This is All

This is All

4.29 (1,793 ratings by Goodreads)
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Subtitled The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn this is the story of Cordelia from the time she is 15 until she is 20. She is pregnant and plans to give this account to her daughter on her 16th birthday so that they can share their youth together. She chooses the old and famous Japanese book, 'The Pillow Book' by Sei Shonagon, as a model in order to include all kinds of things she has already written as well as the episodes and thoughts she has now as she compiles her book. She tells of her mother (who died when Cordelia was 5) of her father and her aunt Doris (who marry when she is 16), of her love for William Blacklin, the boy with whom she chooses to have her first sex - and with whom she falls deeply in love. She writes about Julie Martin her teacher who helps her spiritually, describes her love affair with an older married man and her terrifying sexual experience with an unbalanced young man who is obsessed with her. The book includes thoughts on being a women, on poetry, music, reading and writing, on being pregnant and finally of her marriage to William. This Is All is an anthology, written in six 'books' of Cordelia's adolescent life, by turns funny, poignant, sad, exciting, fascinating ironic and truthful about topics that parents often do not tell their children. It is a richly entertaining and challenging more

Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 832 pages
  • 130 x 198 x 54mm | 557.93g
  • Random House Children's Publishers UK
  • Definitions
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099417766
  • 9780099417767
  • 270,685

Review quote

"explores the heart and soul of a teenage girl with a rawness that is both incredible and borderline alarming (alarming because the author is a middle aged man and he writes about being a teenage girl better than people who have actually experienced being one). Think a longer, more structurally unique Catcher In The Rye if Holden was a girl." Huffington Post "A warm, poignant and sometimes funny novel ... beautifully written and cleverly crafted ... A very readable book whose ease belies its length and complexity" -- Kate Agnew Guardian "Remarkable" -- Boyd Tonkin Independent "Serious and self-absorbed, Cordelia is the antidote to the ditzy heroines of a thousand pink covers but it is an addictive read, even at 800 pages. Anyone who questions the validity of specialist "teen" fiction should read it" -- Dinah Hall Sunday Telegraph "Captures in story form the confusion, the ordinariness, the excitement and the shape of everyday lives ... Chambers has delivered another provocative, informed, stimulating and controversial book" Inisshow more

About Aidan Chambers

Aidan Chambers was born in County Durham in 1934. After national service in the Royal Navy he became a teacher and then, for seven years, a monk. His young adult novels have been widely acclaimed, with POSTCARDS FROM NO-MAN'S LAND winning the prestigious Carnegie Medal and the US Michael L Printz Award. With his wife Nancy he ran Signal magazine and he has served as the president of the School Library Association. His devoted services to children's literature were recognised by his receipt of the Hans Christian Andersen Award in more

Back cover copy

All writing is a gift. All writing is memory. Cordelia is nineteen and pregnant with her baby daughter. She passionately needs to write and, choosing the old and famous Japanese pillow book as her model, she compiles the story of her teenage years. What emerges is an honest and challenging portrait of the unusual relationships within her family, of her love for William Blacklin, ofher affair with an older married man, of her terrifying experience with a man who is obsessed with her, and of her friendship with her teacher, Julie. Her thoughts range widely: on poetry and breasts, periods and music, friendship and trees, consciousness and sleep, sex and laughter. A wonderfully evocative and gripping story of an extraordinary girl who in turn maddens and fascinates and finally seduces the reader. The final book in a sequence of six ground-breaking and provocative novels that explore different aspects of teenage love and self-discovery. This edition includes an Index and Afterword by the author. 'Remarkable' Independent 'A true novel, a work of art . . . a huge and wonderful act of imaginative empathy' School Librarian Not suitable for younger readersshow more

Review Text

"Captures in story form the confusion, the ordinariness, the excitement and the shape of everyday lives . . . Chambers has delivered another provocative, informed, stimulating and controversial book"show more

Rating details

1,793 ratings
4.29 out of 5 stars
5 57% (1,023)
4 25% (442)
3 11% (204)
2 5% (84)
1 2% (40)
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