No me ha entusiasmado la historia I enjoyed the film of Alan Bennett s The Lady in the Van so much so, that I decided to buy the book that gave birth to the film, and I am not disappointed This true short story is an absolute delight as he recounts his relationship with Miss Mary Shepherd, who lived her eccentric life, in a van, on the drive of his house, until her death.Funny in a way that only Bennett seems to acheive, I saw elements of Miss Shepherd in myself and worryingly, I have recently bought a van to add to my own eccentric collection of vehicles Her letters to Margaret Thatcher and other leaders made me realise that there are further elements of Miss Shepherd within me.I would recommend this little book to anyone to laugh at, but to also reflect upon own eccentricities Thank you Mary Shepherd.In future I promise to not take life and myself so seriously possibly. The wonderful true story of Alan Bennett s long acquaintance with the cantankerous Miss Shepherd When her van, in which she lives, breaks down permanently it, and she, become a permanent fixture in Alan s garden for 15 years until Miss Shepherd dies.It s a love hate relationship where the old woman refused Alan s invitations to come indoors and take a bath despite the van s appalling living conditions and Miss Shepherd s complete disinterest in any form of hygiene But what a wonderful, spirited character she turns out to be and I felt great protectiveness for that grumpy yet funny and fascinating old lady.The two are constantly at odds but Alan has far too much compassion to evict her from his garden and quickly develops respect and affection for the old lady It s a truly bizarre situation, but I would expect nothing less from the delightful Mr Bennett. It is impossible to read this book without hearing the familiar, flatly humorous voice of the author Iti s as though he is reading it in the reader s head Being autobiographical makes it so, since the eponymous lady and her van lived for many years in the gateway of Bennett s London home.This book is very short and a bit scrappy, but amusing and very human What comes across most of all is Bennett s quite extraordinary generosity in allowing the lady to remain where she was She collected masses of possessions and lived in utter squalour, and as to her sanitation arrangements, apart from frequent mention of the pervading smell, the author kindly draws a veil over its unsavoury aspects The lady herself a true eccentric seems to have drawn Bennett in, and he appears to have looked upon her with a kind of benign amusment, suffering the inconvenience to himself and his visitors with great patience Did Bennett actually like the lady in the van It s hard to tell But she supplied him with a rich source of material for eventually this entertaining little book, and for the lovely fiilm it subsequently spawned It s a very quick read barely an evening s worth but well worth it all the same Recommended. In , the homeless Miss Shepherd moved her broken down van into Alan Bennett s garden Deeply eccentric and stubborn to her bones, Miss Shepherd was not an easy tenant And Bennett, despite inviting her in the first place, was a reluctant landlord And yet she lived there for fifteen years This account of those years was first published inin theLondon Review of Books The play premiered in , directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Dame Maggie Smith, who reprise their roles in this new film adaptation Shot on location at Bennett s house, Alex Jennings plays the author, alongside household names including Frances de la Tour, Jim Broadbent and Dominic Cooper I have to admit I am not normally an Alan Bennett fan, but after reading the synopsis and other reviews, I thought I would give this book a try I am not a film person, would much rather read the book the film is based on I really enjoyed this book it was a little short, but very enjoyable I won t bother explaining the plot, but even though this story had a gentle pace to it, you couldn t really put it down The interaction between Alan and Miss Shepherd is classic, and even better knowing that it is true Miss Shepherd comes across as a very interesting women, but one you would never really get under the skin of It is a sad fact that across this country that there are many Miss Shepherd s let s hope they will all find an Alan Bennett to watch out for them. This is a short read of a compilation of Alan Bennetts diary writings now as a book It is hard for most of us to understand that a women should choose to live this way, however choose she did I do wonder if the author saw her as potential material or even inspiration despite the frustration that such strong personalities such as Me Shepherd have on anyibodies daily life.The book has reminded me of my Aunty Beryl , who lived a similar frugal and cleptomaniac lifestyle and was a continual embarrassment to her siblings However her 13 nieces and nephews always had great admiration for her strength of character to be the way she was I smile to think what persuasive role Ms Shepherd might have led had life dealt her a different set of cards. This true, short touching tale explores both human desperation and sympathy making absolutely fascinating reading It s almost unbelievable, jaw dropping as this is a true account from Bennett s diaries and I would have loved it to have been longer Bennett has managed to skilfully give a true account, in a diary form, of these bizarre events whilst keeping it balanced, poignant and honest He is clearly a selfless and tolerant man, he writes about Miss Shepherd with respect but doesn t hide his irriation at her behaviour She is tragic but strong and is enigmatic to the reader and to Bennett it seems, though he cleverly writes about some investigating he does into her background to answer some of the questions you are bound to raise You will smile, laugh and cry at this book You re left feeling that Bennett has restored your faith in humanity, though you will question your own limits of kindness But you will also wish you could meet Miss Shepherd, and this lovely little read is the nearest you will come. The book is disappointing but only because having Alan Bennett read it to you is so much better and seeing the film is extraordinary This is a story of pathos, courage and kindness made even poignant because it is true The fierce independence of the Lady in the Van and the efforts of those who tried to make her life comfortable make for sometimes uncomfortable reading for middle class readers such as myself sitting in their warm, clean, well stocked homes Having said that, there is humour and love in this book im equal measure, so,read, understand and enjoy. I started reading this yesterday and finished it today It s fairly short, but the book is an absolutely fascinating account of an elderly woman who plants herself on a suburban, middle class street It s very funny and at times I wrinkled my nose at the descriptions of how bad Miss Shepherd smells and the reused sanitary towels drying out made me gag A quirky story about a woman who was fiercely private, but who became so well known She has a tragic history, but you end up admiring her courage in living the way that she did for so many years I wanted to read the book before I saw the film, and I would really recommend it.