Books on GIF #10 — 'Our Spoons Came From Woolworths' by Barbara Comyns


Books on GIF is a weekly review and discussion of random books told with the help of GIFs. We'll cover fiction, nonfiction and the occasional graphic novel.

This Sunday's book is 'Our Spoons Came From Woolworths' by Barbara Comyns.

Our Spoons Came From Woolworths

This book is about young love and disaster. Sophia and Charles marry in their very early twenties. They are penniless but otherwise mostly happy until Sophia gets pregnant. Here's how Charles reacted to the news:


From here, Sophia's life goes:

All Charles wants to do is paint. And smoke. But he's no:

He's completely useless. He helps Sophia not at all during her pregnancy, during her confinement and the birth (which in mid-20th century English public hospital was horrific, as this book graphically and grippingly describes), or after the child, Sandro, is born. Sophia, in addition to having to care for Sandro and cook and clean house, also has to take a job as an artist's model to bring in some money to support the family. It's very:

The book is narrated by Sophia, and the reader is put into the role of the sympathetic friend. One could argue it isn't very fair to Charles, her in-laws, her paramour, and others who do her wrong, since their characters aren't clearly sketched out. But to hell with them. You are locked into Sophia's side. Despite her generally upbeat tone, her story is punctuated with real horror. Many times I wanted to fly into this book and:

I imagine women would be interested in this book, but I think it's important for men to read it, too. Particularly men who are confused about abortion and women's health issues and who might not be familiar with concepts like the 'Second Shift.' Reading it is like:

'Our Spoons Came From Woolworths,' by Barbara Comyns, was originally published in 1950, and again in 2015 by The New York Review of Books. 196 pages.*

My Rating:

What's next? In the coming weeks, I'll review 'Onward and Upward in the Garden' by Katherine S. White, 'H is for Hawk' by Helen Macdonald and 'Outline' by Rachel Cusk.

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* Emily Gould wrote a really good introduction to this book: Informative and spot-on.