Wellington Road (1962)

Margaret Lassell
Penguin Books

At the age of 24, author Lassell moved in with an extremely poor family living in council housing somewhere in the north of England.  The book is in the form of a diary describing the day to day (mis)adventures of Joe, Mary, and their various children as they try to make do with little to no money in the late 1950s.  Joe and Mary's relationship is complicated--she still occasionally leaves the house for days to go on drunken flings with an ex-boyfriend.  At other times Joe essentially pimps her out to make ends meet.  Meanwhile the children run wild and get into their own difficulties.

Lassell remains surprisingly disengaged throughout--doing her best to simply record the various troubles and degradations confronting the family.  Oddest historical detail:  though they have little to no money, Joe scrapes up enough cash for the family to see Vincent Price in  House of Wax....twice!  Once in 2-D and once in 3-D.

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