The Naples of England’ – a book I enjoyed!

`The Naples of England’ Andy C Miller

I read this book while on a recent trip to France and  ‘The Naples of England’ transported me to the post war period in England’s South Coast resort of Weymouth following the author’s journey from childhood through adolescence towards adulthood.   This is more than Clitheroe  Kid meets Adrian Mole but I was reminded of both as I read through the very varied accounts of the young boy’s life.

Naples of England

Naples of England at Limoges airport

Miller tells us that a  ‘comfortable web of activity surrounded our lives at number 100 Purbeck Road’, but  in fact the book opens with a disturbing outburst as a neighbour suffers flashbacks to his treatment  at the hands of the  Japanese in a prisoner of war camp.  The rosy view of a happy childhood prevails and the hints at  grimmer adult realities are always seen from a distance and the  security and certainty of the Miller family hearth.

As I read on, I felt that I was being given privileged access  to some intimate memories of life in the close community of kids on the council estate  as well as a window on the glamour of the adjacent seaside resort with its deck chairs, amusements and shifting population.

Miller admits to both his naughtiness and his naivety and tells his story with a soupçon of nostalgia  which sets us up for an unsettling revelation.

On reading this book  I had learned about one family, a lot about a generation,  a little about Weymouth but nothing about Naples!  I was absorbed by the narrative and only as I finished did I return to the question I first asked myself:  ‘What makes Weymouth the Naples of England?’

This is a good personal story well told, but also a thoughtful reflection on the early life of a south coast Baby Boomer.

Naples of England available from Amazon

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3 Responses to “The Naples of England’ – a book I enjoyed!”

  1. terryloane Says:

    Thanks for the recommendation, Alastair. I have not read ‘The Naples of England’ yet, although I have given two copies to friends as presents! The relationship you identify between “the security and certainty of the… family hearth” and “grimmer adult realities” really rings a bell for me in terms of my own memories of growing up in the fifities. I feel sure I may find many more resonances between Andy’s book and my own recollections.

  2. alastairclark Says:

    Maybe there is a book you should write too Terry?

    I must say I am hopping that someone will write a book called ‘The Weymouth of Italy’ ! would that ever happen?

  3. andymillerauthor Says:

    Thank you for this very generous review, Alastair – and thanks to you too, Terry, for being so supportive in buying copies as gifts to friends!

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