The Uncommon Reader

The Uncommon Reader is a book written in 2007 by English author Alan Bennet, a novella set in modern-day England which has received great praise from both the public and the critics.
The title of this book refers to the main character, Elizabeth II, the current Queen of England, who one day, chasing after her rowdy corgis, discovers them barking at a travelling library van, parked outside the kitchen at Windsor. Entering to apologize for the din, the Queen meets Norman Seekins, a young man very fond of reading, who happens to work at the kitchens of the palace. From then on, along with Norman and his recommendation of novels, she embarks on one of the most fascinating reading tours you can imagine.
Bennet describes us the process by which a person as absolutely real as the Queen of England, everlastingly attached to the splendour of power and glory, through reading, comes to question not only her privileged status but even her own life. Here we have the miracle of reading: Her Majesty the Queen,  perfectly set up in a republic of equals, suffering and overcoming the opposition mainly  from Sir Kevin Scatchard, her personal secretary, but also from the Prime Minister and even her own husband, the peculiar Prince Philip; all of them very worried by the fact that, because of her new and uncontrollable hobby, the Queen wasn’t taking enough care of her public duties, and what a coincidence, all of them, not too much inclined to indulge themselves in the pleasure of reading.
What I admired most in this book is Bennet’s narrative style. We follow absolutely thrilled the evolution of the Queen’s passion for reading, a passion that absorbs her (“the days weren’t enough for the reading she wanted to do”). Her Majesty realizes how insensitive she had been before. Reading gives her empathy, books teach her understanding.
The Uncommon Reader, in conclusion, is a real breath of fresh air, written with a genuine British sense of humour and a delicious irony. But it is also much more: an original manifesto for the potential of fiction to change our lives, to enable one to break out from the constraints of upbringing, class and education. And, Bennet ponders, who needs that more than Elisabeth II? Unforgettable: Books save The Queen!

 Pedro Charcos Escobar & Pedro Charcos Bueno