04 September 2011
Book Review: Miss Buncle's Book by DE Stevenson
I bought this book as part of my original Persephone order in 2009 but for some reason I have been avoiding it. I think it I was reserving it for a rainy day, but I think I was also worried that I may not like it as much as everyone else and I would be let down.
Miss Buncle's Book is the story of Barbara Buncle who writes a novel in the hopes of making some money. Never having written a book, and having, as she notes frequently, no imagination, Miss Buncle largely transcribes the daily lives of the folks she knows in her small village of Silverstream. The second part of the novel (entitled Disturber of the Peace) is where reality is left behind as Miss Buncle takes her very real characters into uncharted waters. It doesn't take long after publication for Disturber of the Peace to become a bestseller that sets the real village of Silverstream on its ear. And then some of the fictional parts of Miss Buncle's book start to come true.
This book was sheer delight. I loved the story and I loved the cast of characters. The villains were villainous without being over the top and the many sympathetic characters were so wonderfully drawn the book literally had me smiling while I read it.
Often I fantasize about books I like being filmed. But I must say, I don't want Miss Buncle's Book put on a screen large or small. I found the book so perfectly enjoyable and the characters so wonderful that I have no desire to see someone try and dramatize it. Granted I would watch the results if they did, but I really don't want anything to compete with what I remember from my read.
In the land of My Porch hyperbole I have been known to wax rhapsodic about many a book, and in particular about many a Persephone. But Miss Buncle's Book climbs right to the very top of my list of favorite Persephone titles. There are still a few titles jostling with Miss Buncle for supremacy (more serious affairs like Crompton's Family Roundabout and Whipple's many wonders) but Buncle has a levity that just can't be beat.
And the best part is there are 39 other novels by DE Stevenson for me to find and explore.
If you own this one and haven't yet read it (Darlene I am looking at you), it is time to take it off the shelf and get to it.