Title: Keeping On Keeping On
Author: Alan Bennett
Page Count/Review Word Count: 542
This book is basically just a bunch of Bennett’s diary entries all brought together, and so that alone should be enough for you to tell whether you’re likely to find this interesting or not. For me, diary collections rank slightly above letter collections and slightly below essay collections, and all three belong firmly in the “bedtime books” category. So perhaps you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that I read this a little bit at a time.
I mean, call me crazy, but I don’t find it particularly interesting to read other people’s journals. I don’t even find it interesting to read my own. You also need to bear in mind that by the time that these journal entries even start, Bennett was in his seventies, so it’s not as though he’s living a super exciting lifestyle. He’s mostly going to National Trust properties with his partner and talking about how they no longer take sandwiches with them because he’s gluten intolerant.
Weirdly, I’ve also read a fair few of these diary entries before in one of Bennett’s other books, although I couldn’t remember which I’d read and which I hadn’t and so I ended up just re-reading them all. They were printed in another of Bennett’s books that I read as a bedtime book, and so it left me with a feeling of déjà vu.
So now we have a problem, because there’s not much more for me to tell you about this one. It pretty much just does what it says on the tin, but I have to somehow still get another 200 words into this review to make it tally with my goal of each review having the same word count as the number of pages that the book has. When I struggle to find things to say, it’s a sign that the book is either way too long or way too boring, and this one was a little bit of both.
With that said, I am still glad that I read it because Alan Bennett is one of those authors where I want to eventually read everything that he ever wrote. I’d read his shopping lists if I had to, and when I was going through this one, I wouldn’t have been surprised if a shopping list had made an appearance. It feels like everything else did.
The only real redeeming feature that I can think of is that if you’re studying him for a course or if you’re staging one of his plays, you might want to read about his own experiences with them. But that seems like a pretty niche audience, and so I’m not sure how many people will actually be swayed by that. Otherwise, I can’t really say that I’d recommend this one, just because by its very nature, it’s kind of dull.
All in all then, I’m glad that I finished it, but I doubt I’d ever pick it up again. It is what it is, it’s over and done with, and now I can move on to something else. And that, my friends, was another 200 words. Job done.