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The diary of an ordinary schoolgirl living in Carlisle in 1954 -- a perfectly preserved period piece from one of the UK's favourite novelists

23 February
Results rolling in! Algebra, 6th = 74%. Not bad. Latin = 55% Thrilled! History top = 85% smashing! Geography, disgusting, 2nd = 67%.
In 1954 in Carlisle lived an ordinary 15-year-old schoolgirl called Margaret. She would go on to become an acclaimed writer, the author of the novels Georgy Girl and Diary of an Ordinary Woman as well as biographies and memoirs. But this is her diary from that year; her life. Hers might be a lost world, but her daily observations bring it back in vivid, irresistible detail.

7 May
Wonderful feat accomplished yesterday by Roger Bannister! At last, the 4 minute mile. Glad an Englishman got it before anyone else.

24 July
Bought a pair of shorts – white, very short with two pockets. Super but rather daring!

2 September
Mum’s coming back on Saturday. Miss her every minute! I'll never marry and have a family -- housekeeping for two for a week is bad enough -- but for life!

Reviews

The diary is slight, but very sweet. You would be pleased to find it in your Christmas stocking… Margaret is a good egg. You like her more and more… If you were happy at school, Forster’s diary will bring it all back. If you were unhappy, she will make you wistful for what you missed.

Laura Freeman, The Times

A heady mix of bookish teenage passions and 1950s nostalgia

Good Housekeeping

Unmissable: a neat little green clothbound time machine

Libby Purves, Times Literary Supplement

Funny, acute and revealing by turns... a tantalising, nostalgia-inducing glimpse into a young life and a lost world

Lettie Kennedy, Guardian

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback

    9781784742232

    December 15, 2017

    Chatto & Windus

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781473552555

    December 7, 2017

    Vintage Digital

    208 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
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    • eBooks
    • Google Play
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Also by Margaret Forster

How to Measure a Cow
My Life in Houses
The Unknown Bridesmaid
Shadow Baby
The Memory Box
Isa and May
Over
Daphne Du Maurier
Keeping the World Away
Is There Anything You Want?
Mothers' Boys
Georgy Girl
Lady's Maid
Significant Sisters
Private Papers
The Battle For Christabel
Seduction Of Mrs Pendlebury
Diary Of An Ordinary Woman
Have The Men Had Enough?
Mother Can You Hear Me?
Good Wives
Precious Lives
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Rich Desserts And Captains Thin

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Miss Ex-Yugoslavia
The First Casualty
There Is More
Lion: A Long Way Home
Mindhunter
Life After Life
Young Hitler
Secrets for the Mad
Educated
The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind
The Diary Of A Young Girl
The Line Becomes A River