The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett

Published May 31, 2020

The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett

Book info

  • Title The Lady in the Van
  • Author Alan Bennett
  • Year 1999
  • Genres Memoir, Humour

In 1974, the homeless Miss Shepherd moved her broken down van into Alan Bennett's garden. Deeply eccentric and stubborn to her bones, Miss Shepherd was not an easy tenant. And Bennett, despite inviting her in the first place, was a reluctant landlord. And yet she lived there for fifteen years.


I’ve seen the film and must have picked up this book at a similar time but it’s taken my a while to get round to reading it. It’s super short, though, so I whipped through it very quickly. Alan Bennett has hand-picked some of the diary entries he wrote about the lady that came to live on his driveway in a van - how that happened, how they managed to co-exist together, and her sad death at the end, plus the subsequent things he learned.

It’s amazing, really, when you think about the kindness shown, and the way these two got along so well together despite being very different people. But it’s a good little book about giving your fellow man a helping hand and what good can come from it.

Rating: 4 / 5

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