Review of ‘A Suitable Case’, by Liz Hickman

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

by Liz Hickman
Published under the Moorside Writers imprint (2009)

Liz Hickman displays little truck with rose coloured spectacles in this collection of more than 50 pieces of her poetry and prose. They follow her varied experiences of life from early childhood via 'the agony of schooldays', romance and foreign travel to the ongoing search for that elusive 'meaning of life'. Her recollections are thoughtful and funny, sometimes sharp, occasionally salty.

Liz incorporates her literary journey into four parts. Joyful offerings under 'People' give name to close relationships past and present. We meet young Thomas, of whom 'At four Mother begged at the School door, "please let him in," she did implore.' Gentle tributes to senior generations include a paean to new knees, wise faces in a resting home, and Dad's need in retirement to have several cardigans for 'when it was a bit northerly, or being in a pub draught.'

A Miscellany includes a gleeful explanation for Having a Paddly, and then it's back indoors to rue the lost comforts of Old Home, a house which has suffered modernisation to become 'a now polished shrine to interior resign'.

Puns are numerous and witty. Activity around a bird feeder comes to life during the 'twitching hours'; voice is given to dormant bulbs 'straining with pain to split the thick soil' and escape their 'live burial'; and lovers are observed in the throes of passion that give rise to a uniquely funny phrase. Verses grouped under Self almost verge on the confessional, whether being possibly damaged for life by ladylike ideals, or admissions of secret cravings - these respectably distanced from Ideal Lover, who can have just a couple of flaws set against a long list of attributes, not least legs 'as strong and smooth as the statues at Chatsworth'.

Review by Julie Bunting

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