One Life – My Mother’s Story reviewed by Stephanie

I thoroughly enjoyed this biography of Kate Grenville’s mother Nance. What a formidable women she must have been, having been raised in a variety of families due to her parents need to work away and being educated in a rough shod manner. This book struck a chord with me, not so much that it typified the plight of women of the era, who fought so hard to breaking away from domestic slavery and “legalised prostitution” (marriage) but more so that she trained as a pharmacist and found the conditions very difficult. I too am a pharmacist and believe little progress has been made in this employment sector.

Nance is a great role model for me also, trying her hand at numerous activities including laying bricks for the family home but going on to do a BA (Hons). The scraps of her memoir have been so beautifully articulated in this book and I’m impressed that Kate could write about her mother’s inner life with such extraordinary knowledge of her intimacies and feelings about her marriage. This book serves women well, in teaching us how to adjust and settle into parts of our lives that create dilemmas for us.

I have been inspired by this book and Kate’s amazing writing and highly recommend it to others.


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