It can be a bit of a dirty word.
It is often a word viewed as a bit hippy-ish. WI groups, PTA’s, the Christian groups that go litter-picking on a weekend. It’s all very wholesome.
I know as I sit at my desk looking out of my window that the community I live in is not exactly one I want to be part of. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just not me. I like my community with a little bit more bite, more GIFs
But it is one I’m part of, if only passively. If I wanted to be an active part of it, I could. It’s my choice.
Fortunately, I belong to many communities, not just the one I live in. There’s my work community, my friends, and my online communities.
One of my communities – the book-loving community, which if you’re reading this, you’re a part of! – has been going crazy for a particular book over the last few months. If you’re bright (it says it up at the top of the blog there ^) , you’ll have worked out I’m talking about The Lido by Libby Page.
The Lido is the story of what happens when a young journalist – Kate – is sent to cover the potential closure of Brockwell Lido, and while there she meets Rosemary – an eighty-something stalwart of Brixton.
They are at either end of their lives, but they have something in common. They’re both lonely – Kate, particularly – but their joined efforts to save the lido bring them – and many others together.
This is a really sweet book, and you get to know Kate and Rosemary both really well – but as well Page does a good job of making you care about the other members of the community, and the lido as well.
You really do feel part of the community and you begin to care. I started getting angry about the potential closure of the lido, reality started to blur with the fiction – which has to be the ultimate goal of any writer.
I enjoyed seeing the community build around Kate, lifting her from her depression. At the same time, the book raises some very pertinent concerns about the nature of public services, how often their value is higher than the money which they bring in.
The Lido is a feel-good novel, the kind that makes you feel better about the world we live in. It should be on everyone’s summer-reading list.
The Lido is available now, published by Orion