Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
Published January 3 1998 Black Swan
With this book, I felt I came late to the party as it won the Whitbread Book of the Year in 1995. However, I picked it up after reading the blurb on the back:
"Ruby Lennox was conceived grudgingly by Bunty and born while her
father, George, was in the Dog and Hare in Doncaster telling a woman
in an emerald dress and a d-cup that he wasn't married."
I was hooked.
This book is nothing short of genius and yet so...ordinary, so accessible. It describes the daily lives of the Lennox family through the eyes of their daughter Ruby. The highs, the lows, births, deaths and marriages. Through war, fire and philandering it is a no-holes barred view of the life of a working-class family in York interspersed with snapshots of life for the Lennox ancestors showing us what had been, what could have been and why - to some degree - the Lennox family are the way they are.
Extremely well written, addictive and laugh-out-loud funny with extraordinary characters. It is now one of my favourite books. Read it, you won't be disappointed.