After enjoying The Women and The Girls so much, it gives me great pleasure to welcome the author, Laura Bloom, to Behind the Pen to share with us a few of her favourites. Over to you Laura, what is your favourite…and why…
Character from one of your books?
Carol, from The Women and The Girls because even though she’s in such a difficult situation, and is feeling so unconfident and scared when this story opens, she always finds a way to be adventurous and creative and glam, and it’s those qualities which lead her to find her right path in the end.
Scene from one of your books?
It would have to be The Women and The Girls again, when the three main characters have an argument, and it goes completely differently to how one might expect. It moved me when I wrote it, and it still does.
Movie of all time?
Aliens, starring Sigourney Weaver. Aside from the fact that it took me three goes to actually see the whole thing (as opposed to sitting with my eyes squeezed shut and/or my fingers in my ears because certain scenes are so scary) – it’s actually a profound and brilliantly told story about motherhood and mother-love. A mother’s drive to make sure her progeny survives is the source of all life in the universe, the film suggests – not sexual love, which comes far down the list in this story.
Book that you always keep a copy of and recommend to others?
These days in Covid times it’s Bridget Jones, by Helen Fielding. As well as being deliciously escapist and always laugh-out-loud funny, each time I re-read it I find something new and fresh and thought provoking to chew over. This time I felt a surprising level of poignant sympathy with Bridget’s mother who, along with Mrs. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice on whom Bridget’s mother is based, I’ve always found ridiculous, obviously. But these days as I get older, I find I’ve become a lot more fond of her. Bridget Jones herself also made me feel much better about all the bad habits I picked up during Covid #stay at home, because she struggles with them – hilariously – all the time.
Fashion accessory that despite having plenty of, you still keep collecting?
I’m not sure if it’s fashion, but a good quality well cut white t-shirt is rare enough that whenever I do find one, I buy ten. No matter what happens in the future, as long as I have a freshly laundered and ironed white T-shirt I know at least on some level I’ll look and feel OK.
Drink that you enjoy every day?
In one of her many brilliant short stories, Alice Munro wrote that having only one drink is the sign of a serious drinker, so it’s with trepidation that I admit that for me it’s always got to be a Capri. That’s a glass of Prosecco with a dash of limoncello which I have every evening around 6.30pm. I’m certainly very serious about that!
Treat you indulge in?
Place to be?
Byron Bay Lighthouse at 5am. Brush turkeys, views of the Caldera, the sun’s first kiss of our continent at my feet: It’s the everything.
Person you admire?
The Australian celebrity cook, Maggie Beer. She’s strong and vulnerable, wise and fresh. In a way she’s like Libby from The Women and The Girls, now that I come to think of it, a few decades on, if all of her dreams come true. What Maggie creates is useful and beautiful and she shares it so generously and teaches others to do the same. I can’t think of a greater way to be.
Season of the year?
Winter in the Northern Rivers region where I live. The sun shines softly down on us – neither flooding nor burning, just perfect – and I never get too sweaty and hot.
The Women and The Girls by Laura Bloom
A kind of Monkey Grip meets ‘Nine to Five’, The Women and The Girls explores the price – and the rewards – of family and friendship in the Age of Aquarius – and at the dawning of the Age of Divorce.
Three friends. Three marriages left behind. Life begins in earnest.
It’s 1977, and warm, bohemian Libby – stay-at-home mother, genius entertainer and gifted cook – is lonely. When she meets Carol, who has recently emigrated from London with her controlling husband and is feeling adrift, and Anna, who loves her career but not her marriage, the women form an unexpected bond.
Their husbands aren’t happy about it, and neither are their daughters.
Set against a backdrop of inner-city grunge and 70s glamour, far-out parties and ABBA songs, The Women and The Girls is a funny, questioning and moving novel about love, friendship, work, family, and freedom.