|About the Book|
This is an autobiography written by TV, stage and film actress Isla Blair. I didnt read this book to find out about her acting career. What drew me to the book is that she was a child of the Raj. She was born in Bangalore, India, in 1944. Her father was an assistant manager at a tea plantation in Kerala, and this is where she grew up. For her India was home. Even if her parents were Anglo-Scottish, she was Indian! At five she and her older sister Fiona were sent to boarding school in Scotland. For me the main focus was life in India because you learn of both hers and her parents’ time there.So little is said of middle-management officials stationed in India under British rule. I have always viewed these as posh aristocrats, dripping in money. That is completely wrong here. Sending their children back to Britain for an education is what was done even if it was scarcely affordable. Five years passed before Isla and Fiona saw their parents again! Isla was only five when first sent to Scotland. Her sister was three and one half years older. They had no one except each other. What was life like for these children? Vacations spent with unwelcoming relatives or their parents friends. Sure, I have read about boarding school life, but this true tale really hits home. Not only were the kids torn from their parents but also the parents from their children. Torn, because to be a good parent you had to do this - for the sake of your child even if adequate funds were lacking. The tale is extremely moving, and a real eye-opener for me when I realized how incorrectly I had viewed the parents. Islas parents finally moved back to Britain in 1959, back to a country where they no longer belonged and few job prospects. Her father became a clerk in a store- there were few job opportunities for a tea plantation manager in Britain! What did this life do to the family? The mother, the father, and the two sisters? How do you relate to people you havent seen for years? They scarcely knew anything about each other anymore. Very interesting!Islas path toward becoming a TV, stage and film actress is also covered. Her marriage too. She is still alive and she shares with us her views on life, her parents and the meaning of family. She values family. I found her very wise. In my view, the parts about her career are the least interesting, but luckily this isnt the central focus of the book. The end gets a little schmaltzy.The author narrates her own audiobook, and you can tell she is an actor. It is very well done.I am always a bit skeptical toward autobiographies. While Isla speaks honestly of her own faults, little negative is said about others in her family and those who helped her in her career. I find the real value of this book to be her life and her parents in Kerala, India, life on a tea plantation and the life of the children of the Raj. What are the psychological repercussions? This is a good book, well worth reading.