Bookworm by Lucy Mangan review – an enchanting memoir of childhood reading

Narnia, The Secret Garden and other favourites of a bookish child in Margaret Thatcher’s south London

To read Lucy Mangan’s memoir of growing up bookish is to be taken back to a time in life when reading wasn’t merely a gentle pleasure or mild obligation but an activity as essential as breathing. Not any old breathing either, but deep, sucking gulps made all the more urgent by the terror that the oxygen could get cut off at a moment’s notice. Mum might shout that it was time to come down for supper, or Miss might tell you to go out and play in the fresh air with the other children. Worse still, you might come to the end of a book and have nothing left to read apart from an old bus ticket fished out from the pocket of your mac.

I consumed Mangan’s beguiling book in the same feverish way ...