A bit of blurb..
This is the story of Lizzie Vogel, a 15 year old girl who finds herself working in an old people's home in the 1970s. The place is in chaos and it's not really a suitable job for a schoolgirl: she'd only gone for the job because it seemed too exhausting to commit to being a full-time girlfriend or a punk, and she doesn't realise there's a right and a wrong way to get someone out of a bath.
Through a cast of wonderful characters, from the assertively shy Nurse who only communicates via little grunts to the very attractive son of the Chinese take away manager, Paradise Lodge is the story of being very young, and very old, and the laughter, and the tears, in between.
My thoughts about the book..
I was really intrigued by the premise of this story of Lizzie Vogel, a feisty fifteen year old who despite everyone's best efforts to get her to attend school to do her O'Level examinations, Lizzie seems to find respite, and extra pocket money, by working in a local old people's nursing home.
Setting the novel in the 1970s was inspired as it allowed the author rather more poetic license, as to have a fifteen year old working in a nursing home with today's stringent CQC/CRB checks just wouldn't be allowed. Thus this literary freedom gave the novel its energy and I really enjoyed going behind the scenes at Paradise Lodge. The chaos of the place and its unusual ethos of elderly care made me laugh out loud in places as it was eerily reminiscent of my own experience of working in a nursing home in the 1990s. It would seem that time doesn't always elicit change. The story of Lizzie's experience with the false teeth is a story which has circulated throughout my nursing career and it still brings a smile to my face when I hear it recounted.
The author has done an excellent job of recreating a more innocent time. Lizzie's interaction with the old people in the nursing home was especially poignant and her relationship with her own family, which was rather secondary to the story, was well handled. Some of the scenarios that Lizzie finds herself in were rather over the top, but this, I think, is what gives the story its rather naive charm. The story has equal light and shade, laughter and tears and I enjoyed reading it very much.
Best read with...a bowl of chicken soup and a slice of bread and butter..
More about the author can be found on her website by clicking here
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