Mon, 22 August 2011
This podcast takes us into the wards in wartime, stomping about with a bucket for hours and hours, barely conscious that the bombs are falling because it's another night shift in the maternity ward. Monica Dickens was the great-grand-daughter of the much more famous Charles, and worked as a nurse during the Second World War. One Pair of Feet is about her year on duty encased in starched uniforms. She is also one of English literature's funniest memoirists: do listen to this if you want to hear about wet bicycles, lost lemon tarts, ripped stockings and making endless little meals for horrible patients.
What a great overview of this wonderful novel, making me want to go and re-read it. My first Monica Dickens novel was One Pair of Hands, which remains my favourite from the autobiographical trilogy she wrote - but I did find One Pair of Feet incredibly funny, as well as shocking and frustrating and everything else she got across. This was my favourite quotation from it: "She looked like one of those potatoes that people photograph and send to the papers because it bears a curious resemblance to a human face."