Dearest Daphne

As we approach the 26th anniversary of your death, I felt compelled to write you this letter. To put it frankly Daphne, I am a huge fan of your work. In my modest and very humble opinion, you totally rock.

Daphne-e1445084606259After years and years of hearing how marvelous Rebecca was, I finally got round to reading it about ten years ago. They were quite right Daphne, it really is fantastic. I was completely mesmerized with your descriptions of Manderley and your villainous Rebecca. I was busy booing Mrs Danvers and rooting for your pretty protagonist without a name. Very well done indeed. What I didn’t expect was to find out that this isn’t your best work. Not in my eyes, not by a blinking long shot.

The second book I read was Jamaica Inn, amazing Daphne, that’s the only word to describe it. It had me up half the night, because I just couldn’t put it down. The twist with the Vicar – Never Saw It Coming, very well played. And your descriptions of the “filthy night” just excellent, I adopted the phrase immediately – I hope you don’t mind.

After I’d devoured Jamaica Inn, I started reading your short story collection “Don’t look now and other stories”. Now I’ve watched that movie and to be honest with you, I didn’t think much of it. I just couldn’t get past all those dated 1970s sex scenes. But your story was something different entirely. So sinister and eerie that it lingers with me still. In fact every story in the collection is a triumph, so gripping and unputdownable (a terrible phrase, I do apologise). Seriously Daphne, hats off to you.

But the thing I like most about you Daphne, is your ability to shock. Let’s talk about ‘The Doll’. It’s wild Daphne, creepy, macabre and so very bold. Did you really write a story about a sex doll when you were only 20 years old? Was the year really 1920? You are fierce Daphne Du Maurier.

And that’s why I’m writing this letter to you. I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for the legacy of work to left behind for me to read and enjoy. Thank you for keeping me up all night glued to your books. And most of all thank you for teaching me how to be the best writer I can be. Now that I’ve read your work, I realise that to be truly great, you’ve got to be completely fearless.

Daphne Du Maurier, I salute you.

Kindest regards

Your biggest fan

Pippi Longstocking Saves Bedtime

pippiI thought I had pretty much covered all the children’s classics in my youth. The Wind in The Willows, The Worst Witch, all the Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton books known to man, I read them all. So just how I managed to escape Pippi Longstocking and her crazy antics, I’ll never know. I’d never even heard of her until I spotted her recently, peeking out at me on the shelf of a second hand shop, pleading me to buy her!

So imagine my delight when I find out that she’s the perfect role model for my six year old girl. Forget Princesses waiting to be rescued, Pippi Longstocking is feisty, fierce and funny. She has my girl properly squawking with laughter, which may not be exactly ideal right before bedtime, but it’s still very lovely all the same.

But I mean who could resist a giggle at a Pippi – a girl who defiantly walks backwards, sleeps upside down (with her head underneath the duvet) and who wears shoes that are five sizes too big.

My girl is falling in love with the glorious Swede, and it’s not just her, I’m pretty smitten too! Pippi is making bedtimes fun again, she’s transporting me back in time to my old bedroom 25 years ago, when I would stay up reading, way past my bedtime, with the help of my Carebears torch. She’s helping me remember just how magical reading can be.

So if you’re looking for a bedtime story for your little girl (or little boy for that matter), don’t settle for a pretty princess, opt for the peculiar Pippi Longstocking instead. I promise, you’ll be very glad that you did.

You can buy a copy of Pippi Longstocking here.