ninety-two very small pages, this is a 'book'
that can easily be read in an hour or so. Bennett, a playwright,
Lady in the Van
a collection of diary entries he made over a fifteen year period. It
is non-fiction and tells about eccentric, elderly
Miss Shepherd, who parked herself
van in Bennett's London
there for fifteen years until she was eventually removed by the
the van was towed off to a fate unknown.
retains the diary-entry format, with many, possibly
not so interesting,
entries obviously removed. What remains tells the story of the
strange relationship that developed between Miss Shepherd and
Bennett, and we are given small glimpses of who Miss Shepherd might
have been in her pre-van days and why her life mayt have spiralled
so miserably out of control. There is sadness, but there is also a
lot of humour, and as we turn the pages we become more and more aware
of the bond
between these two vastly different people.
had an enormous effect on Bennett. Not only did Bennett turn a
selection of his diary entries into a small book, he also, in
wrote a play (also entitled “The Lady in the Van”) for which he
was nominated for a number of prizes. In 2015, the play, under
the supervision of Bennett, was turned into a film with Maggie Smith
in the title roll.
thought-provoking look at those
we do not choose but that choose us.