Details for 'A Very Private School' by Charles Spencer

A Very Private School

by Charles Spencer
An open, honest and, nonetheless, engaging account of a sad childhood spent away from home, in the care of abusive teachers.
A Very Private School
by Charles Spencer
My review:

This isn't the sort of book I would normally pick up but I find memoirs fascinating and, of course, the Spencer family continues to intrigue. What's more, I haven't yet read any of Charles Spencer's history books, so I was keen to experience his writing style.

And this is a very readable book. He has an engaging style which is humble, open and honest.

Unfortunately, though, the subject matter is what we have come to expect in accounts of boarding schools of a certain time. Charles Spencer and his peers experienced physical and emotional abuse from the teachers who should have been caring, instructing and protecting them.

The most interesting aspects of this book were the opening and concluding chapters when Charles Spencer speculates on why parents felt it was appropriate, necessary or desirable to send such young children away from home. He also acknowledges that they thought the teachers knew best so any challenges they might make were quickly dismissed, and the parents retreated feeling suitably rebuked. 

It's an easy read in terms of Spencer's style, and he sensitively handles the subject matter. I'll read more of his writing as a result, I think.

Date of my review March 2024
Book publication date: 14th March 2024