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In the Blood: A Memoir of My Childhood

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  69 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
William Faulkner's character Quentin in The Sound and the Fury repeatedly observes that temporary is the saddest word of all. Despair over human impermanence and the desire to preserve what has been known and felt, even grief, reverberate at the heart of British Poet Laureate Motion's memoir of his childhood and adolescence in rural postwar England. A paeam to hisfamily, a ...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published June 30th 2010 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published June 21st 2007)
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Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written memoir of a particular kind of post-war country childhood, which ended abruptly for the teenage poet when his mother was seriously injured in a riding accident. It's told completely from the very young man's point of view, without any benefit of adult insight or explanation. Extremely moving. I felt compelled to find out what happened to the author's mother, after I'd finished the book, and was saddened to learn that she lingered on for nine years after the accident, in and o ...more
Sep 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David James
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing

This moving and detailed account of Andrew Motion's childhood has all the quality of a novel; in short, it's a page-turner, but one that the reader is reluctant to speed through. Moreover, almost every page has that special quality of lucid language and insightful detail that one expects from the best poetry.

Some Amazon reviewers have referred to the 'class issue' and one of them harks back to Sassoon's Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man, which is perfectly apposite. But the fact that Motion in adoles
Linda B
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beautifully written memoir of Motion's upper-middle class childhood in the 1950s and 60s. The book is framed by the first and last chapters that concern his mothers riding accident when he was 17, that left her in a coma from which she never recovered. These chapters being written in the present tense with the rest in the past and thus from the viewpoint of a teenager. It was an interesting insight into a post war class of family that was in his father's words a dying breed, being crowded out by ...more
David R. Godine
Dec 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
"Motion, Britain's poet laureate, was 16 in 1968 when his beloved mother fell into a coma after a hunting accident and his childhood "ended suddenly." After this shock opening, Motion recounts the scenes and events of that childhood, which range from warm early memories of growing up "country gentry" in Hertfordshire to being sent off to a Dickensian boarding school—with disgusting food, terrible sanitation and a headmaster who enjoyed beating little boys—at age seven. The book soars into the ex ...more
Feb 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Andrew Motion is England's poet laureate. This memoir is of his life at home and school before his mother suffers a debilitating brain injury while hunting.

He leads a typical (I guess) upper-class English life -- sent away to school at 8, riding & hunting, lots of dogs. Experiences the Dickensian discipline British boarding schools are known for; kind of strange when juxtaposed with descriptions of the getting the latest Moody Blues and Rolling Stones releases. (Motion is 56.) He seems to ta
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction11
I read this as part of an online book group - I might not otherwise have picked it up. But I'm very glad that I did. I didn't realise I cared about Andrew Motion - I can't recall if I've ever read any of his poetry. But I loved immersing myself in his childhood - which he portrayed so skilfully. So many scenes were vivid and colourful and tightly imaged - the poet's eye shone brightly on prose paragraphs. And although much of his childhood differed from my own, in setting, social class, events h ...more
Oct 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I never was not interested in what would happen next to the young Andrew Motion, but I could not quite get over shipping a kid off to boarding school at the age of seven. And, really, neither does Motion. It is a glimpse into a life of privilege and a sad commentary on a mother dying young and missing so much of her sons' lives. However, Motion worships her despite her letting him go. His father is a background figure but a subtle study in a returning WWII vet damaged by combat and clueless abou ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautiful writing as you would expect. What an incredible eye for detail Mr Motion has. At times the very lengthy nature descriptions had me glazing over just the tiniest part, but generally this was a very moving story and memoir. You are left wishing he'd tell the rest; the story stopping as it were, when he is 17 and facing his mum's devastating riding accident. His earlier poems give some insight into what happened next.
Shirley McPhillips
May 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who love memoir, poetry, breathtaking storytelling
Recommended to Shirley by: I found it at the library, new books
A brilliant recreation of his childhood in post-war rural England, experiences and influences resulting later in Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate. Beautifully detailed, not analytical, alive and fresh in the present of his boyhood. I turned over the last page as if waving farewell to a friend.
Oct 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir is poetry written in prose, so beautifully written--exquisite imagery & language through which we feel the profound insights of Motion's childhood and youth, captured complete in vivid detail as he intended. I love this book, the way he SEES the world and his own life as he lived it.
Derbhile Graham
Sep 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Beautifully written, but I was bored at times, when he waxed lyrical about the countryside or houses. It started brilliantly, and ended where it began, but you were left with more questions than answers, which annoyed me a little.
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lovely descriptions and makes you appreciate the small things around you in life and made me appreciate poetry even more.
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely beautiful memoir. The whole book is a poem to Motion's mother and to his childhood. I'm not usually one for memoirs, but this is just incredible.
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Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the best memoirs I've read. Very poetic and heartbreaking.
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Nov 13, 2014
Cynthia McKean
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Oct 26, 2012
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Sir Andrew Motion, FRSL (born 26 October 1952) is an English poet, novelist and biographer, who presided as Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009.

Motion was appointed Poet Laureate on 1 May 1999, following the death of Ted Hughes, the previous incumbent. The Nobel Prize-winning Northern Irish poet and translator Seamus Heaney had ruled himself out for the post. Breaking with the tr
More about Andrew Motion

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