An eagerly-awaited country childhood memoir by one of Britain's most-loved personalities
Pam Ayres is one of Britain's best-loved personalities. She appears regularly on TV and radio, and has her own Radio 4 programme Ayres on the Air. She performs her solo stage show annually to sell-out audiences throughout Britain and around the world and her poetry collections are bestsellers.
A key part of Pam’s shows and collections are her wonderfully wry and evocative anecdotes about her own life. Her autobiography will satisfy fans eager to hear more of these stories, and will follow her early life up to winning Opportunity Knocks in 1975. Growing up in a council house on the village green in Stanford in the Vale in (what was then) Berkshire, in the 1940s and 50s, Pam started her working life at 15 as a civil servant. However, she was so bored by the daily routine that she quit to join the Women’s Royal Air Force where she began to perform for the first time.
Writing with her usual mix of good humour and poignancy, Pam’s autobiography is a classic memoir of a post-war country childhood in the vein of Cider with Rosie.
“Ayres gives a wonderful account of what it was like to grow up poor but respectable in post-war rural England. Some of her writing in the early chapters, describing life as the youngest of six children in a council cottage in the Vale of White Horse, Berkshire, has the original freshness of classics such as Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford”
Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday
“I find her work sweet and sour, gentle and sad, and often very moving in its wistful way ... The descriptions of post-war Berkshire life in The Necessary Aptitude are wonderful ... The world Ayres evokes is Hardy's Wessex ... I do admire (and envy) this marvellous woman”
Roger Lewis, Daily Mail
“Excellent ... Unsentimental, especially about herself, Ayres gives a surprisingly moving account of what it was like to grow up poor in rural England without any "aptitude" for making something of herself”
Kathryn Hughes, Christmas Guide to a Cracking Read, Mail on Sunday
“Highly readable ... Pam's memoirs are a masterclass in effective and effervescent prose”
“An evocation of long-gone village life as captivating as Thompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford. At the book’s height, she reaches up and touches Laurie Lee”
“As funny and benevolent a memoir as you’d expect from one of Britain’s finest comic”
Good Book Guide
“It’s all so well written, so funny and so touching”