Review: Between the Stops by Sandi Toksvig

Title: Between the Stops – The View of My Life from the Top of the Number 12 Bus

Author: Sandi Toksvig

Pages: 423 Pages

Publisher: Virago

The Blurb

This long-awaited memoir from one of Britain’s best-loved celebrities – a writer, broadcaster, activist, comic on stage, screen and radio for nearly forty years, presenter of QI and Great British Bake Off star – is an autobiography with a difference: as only Sandi Toksvig can tell it.

Between the Stops is a sort of a memoir, my sort. It’s about a bus trip really, because it’s my view from the Number 12 bus (mostly top deck, the seat at the front on the right), a double-decker that plies its way from Dulwich, in South East London, where I was living, to where I sometimes work – at the BBC, in the heart of the capital. It’s not a sensible way to write a memoir at all, probably, but it’s the way things pop into your head as you travel, so it’s my way’.

From London facts including where to find the blue plaque for Una Marson, ‘The first black woman programme maker at the BBC’, to discovering the best Spanish coffee under Southwark’s railway arches; from a brief history of lady gangsters at Elephant and Castle to memories of climbing Mount Sinai and, at the request of a fellow traveller, reading aloud the Ten Commandments; from the story behind Pissarro’s painting of Dulwich Station to performing in Footlights with Emma Thompson; from painful memoires of being sent to Coventry while at a British boarding school to thinking about how Wombells Travelling Circus of 1864 haunts Peckham Rye;from anecdotes about meeting Prince Charles, Monica Lewinsky and Grayson Perry to Bake-Off antics; from stories of a real and lasting friendship with John McCarthy to the importance of family and the daunting navigation of the Zambezi River in her father’s canoe, this Sandi Toksvig-style memoir is, as one would expect and hope, packed full of surprises. 

A funny and moving trip through memories, musings and the many delights on the Number 12 route, Between the Stops is also an inspiration to us all to get off our phones, look up and to talk to each other because as Sandi says: ‘some of the greatest trips lie on our own doorstep’.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Sandi Toksvig is one of the few people whose brain I would really like to tickle. Sounds. Bit strange but she is someone who ticks all the boxes for me. She is smart, she is damn funny and she is articulate. Add to that the fascinating life that she has led (seriously) and the events – like actual world events she had a front row seat for and you really do have an interesting memoir.

However, Between the Stops is actually a lot more than that. See Sani Toksvig gives you a history of London interspersed with her life story. You learn so much about our nation’s capital alongside her own history and it is such a wonderful juxtaposition of information.

With Between the Stops you will laugh, you will get emotional and you will genuinely learn something new. I really hope Sandi Toksvig gets on a different number bus and releases a sequel because this was just a joyous read. 

Between the Stops – The View of My Life from the Top of the Number 12 Bus by Sandi Toksvig is available now.

For more information regarding Sandi Toksvig (@sanditoksvig) please visit www.sanditoksvig.com.

For more information regarding Virago (@ViragoBooks) please visit www.virago.co.uk.

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