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Rats in the wall story

(14 Posts)
apotatoprintinapeartree Sun 07-Dec-14 21:33:17

I am trying to find something to explain this story to me.
My friend (English teacher) recommended I should read this, I did.
I didn't get it at all.
I have dyslexia and my comprehension skills are extremely poor.
I read really slowly and didn't get to read the usual material they did in school.
I don't even know the author, but think it aimed at A level, please don't say its basic GCSE or I'll weep.
I can't ask my friend as her dh is very ill atm.

CastlesInTheSand Mon 08-Dec-14 02:03:18

Stories aren't for GCSE or A levels! They're for reading.

Plot summary here:

Elllimam Mon 08-Dec-14 07:38:27

Well I have an MSc and still found it quite confusing. It is an odd story.

KatieKaye Mon 08-Dec-14 07:44:28

Why did she recommend it to you? Do you like horror stories or films?

Having read the summary it sounds quite strange .

Honestly, I wouldn't worry if you didn't get it

What sort of stories do you like? Horror, mystery, romance? Maybe you could get some recommendations here?

If reading is difficult have you tried audio books?

Pantah630 Mon 08-Dec-14 09:04:02

Maybe she just thought you'd enjoy it, if you're into horror/mysterious stories. Not my cup of tea but some people love this type of tale.

apotatoprintinapeartree Mon 08-Dec-14 18:09:46

Hello all,

Thanks for the replies.
Firstly, I think she recommended it to me because she knows I have problems in this area and that it was a good read.
I don't particularly like or dislike horror, I think it was from a comprehension pov.
She is a good friend and I suppose trying to help when I asked for suggestions.
I never thought to ask on here, what a whalley I am grin

I would like to build up some skills in comprehending literature, I can manage things like Charles Dickens.
I don't understand Shakespeare and it doesn't appeal to me so fear I might switch off with this.
I do like Mysteries, not really into romances unless Jane Austin and I just about manage these.
I have started 1984 and I understand some of it, but other bits elude me so haven't really got into it.
Am I a lost cause?
Audio books are a good idea but my challenge is to learn to comprehend through reading.

After reading the book as well, I really want to understand what the ending means, its bugging the life out of me now. grin

KatieKaye Mon 08-Dec-14 19:04:34

If you can manage Dickens you are doing okay in my book!

House teen also has dyslexia and she really struggled with reading until she switched to a kindle. Have you tried this? It made all the difference to her.

If you like Dickens you might enjoy Wilkie Collins, who was around the same time. the Woman in White is very good. It's a mystery. The Agatha Raisin books by MCBeaton are modern mysteries, and are very readable.

Short stories might be another way to become more comfortable with reading. My best advice would be to go to your local library. If you don't feel comfortable talking to a librarian (and they are there to help, won't judge and will have plenty of recommendations) just have a browse and pick up two or three books to try. Don't worry if you don't "get" every book or don't enjoy them all. Gradually you will find the authors you like.

Hope you have a lot of enjoyment in your reading adventures!

ChocolatedeLaclos Mon 08-Dec-14 19:55:21


Just to echo KatieKaye , if you can manage Dickens and you enjoy Jane Austen , you are by no means a lost cause . Far , far from it .
Will post more later - I have a couple of thoughts (just have to do a couple of things at the moment ) but wanted to say I found your post really thought provoking and interesting .


apotatoprintinapeartree Mon 08-Dec-14 21:07:09


Thank you so much for the link, I will read when I am less drugged with flu remedy and more with it.
I agree reading should be for pleasure, most certainly. I only mentioned a level as I'm not too sure what sort of level to begin with.

I left school at 14 and didn't receive any intervention for my disabilities after infant school. They tried what they could at the time but very little helped.
I have the same problems with Maths and finally in my 30's gained a level 2 C&G in Numeracy and Literacy.
Strangely enough I did manage a degree and have a PGCE, but am in no doubt it wouldn't have been good enough to teach children, it was F.E.

So my new challenge is to work on comprehending English Literature, just something I feel I missed out on. I can remember the last book we did at school was Animal Farm, but my teacher threw things at me when I asked for help shock. I played truant after this and only went in to take CSE's as my parents would have had to pay if I didn't turn up.

I think I only managed the Jane Austin works because I knew the stories already and had seen tv drama series, and I think that didn't really test comprehension. The same with Charles Dickens if I'm honest,

Thank you all very much for your support here btw, it's so nice thanks

KatieKaye Mon 08-Dec-14 21:19:32

I think your story is really inspiring, Potato and shows what a strong person you are.

Don't worry about levels too much. Just read things you enjoy! Most people read lighter stuff rather than War and Peace because they've been out working all day and are knackered and just want to relax a bit. So don't stress yourself out about what type of book you are reading or make yourself finish it if you aren't enjoying it.

