The Children’s Book

The family in The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt lives in a rambling country home during a time of great cultural change; the children are exposed to new artistic expressions, socialism, women’s suffrage, and sexuality through the lives of their father, a political crusader and their mother, an author of children’s books. Through the writing of a book for each of her seven children, Olive Wellwood tries to shore up their personalities against the inevitable; the revelation of the secrets that children must learn to see their parents and each other as they really are. The Children’s Book is lengthy and multi-layered and took me through a fascinating cultural and political era with a story about family — meeting several of my personal criteria for a “best” book.