Lucy Mangan

Little women, big issues

The great thing about Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women is that it has something for everyone: stay-at-home types have the oldest of the March sisters, Meg, who struggles to reconcile her love of ease with both her responsibilities and the family’s genteel poverty (and does at least manage to have one night of fun

Miss Marple to the rescue

Girl with Dove is a memoir by Sally Bayley, a writer who teaches at Oxford University, of growing up in a squalid, dilapidated house in a Sussex seaside town. It contains her mother Ange, her aunt Di, her grandmother, an unspecified number of siblings and a variety of temporary inhabitants who joined the Zion-seeking cult

The child is father of the man

Are writers born or made? The answer, by the end of Love from Boy — a selection of Roald Dahl’s letters to his mother drawn from the 40 years of correspondence they kept up, lovingly edited and deftly commented upon by his biographer Donald Sturrock — is surely that they are both. Even as a