I’ve got thirty six expressions sweet as pie and tough as leather. And that’s six expressions more than all those Barrymores put together. Wait a minute wrong genre, the book Funny Girl has nothing to do with Barbra Streisand or Fanny Brice. Instead this is a very witty book that I picked up because of, what else the title.
It just so happens that the main character’s name is Barbara and she is from Blackpool. Barbara loves Lucille Ball. In fact she wants to be like Lucille Ball, the comedian not the actual person. During a beauty contest which by the way she won, she has an epiphany or what you might call an aha moment. She doesn’t want to live in her small town and be the reigning beauty queen. So off she goes to London.
She supports herself by working in a retail shop and one day meets a man who ends up managing her. Low and behold she gets cast in a comedy series on the BBC Channel.
What really makes this book interesting is how the author portrays England in the mid to late 60’s. This was a period of great change in the UK and for that matter in the US. In the US there were protests, bra burnings, fighting for equality etc. Perhaps it was more subtle in England. It was the Age of Aquarius with nudity in musicals such as Hair playing at the West End (in London). In the UK roles and society were changing as well and I think this book does a great job capturing some of the changes through the characters in the comedy shows and also with the characters who are writing the shows.
The character played by Barbara now named Sophie on the BBC, show some of the changes when she marries above her class and other things that you must read to find out. I recommend this book. It is a great read on and off the beach. Click on the book cover on the top of this blog for more information on the book.
And while you are at it you may want to see Funny Girl with the magnificent Barbra Streisand. Take a look: