Yesterday I blogged about the New Living Translation of the Bible which we have just been given. It is not the first copy of this I have owned…Back in 1969, I won a School Prize. The system which East Dereham High School For Girls operated was this; Mr Chambers, the local bookseller, brought in loads of books, which were placed on the big tables in the school library. Prize-winners were allowed to go in a choose a book from the selection [I believe we were allocated particular tables, depending on our age] BUT if there was a specific book, within the given price range, which we wanted, but was not on display, we could ask for that instead. I requested The Living New Testament, which had just been published, in paperback, in the UK.
The Head was thrilled, and said how excellent it was that a girl should want a Bible. Mr Chambers duly ordered a copy. On the morning of Speech Day, I was summoned to her office. I would not be presented with this awful book by our Guest of Honour. the Head had been reading it and deemed it unsuitable for a public presentation. But why? I asked, it is a Bible. Miss Ambrose sniffed, and said she would be telephoning my father to tell him what she thought about this. But he suggested it as a suitable prize, I told her. Later that day, I went up on stage to be given this instead…
I was SO cross that I put P&P on my bookshelf and never read ANY Jane Austen till I was in my twenties.
After Speech Day, the Head gave my Dad the Bible after all - in a plain brown envelope! She explained to him that she had glanced through the book, and felt it entirely inappropriate that a girl of 14 should be reading things like “The angel told Mary ‘you will become pregnant’” [presumably the Head then had a fit of the vapours, and never got to Mary's response about being a virgin]