'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
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bonsai
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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby bonsai » Sat Aug 08, 2009 9:50 pm

Just finished the book. It feels very strange reading about a place and environment that I know so well in a fictional account. I have to say that the elements of confronting the past and resolving issues are told in ways that I can really empathise with.

Not knowing Clara or her contemparies as she was some years ahead of me, I find it difficult to determine where the reality ends and the fiction begins but it is not an excessive stretch of the imagination that much of this could have happened or to be honest may yet.

Thank you Clara for writing the book. It is good to know that other people out there really feel the same way about schooling at St James and the SES.

Bonsai

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bonsai
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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby bonsai » Sun Aug 09, 2009 2:39 pm

One of the most remarkable things about Clara's book is the fact that there is so much of her own mental dialogue in it. It is so reassuring to hear that another persons mental thinking is so close to my own in perspective of the SES and St James.

One of my good friends once said to me, "Reading is as near to telepathy that you can get"

The more I reflect on the book the more the more brilliant I realise it is.

Bonsai

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morrigan
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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby morrigan » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:53 pm

It does sound very useful and very sensible and brave that Clara wrote and got it published.

Let's hope many read and understand it.

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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby Open Mind » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:08 pm

I have just finished reading Clara's book in one go such was my fascinated horror with her experiences.

Several years ago I was invited by a neighbour to tea. That was fine and pleasant enough and I didn't think any more of it, other than to wonder why that neighbour often wore long skirts. Long skirts worn by women were fashionable and trendy in the 70s but went out of style after a few years. But this was now 2005 so what on earth was she doing wearing long skirts? Later that year I went to my first Art in Action Event thinking it had been put on by an artistic group. Woe and behold I ran into my neighbour and saw that she was volunteering to help run the event and we just said hello as she was intent in what she was doing. Reading the Art and Action Information leaflet, I saw that it was organised by something called the School of Economic Science. Whilst I have been going to Art in Action since every year just to see the art and to purchase works of art and art materials, I have only recently started to research the SES seriously.

Yes, I remember their advertisements in the Undergound but their wording never read like that of a proper School or a proper College: they came across as if it were something cobbled together around a very limited and closed philosophy so I was never attracted to it. It isn't honest advertising: it is misleading advertising designed to lead you into a fly-trap whereupon you find it doesn't offer you the open education you'd hoped for but, in fact, a very narrrow one. It was never open and honest about what it really offered as would be the case with a proper educational institution.

What I find so sad for Clara and everyone else who has had to go through the SES schools is this. I appreciate that many people have to have a personal philosophy on life to carry them like a life-raft because they are unable to cope otherwise. But, in the in the 1960s when I was in my 20s, it was very fashional and trendy for people to search for and adopt new life-styles and philosophies. Many people took to living in communes making up their own organisational rules and philosophy: some took to communes squatter style, some took to teepees in the countryside, etc. Many looked to Asian Philosophies and took to trekking the trails towards Eastern mystics and Gurus: ruining much with their tourism. It was very fashionable encouraged by Rock Stars doing the same and incorprating sounds of the sitar in their music.

Now, ok, that was their choice and their children had to tag along through this under the care of their parents. But the 60s generation were very self-absorbed, self-obsessed and selfish in a way. We didn't have the material shortages of our parents generation: we had plenty, we had choice, we had jobs and, we had the freedom to do what we wanted. What is really selfish in respect of SES, is that they imposed their philosophy on their children in educational provision rather than gave their children a normal education allowing their children the freedom and the tools to determine their own philosophy on life. Yes, thankfully, many are now doing that but only after the pain of having gone through what their parents imposed upon them.

The more I read on SES the more narrow-minded, self-obsessed and contradictory I find it.

trubleshtr
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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby trubleshtr » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:04 am

Morrigan wrote:

It does sound very useful and very sensible and brave that Clara wrote and got it published.

Let's hope many read and understand it.


I wonder what others think will be understood by Clara's book?

I too have read the book right though at once. For me, being concerned about gender issues within the SES, her relationship with her mother was poignant, as well as of course how she was treated herself - related to trying to break the spirit of the girls (or ‘tame’ them) - which seems to me to boil down to attitudes to women held by Leon Maclaren and the influence of an ancient Hindu text, The Laws of Manu, which he admired (there is much to say about this work and its influence in the SES, but if I post it on this forum I will make a separate topic of it).

It is unclear of course which parts of the story are true and which are fiction, so unless Clara would like to say, we can only guess. Such as when her father takes his belt to her (p130): Her father ‘ “you, young lady, upstairs!” Mum turned away silently and started to do the drying-up. ...’ This for me is the tragedy of women 'surrendering' to men. It does neither party any good.

I wonder what is powerful for others?

