I’ve come to the realisation that my favourite kind of audio books are auto-biographies, particularly when they’re read by the author. I don’t know what drew me to this one, I think it was partly because Anita is from Bradford, and partly the picture on the front cover where she looks so joyous.
Coming myself from Pudsey (between Bradford and Leeds), I felt on the same page as Anita as she described her local area as she grew up, and when she referred to Harrogate as the posh part of Yorkshire, I knew she was my kind of person. My opinion could have changed when she described how people she knew would pretend to be from Leeds and ‘how bad does Bradford have to be if you’re going to pretend you’re from Leeds. How rude! I’ll let her off though because this book was marvellous.
If you’re expecting an easy read, then this book will surprise you. Anita describes growing up in a Punjabi family in Yorkshire – too brown for the people outside her home but too white for those inside it. She describes the tough times she had growing up as a girl and an outsider. She also delves into her family history and we find out about how her family came to the UK and the struggles that they had along the way. She also talks more recently about how she started her career and how she made it to Countryfile, where I know her from best.
Anita talks with absolute sincerity and warmth about the childhood that shaped her and how it made her become who she is now. Speaking with depth and insight about not being the right sort of girl and talking to her younger self about the lessons she wishes she could have taught herself, the book was a real page-turner (metaphorically), and having it narrated by the author herself was just the icing on top of the cake.
If you like biographies with a little more than just a life story, then this is one for you.