lack left a bad taste in my mouth.
I really enjoyed the storytelling aspect of the book. It kept my attention and always had me wondering how it would all end......just seemed a little too rushed at the end to tie up the loose strings. I didn't feel there was a clear, proper resolution with the main characters. I'd give this a 3 1/2 stars.
Great book! I really enjoyed the story you could easily relate to one of the characters! Wonderful book!
Nov 24, 2012 Mady marked it as wishlist
(amazon's recommendation)
hilary added it
Sep 19, 2014
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Sep 18, 2014
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Sep 06, 2014
Mandi Smith
Mandi Smith marked it as to-read
Aug 22, 2014
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Clare Chambers was born on 1966 in in Croydon, Surrey, England, UK, daughter of English teachers. She attended a school in Croydon. At 16, she met Peter, her future husband, a teacher 14 years old than her. She read English at Oxford. The marriage moved to New Zealand, where she wrote her first novel. She now lives in Kent with her husband and young family. In 1999, her novel Learning to Swim won ...more
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