Annie Magdalene

Barbara Hanrahan, Author Beaufort Books $13.95 (121p) ISBN 978-0-8253-0309-8
Hanrahan, a noted Australian author and artist, heeded the words of Virginia Woolf who regretted that no history of ""infinitely obscure lives'' exists. Rising to the challenge, the author of this fictional biography records the life of Annie Magdalene McGregor, an obscure but far from ordinary person. One becomes involved in her crowded years as Annie describes them in an account that reads like the most intimate kind of oral history. The recital, as the sensitive writer presents it, is natural and nonstop, starting with Annie's youth. Born in 1908, she's a quick, adventurous child, different from her quiet brother Tom and adopted sister Dorrie. Growing up in a middle-class part of Adelaide, Annie goes to work in a shirt factory at age 14 but soon sets herself up in business, ``making smart things, not the cheap stuff anyone could run up.'' A faithful helper of family and friends, Annie never marries any of her many beaux: ``I never had it sex,'' she says with no real regret. The book is rich with incidents about her life during World War II, often sharp with disapproval of misbehaving kith and kin. In her 70s, Annie keeps busy, enduring arthritis and heartbreaks, relishing small joys. Hanrahan's book is funny, moving, a real literary treat. January 24
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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