Yesterday (Teenage Memoirs)
London, Walker, 1992, 85p
Oxford is a city that inspires imagination and creativity. I have been living here for six months now, and am still yet to fall in love with it, though I really, really want to.
Yesterday is Adele Geras' account of her university years in Oxford, where she studied French and Spanish at St Hilda's in the early sixties. She is a warm, inviting writer, drawing you right into her Oxford. The story is reminiscent and full of love for the city, where, having spent most of her life in boarding schools or moving from country to country, she finally found a place to call home.
Geras directly addresses the fantasy of Oxford - she grew up dreaming about it, drawing on her father's stories and a map he owned. It's the place you read about in history books; the place that caused the creation of so many wonderful classics, like Alice in Wonderland. It is the centre of culture and learning; a place beautiful come rain or shine. The way Geras writes makes you want to visit, to eat at the cafes she ate in, to explore the streets she walked. Most of all, I want to meet the people she met. It's always the people that really make a place special.
I want Geras' to experience Oxford, but even she admits it has changed. I'm getting there.