Trubleshtr

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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby ET » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:48 pm

trubleshtr wrote:It is unclear of course which parts of the story are true and which are fiction, so unless Clara would like to say, we can only guess. Such as when her father takes his belt to her (p130): Her father ‘ “you, young lady, upstairs!” Mum turned away silently and started to do the drying-up. ...’ This for me is the tragedy of women 'surrendering' to men.


I seem to remember Clara saying in her interview on Radio 4's Midweek a couple of weeks ago that she was never beaten by her parents, and that this section was fiction. I may be wrong, but I'm fairly sure she said that in the interview.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

Free
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Postby Free » Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:40 pm

<delete>
Last edited by Free on Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

trubleshtr
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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby trubleshtr » Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:35 pm

Thanks ET.

It would be helpful to know what is true about the book.
Last edited by trubleshtr on Wed May 23, 2012 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Abel Holzing
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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby Abel Holzing » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:29 pm

Free wrote:
Is the interview available online?

Yes, here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00lxc6g (starting at 23:25)

Daffy
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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby Daffy » Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:58 am

Anyone outside the UK who wants to buy this book may be interested to know that http://www.bookdepository.co.uk ships free by air mail to over 90 countries.

Shame on You costs £7.19 - see http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/97 ... ame-On-You

daska
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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby daska » Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:10 pm

I rather like this review, posted on Amazon.co.uk:

4.0 out of 5 stars Madcap Caroline at Saint Wartsanall, 13 Aug 2009
By M. R. Shepherd "Michael Shepherd" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Would you rather read a novel by a distinguished writer of many novels, or a first novel by a writer of great promise, but with real-life scores to settle, who displays their psychic scars in thinly-disguised autobiography, vivid fantasy, and a wicked sense of humour ? Not quite St Trinian's; but joyful and squirm-inducing to most of us who remember our schooldays..

A brief library classification of this book, which runs the gamut from laugh-a-minute to fire and brimstone, would be something like 'Natural rebel with strong sense of injustice, sent by well-meaning parents to recently founded high-minded school of strict discipline in the 1970s of educational chaos'.

Clara Salaman's vivid memories of schooldays remind us of that strong sense of natural justice which children have, which we bruise at our -- and their -- peril. The novel centres on such a dramatic real or perceived injustice, as may scar and colour a life, and which may take until one's thirties to come to terms with. But even towards the fire-and-brimstone ending of sweet revenge, the voice of reason plays behind the story; the coming-to-terms is the most moving aspect of the story.

This is a remarkable debut by a writer of considerable skills, and it would be a pity if the real-life name-and-shame game deflected from recognition of her talents (which happily have emerged undiminished). Whether Clara Salaman directs those talents into dramatic or novel writing in the future, she is already a lively, vivid, imaginative and ruthlessly perceptive writer to hold our attention.

Tom Grubb
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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby Tom Grubb » Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:39 pm

Daily Express 20/08/09: I AM STILL SO ANGRY ABOUT MY WRECKED CHILDHOOD

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/121 ... e-such-fun

(Not sure what this has to do with cycling being such fun!)

Thanks to my friend on Facebook for the link

carlynnm8
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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby carlynnm8 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:37 pm

What a book!! I have laughed out loud, felt shamed at some of her experiences and cried at some of the very humiliating and sore bits. What can I say? I just know there is more facts in this book than fiction. Some of it was so humorous I laughed out loud in the bookshop, on the bus, at home - innocent because she captured the girl she was as she told of the experience and so incredibly sad because again of the experience of the young girl, then of the scars left on the woman. It makes you shudder to think that so many people know, because of similar experiences, that this is very much based on a true story. I have to read it again.
><strong>Joanna Eberhart</strong>: If I am wrong, I'm insane... but if I'm right, it's even worse than if I was wrong. >more famous quotes<Stepford Wives

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bonsai
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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby bonsai » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:17 pm

Tom Grubb wrote:Daily Express 20/08/09: I AM STILL SO ANGRY ABOUT MY WRECKED CHILDHOOD


Thanks for the link. At last an article that seems to convey just how bad it was and some of the emotion and animosity we still feel.

Can anyone shed any light on the legal action that the SES is taking against Clara regarding this book? I'm really disappointed that the SES is choosing to pursue such legal avenues against a person who just wants to tell the truth about their experiences, however I'm not surprised since the as an organisation is wouldn't recognise the truth when it's staring them in the face and right under their noses.

Bonsai

carlynnm8
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Re: 'Shame on You' by Clara Salaman

Postby carlynnm8 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:14 pm

How awful that the SES has decided to go down this route. They may be opening a whole new can of worms that they won't be able to get away from - Im surprised they invite this type of publicity. Im sure there are plenty here who will defend Clara's position - and if need be, there are plenty who will stand up and tell the truth - past and present
><strong>Joanna Eberhart</strong>: If I am wrong, I'm insane... but if I'm right, it's even worse than if I was wrong. >more famous quotes<Stepford Wives


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