The Golden Notebook

Rating: +

Doris Lessing

On the largest scale, this book is about a woman trying to sort out what she should do with her life - what matters to her and what she is wasting her time on. But the story is told through the entries that she makes into a set of five notebooks, each of which she uses to write about a different aspect of her life. The woman is also having a bit of an emotional breakdown at the time, and there are some significant plot elements which are presented through the notebooks. But a lot of it is also her thinking about her past involvement in political activism and the jeopardy that has put her and people she cared about in, and whether this is something worth risking oneself for - the whole of one of her notebooks is about this. Another is a story she is writing which carries parallels to her life and to this struggle. There is one which is all news clippings, and one that's a more regular diary - stuff about work and a man that she may or may not be in love with. And there is the "Golden Notebook", which it is left unclear exactly what it is.

I liked the book a lot, and wish that I hadn't been reading it for a class so that I could have read it a bit slower. I loved the technique of dividing this woman's thoughts and life up and presenting them a little at a time by showing chunks of each notebook. There is a bit of the book which is told from the perspective of a narrator and shows things not quite from her point of view as well, which gives some grounding to the character. I thought there were a lot of interesting insights and fascinating struggles that the character was going through, though I also found that there were parts that I didn't identify with as much. If you don't like stream of consciousness this book may not be for you since the style is reminiscent of stream-of-consciousness.


Return to Amanda's Review Page

All contents of this site copyright, contact with any questions or comments.