Review: Between the Stops by Sandi Toksvig

Challenge prompt: A book by/about a journalist.

Blurb:

This long-awaited memoir from one of Britain’s best-loved celebrities – a writer, broadcaster, activist, comic on stage, screen and radio for nearly forty years, presenter of QI and Great British Bake Off star – is an autobiography with a difference: as only Sandi Toksvig can tell it.

Between the Stops is a sort of a memoir, my sort. It’s about a bus trip really, because it’s my view from the Number 12 bus (mostly top deck, the seat at the front on the right), a double-decker that plies its way from Dulwich, in South East London, where I was living, to where I sometimes work – at the BBC, in the heart of the capital. It’s not a sensible way to write a memoir at all, probably, but it’s the way things pop into your head as you travel, so it’s my way’.

From London facts including where to find the blue plaque for Una Marson, ‘The first black woman programme maker at the BBC’, to discovering the best Spanish coffee under Southwark’s railway arches; from a brief history of lady gangsters at Elephant and Castle to memories of climbing Mount Sinai and, at the request of a fellow traveller, reading aloud the Ten Commandments; from the story behind Pissarro’s painting of Dulwich Station to performing in Footlights with Emma Thompson; from painful memoires of being sent to Coventry while at a British boarding school to thinking about how Wombells Travelling Circus of 1864 haunts Peckham Rye;from anecdotes about meeting Prince Charles, Monica Lewinsky and Grayson Perry to Bake-Off antics; from stories of a real and lasting friendship with John McCarthy to the importance of family and the daunting navigation of the Zambezi River in her father’s canoe, this Sandi Toksvig-style memoir is, as one would expect and hope, packed full of surprises.

A funny and moving trip through memories, musings and the many delights on the Number 12 route, Between the Stops is also an inspiration to us all to get off our phones, look up and to talk to each other because as Sandi says: ‘some of the greatest trips lie on our own doorstep’.

Image via Goodreads 

What I liked:

I loved the chapter names. They’re named after the stops on the bus route Sandi travels, and it was a super cute nod to London. It’s also a way to feel as if you’re travelling with Sandi, rather than just reading about her journey.

This book is perfectly Sandi. It’s peppered with her wit, wisdom, and wonderful personality.

The book is a wonderful love letter to the UK capital. It’ll appeal to both natives, who might want to see the city in a new light, and to visitors who’d like to see London without some of the tourist traps.

What I didn’t like:

There are some rather difficult-to-read sections. Sandi hasn’t always had the easiest road to travel in life, and there are some tear-jerking incidents.

 

Out of five:

Four. This is a wonderful memoir and a beautiful homage to London city.

5 thoughts on “Review: Between the Stops by Sandi Toksvig

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