THE L-SHAPED ROOM - Lynne Reid Banks


was written by Lynne Reid Banks in 1960. It has sold all over the world and is one of the most famous post-war novels. The story isn't based on reality, it's fiction. Unfortunately, there is no more information about the author.

The main character is Jane Graham, who works at a hotel as an assistant of the Public Relations Officer. She has to make sure that all the important guests are kept happy. She tells the story from her point of view.

A couple of years ago she tried to be an actress and had a relationship with an actor called Terry. They split up but some years later they met in the holidays where they tried to start their relationship again, but they failed. Back in England Jane realizes that she is pregnant. She tells it to her father who throws her out of the house and calls her a tart. So she moves into a cheap, sordid room which was shaped like the letter 'L'. At first she doesn't want to make any friends there but she cannot resist because John, Mavis, Doris and Toby are so kind. However, she doesn't tell anyone about the baby. She starts a relationship with Toby but when he gets to know about the baby he leaves her. So Jane thinks about an abortion. Mavis offers her some tablets and tells her to swallow them with plenty of gin. But Jane is of the opinion that a gin abortion isn't the right end for her baby. After several fits of faints and a short meeting with Toby in the house Jane wakes up again in hospital. She is relieved, however, when the doctor comes in and tells her that everything is alright. When she returns home after a few days, she is very glad because John has painted her room white so it looks much bigger and brighter. She makes it up with Toby, too. Unfortunately, she loses her job because of being ill so often. But after Christmas Eve, which she spends with Toby and all the other people in the house, she visits her aunt Addy for a few weeks. There she earns money by typing a collection of love letters for Addy. Addy tells her that her father has turned to drinking and he pretends it's because he's ashamed of Jane, who doesn't want to care either. She keeps on living in her room well although she's absolutely alone in the house. A few days later John, Mavis and Doris come back. They have some presents for Jane: a cradle, baby dresses and a short message from Toby. Unfortunately, it doesn't say where he is. After finishing Addy's book Jane starts typing TV plays to earn money. Once, to her surprise, she meets Terry, who wants to help her because of his guilty conscience. At first Jane doesn't accept but then she wants him to search for Toby, who hasn't turned up yet. Suddenly she realizes that the L-shaped room is too small for her and the baby. So she decides to go home to her father's because she has just made it up with him. He tells her that good old Addy has died and left her all her possessions. When Jane goes back to the L-shaped room to pack the last few things she meets Terry, who is waiting there and tells her that he has found Toby, who turns up soon afterwards. Then the two men have a fight because Terry provokes Toby. When Doris comes to see what has happened, Jane suddenly faints. In the end she  wakes up again in hospital giving birth to her son, David.

words a tart => Hure

an abortion => Abtreibung

several fits of faints => Ohnmachtsanfälle

a guilty conscience => schlechtes Gewissen

possessions => Besitztümer

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