Have you read any Dan Brown - the Da Vinci Code etc? He knows how to write a page turner and you can pick his books up in charity shops for a couple of quid. He isn't high brow but who cares?

If you like the Jane Austen era then Georgette Heyer might be another author you would like too. Similar sort of story, but lighter and easier to read on the bus.

Don't be ashamed of anything you read and don't listen to anybody who tries to put you down. Lots of adults read Harry Potter, for example. I reread some of my childhood books and thoroughly enjoy them.

apotatoprintinapeartree Mon 08-Dec-14 21:31:48

Thank you Katie

Not sure about inspiring, more stubborn I think.
There are lots of things missed at school that honestly don't bother me at all, but I really need to do this and also lots of History as I was good at this.
Perhaps lots of historical literature is the way to go. smile
It will be so good to be able to say "Oh yes, I read that" when somebody is talking about a classic.
Is Far from the madding? maddening? crowd a good book?
I nearly picked this up a couple of weeks ago.

Oh, kindles I don't really get on with the absence of turning the page and get screen glare and fuzziness at the edges. Books are better as they are often brown through age or I use a ruler.
I know that sounds sad.

KatieKaye Mon 08-Dec-14 22:23:56

It doesn't sound sad at all, I know just what you mean and have many books that are old friends...

Far From The Madding Crowd is very good (IMO). It's by Thomas Hardy, who also wrote Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. Give it a shot and let us know how you get on. But please don't feel bad if you don't like it, because everyone is different. Like me, I really don't like Hemmingway or Steinbeck. I know they are highly regarded, but they aren't my cup of tea and that's fine.

I love historical novel - what period interests you?

And I really do admire you for your perseverance and your honesty.

ChocolatedeLaclos Tue 09-Dec-14 04:15:19

Potato ,

I agree with KatieKaye and her replies are really good.

So, for context , I have a good degree in English Literature (not boasting because the things I am rubbish at are legion , you could not count them, they would run into the thousands ) but one thing I can do is read stuff and so I thought that I might be able to give you another view from the one you have had from your schooldays. One of my DCs is also dyslexic so I have some, albeit imperfect , understanding of that. I am not a teacher or a tutor, just a graduate from many years ago.

So just my thoughts are

1. Do not think of a text as a particular level (as Castle said) . Eg you can study Jane Austen at GCSE or you could write a PHD thesis on her . The difference is the response and analysis.

2. I think your friend has been very clever in recommending that short story to you . I have never read him before but did this afternoon so thank you , I believe it has been called something like a very nearly perfect example of a short story . The vocabulary and phrasing is not easy . I would say (pace KK) that if you want a similarly told short story (1st person narrator and an ending you need to think about , try The Snows of Killimajaro Ernest Hemingway (who I love - sorry KK ) ) Really really good short story .

3 . Decide what you want - do you want to appear well read or try out things you like ? No-one can read all the "classics " nor would they want to . What I utterly admire about you is giving things a shot. So for example , there are things about Dickens I like (can be funny , social comment etc ) but frankly if I never pick up another Dickens novel again it won't be a moment too soon. grin

4. One last thing , If you really want to improve your comprehension and missed out on some school stuff then an off the wall suggestion is - why not pick a text (e.g. A Streetcar Named Desire - Tennessee Williams ) order it from Amazon - you can buy it for 1p + p&p second hand and then order the York advanced notes for A streetcar (also v cheap (a few pence) 2nd hand ) These are explanatory notes made to investigate the text for school students - so not going to get you a Nobel Prize but if what you want is some aid in comprehension then I think a decent idea.

5. Reading is for pleasure . Read anything that pleases you . If you like history then as KK says - read some historical fiction. It could be e.g. Georgette Heyer , or you could give Hilary Mantel a go (bit more difficult) , or
if you like mystery - yes I again blush agree with KK that Agatha Raisin is a good, easy read , if you want to test yourself a bit more then try Agatha Christie - not too hard , and very good in the sense of plotting etc.

Anyway , gone on too long .
I really wish you well potato and do PM me if you think I can help .


apotatoprintinapeartree Tue 09-Dec-14 22:25:25

Katie and Chocolate thank you so much. I am off to the library with dd tomorrow and hoping she picks up Anne of Green Gables, I can remember liking this and Carries War, which we will read together, she is 10.
So far with dd I have been fine as she is only young, but I was worrying about being good enough if she continues H.ed into secondary, which I can't see anyway.

You have all been so kind and helpful and put my fears to rest, I won't be scared to talk to the librarian now and thank you for all the suggestions.
I will get back to you after Far from the madding crowd. thanks

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