A fascinating personal memoir
'Middle Age' writes Libby Purves 'is a fine high vantage point for looking back. The official passing of another thousand years away from Bethlehem is a stimulus to thinking about Christianity'. In this fascinating and very personal book she does both: recalling her childhood in convents around the world with stories of nuns amid the gilded temples of Bangkok, rations of beer for nine-year-olds after High Mass in France and convent life in South Africa at the height of apartheid. As adults many Catholic girls of this generation gave up on religion, embracing agnosticism and the Pill with equal enthusiasm. The author describes Oxford in the late '60s, political idealism and religious disillusion; and traces the encounters that have shaped her thinking, and how, ironically, the scandals in the Church brought her closer to her childhood faith.