Cecily's book reviews

In general I've written reviews of every book I've read since I joined GoodReads (RIP) in May 08, along with one or two I read prior to that. More recent reviews tend to be longer (sometimes a tad too long?). I always carry a book, though I don't get as much time as I'd like to get engrossed - life is busy, but in a good way. Too many of my favourite authors died without writing enough! Apart from reading, and writing about reading, I enjoy Scrabble, good restaurants, woodland, and attending the theatre.

Room at the Top

Room at the Top - John Braine Written in 1957, but set a little earlier, this is the story of a shameless social climber.

Orphaned Joe was raised by his working class aunt and uncle in a grim northern industrial town. Whilst a PoW, he studied for accountancy qualifications and after the war moves to a more prosperous town. He lodges with a well-to-do middle aged couple, gets involved with the local amateur dramatic group ands sets about bettering himself (whilst ensuring he gets plenty of sex too - it was probably pretty racy for its time).

He considers the cost, quality and availability of everything, including women, with disarming honesty to the reader, though rarely to those he meets in the story. He is very manipulative and aware of the fact, yet despite this, there is enough charm to draw the reader into collusion.


It is only as all his plotting seems to be coming to fruition that there is a glimpse of any remorse, and the only inkling of any unselfishness is just before that, when it looks as if everything is hopeless.

I feel a little guilty for enjoying this book as much as I did. Perhaps it's just as well I've never met anyone like Joe in real life?

Currently reading

The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy
Sebastian Peake, China MiƩville, Mervyn Peake
Mervyn Peake