Leslie's Reviews > The L-Shaped Room

The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks
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's review
Mar 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, 20th-century-fiction
Read from March 21 to 22, 2011

I raced through this book. It's easy to read and the heroine––stubborn, smart, capable––is easy to like. The casual slurs she drops about blacks, Jews, and homosexuals are nasty, but they accurately reflect ordinary thinking in the late '50s; that fact doesn't make them more acceptable, but it does put them into a context. Of course, the viciously casual rejection of such people as being outside social norms and thus undeserving of respect resembles the attitude directed at pregnant single women like the heroine, something she recognises at least partially by the end of the book. It's hard to imagine now just how shocking this book was when it came out, with its pregnant heroine, whom it refuses to condemn (she herself regards the sex that produced the pregnancy as regrettable, not because it was immoral but because she had it for bad reasons and because it was bad sex), and its practical representation of the realities of pregnancy, abortion, sexual activity, and female desire.
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