Girl With Dove by Sally Bayley
A Life Built by Books

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How much greater and more successful it would have been had the haze periodically cleared, had Bayley’s adult voice sometimes rung out, clear and true.
-Guardian

Synopsis

`Reading is a form of escape and an avid reader is an escape artist...' Growing up in a dilapidated house by the sea where men were forbidden, Sally's childhood world was filled with mystery and intrigue. Hippies trailed through the kitchen looking for God - their leader was Aunt Di, who ruled the house with charismatic force. When Sally's baby brother vanishes from his pram, she becomes suspicious of the activities going on around her. What happened to Baby David and the woman called Poor Sue? And where did all the people singing and wailing prayers in the front room suddenly go? Disappearing into a world of books and reading, Sally adopts the tried and tested methods of Miss Marple. Taking books for hints and clues, she turns herself into a reading detective. Her discovery of Jane Eyre marks the beginning of a vivid journey through Victorian literature where she also finds the kind, eccentric figure of Charles Dickens' Betsey Trotwood. These characters soon become her heroines, acting as a part of an alternative family, offering humour and guidance during many difficult moments in Sally's life. Combining the voices of literary characters with those of her real-life counterparts, Girl With Dove reads as a magical series of strange encounters, climaxing with a comic performance of Shakespeare in the children's home where Sally is eventually sent. Weaving literary classics with a young girl's coming of age story, this is a book that testifies to the transformative power of reading and the literary imagination. Mixing fairy tale, literary classics, nursery rhymes and folklore, it is the story of a child's adventure in wonderland and search for truth in an adult world often cast in deep shadow.
 

About Sally Bayley

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Sally Bayley is a Teaching and Research Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford and from September 2018 she will be teaching writing in Oxford as a Royal Literary Fund Fellow. Sally has written widely on visual responses to literature, including a jointly authored study of Sylvia Plath's relationship to the visual arts: Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual and a study of Plath as a cultural icon: Representing Sylvia Plath. In 2010 she completed a cross-media study of Emily Dickinson as a way of thinking about America's relationship to space and place: Home on the Horizon: America's Search for Space, from Emily Dickinson to Bob Dylan. She is the author of The Private Life of the Diary (Unbound, 2016).
 
Published May 17, 2018 by William Collins. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Self Help, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Girl With Dove
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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Rachel Cooke on May 29 2018

How much greater and more successful it would have been had the haze periodically cleared, had Bayley’s adult voice sometimes rung out, clear and true.

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