Susan's Reviews > The Uncommon Reader

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
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's review
Dec 22, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-about-books, fiction, kings-and-queens, library-books, read-in-2009, reading-challenges, remarkable-reads, women
Read in November, 2009

Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader is a surprisingly interesting novella chronicling the Queen of England's (fictional) realization of the vast world of books and reading. If she were anyone else but the Queen, this might be a wonderful and pleasant journey - the discovery of a traveling library practically at her doorstep, receiving book recommendations from a young man working with her kitchen staff, sparking bookish discussions with everyone she meets - sounds delightful, right? Well, despite having a marvelous time, the Queen's advisers and staff decide that her reading would only serve to show favoritism and might make some people excluded from the Queen. These nuts go to great lengths to halt the Queen's reading, by hiding her books and having them misdirected at airports - it really is crazy!

I really enjoyed reading The Uncommon Reader (Ha! that sounds funny!) The characters were unique and quirky - from the Queen herself, a self described opsimath; to her politically correct aide, New Zealander Sir Kevin, forever concerned with the negative impact that the Queen's increased literacy might have on the Monarchy; to the kitchen boy turned literary advisor, the Queen's amanuensis, Norman - they are all multi-dimensional, realistic, well-written characters.

At just 120 pages, The Uncommon Reader is a quick and amusing read - easily tackled in one sitting. It is incredibly humorous in its complete absurdity, and leaves the reader alternately shaking one's head and laughing out loud. This is a book for the reader in us all. It was a joy to read, from it's hilarious beginning to it's surprising ending. You will not be disappointed!

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Elizabeth (Miss Eliza) I hope you like this!

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