All seems right with the world when a best-seller turns out to be wonderful. It’s not just for the fairness toward the book that I say this; it also gives me hope that the general public is smarter and more discerning than I sometimes think. Such is the case with Funny Girl.
The beginning, set in the 1960s, shows us Sophie Straw as an aspiring comedienne. Blonde, busty, and beautiful, yet endearingly naive, she is the quintessential soubrette. Yes, I had to look that word up, too, just like Sophie. She soon lands the lead in a BBC television comedy at a time when Britain in general and the BBC in particular are stuffy and priggish. She and her doughty crew of writers, actors, and producer proceed to unstuff and deprig mother England as they take us through the decades to the modern day and the evolution of social norms in Britain and society in general.
The story is written with warmth and humor, wit and intelligence. It never has a mean or sarcastic tone. Sophie is from Blackpool, which I take to be somewhere out the sticks by London standards, as far from the Oxbridge slice of society of her producer Dennis as possible. Yet everyone, including the viewing public, falls in love with Sophie for her big heart, her innocence, her impeccable comic timing. You will too.
I listened to the audiobook and I strongly recommend you do, too. The reader, Emma Fielding, is superb. I can’t imagine the print book could do as well. This book gets my highest rating.