Bunny's Reviews > Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949

Under My Skin by Doris Lessing
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's review
Apr 27, 2009

really liked it

Although I felt the narrative of this autobiography was a little dry (thus the 4 stars rather an 5), it is an engrossing history a life spent in Southern Rhodesia. Lessing had the awareness many of us (certainly me)lack of the many contradictions of British white life in black Africa. At an early age, she understood the wrongness of the white occupation, the injustice of the treatment of the native Africans, the blind prejudice of her society and family. I think many of us, in our early years anyway, haven't the gift of independent thought, the ability to judge things for ourselves. We simply accept whatever the current version of the truth is as seen by our families and our companions. Lessing's painful awareness led her into the Communist Party in the 1930's, into two pretty loveless marriages, neither of which answered her need for the independence and the experiences that lead to a Nobel prize winning author and probably into her permanently embittered personality.

The title of the book comes from a theory Lessing has that music played a negative role in her young life. The songs, such as "I've Got You Under My Skin" led people to believe in a romantic life that was not reality. She does discuss this throughout the book, so influenced by the music of her generation that she felt molded by it. I'm still thinking about this theory, wondering how deeply affected we all are by the songs we love, and whether this is a negative influence in our lives, as Lessing finally believes that it is.

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