June 25th, 2009

bookbag

Worth Reprinting: Jam Tomorrow



I’ve been rereading Jam Tomorrow by Monica Redlich. It was first published in 1937 and the copy shown here is the Puffin edition of 1947; it’s ‘Warmly recommended for girls of 10-14.’ The central character is sixteen year old Jean Bascombe and the story opens with her return train journey from school, spotting all the familiar landmarks, welcomed by her brothers, delighted to be home for the summer holidays. Home is an old rectory in a village being encroached on by road, rail and town. Jean takes home for granted but it’s far from normal. Her widowed father is one of those (to my mind) supremely selfish, vague clergymen who spend most of their time in the study and seem happy as long as meals are on the table at regular hours. The live-in help, instead of being a hardworking, motherly type, is lazy and rude. The children are on bad terms with most of their neighbours, who consider them wild and mad. Money is an ever present worry, in spite of the maid, gardener, car and school fees, as the modern reader will note rather tartly. Collapse )