Just finished reading the book! In English the title is: 'Can any mother help me?', in Dutch it is 'Het geheime tijdschrift' (the secret magazine), which, honestly, I like better.
This book is a non-fiction book about a group of highly educated women in the 1920-1930 and later, who started writing to keep their intellect sharp and running and who were looking for some entertainment, to kill their loneliness. They all wrote articles that they sent to one person. That person made a nice cover and bound everything together and sent it to woman number 1. This woman commented on all the articles and then sent it to woman number 2 etc.
In their letters they shared whatever was important in their lives. Husband, kids, houses, the war, sexuality, the need for intellectual challenges etc.
I LOVED reading about their lives, about how different it all was back then. How difficult it must have been for them; to be bound at home after marriage, whereas they first roamed the streets of Oxford and Cambridge. In the book a lot of letters are published, together with short biographies about the lives of a lot of women. It makes me want more, because so many questions are left unanswered. Probably all women can fill a book with stories about their lives. But can't we all?.
I wonder why I love reading historical books, non-fiction books. Perhaps the answer is simple: because it makes me realize again that we are all the same in a way. Even though we live different lives in different eras and countries.
Reading this book helped me realize what a good live I can live these days. For example, in the book there is this woman who 'falls in love' with her doctor. The doctor then decides to talk to her husband, who doesn't sound like a warm and caring person (but of course we only read her side of the marriage), and this consultation leads her to get electroshocks, because 'there must be something wrong with her'. Like she is some hysterical creature or something. These days there is so much (too much?) attention for 'the inner person'. For this woman the year 2010 may have been a lot better.
But this also makes me think of this. Lets fast forward 75 years. My grandchildren will also think like: 'What?! Grandmother Marije didn't have this and this and this?! Unbelievable!' It is hard for me to really understand how, for example my grandmother lived, and it is hard (if not impossible) as well, to have a certain idea of how my grandchildren will live. I guess all of us, in the year 2010, just try to make it all work, make the best of it.
But don't you just LOVE the idea of time traveling? I wish I could! Where would you go and who do you want to meet? A question to be answered later! Take care AND READ THE BOOK!