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Publisher's Summary

‘I never once attended a Sunday morning church service in Stanford. There was always the feeling that they weren’t aimed at families like ours.’

Pam Ayres was the sixth child in a hard-up family who lived in a council house, her parents’ generation were harrowed by the war. Yet they lived by the green in the village of Stanford in the Vale, where everything you needed was within walking distance and the sound of motorcars was rarely heard. Then reaching her teens, Pam realised how few opportunities she had. At fifteen she started working for the civil service, and for a social life she had the local ‘hop’. Pam knew she had to reach out for more, and sought it first in the WRAF. But it was some time before she discovered the unique talent that would make her one of Britain’s best-loved comics …

Containing Pam’s much-loved combination of humour and poignancy, The Necessary Aptitude is a beautifully written memoir of growing up in the country in post-war Berkshire.

©2011 Pam Ayres (P)2011 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

“Ayres gives a wonderful account of what it was like to grow up poor but respectable in post-war rural England. Some of her writing in the early chapters, describing life as the youngest of six children in a council cottage in the Vale of White Horse, Berkshire, has the original freshness of classics such as Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford.” Mail on Sunday

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kenneth
  • Bicester, United Kingdom
  • 01-02-12

Very discritive

Would you listen to The Necessary Aptitude again? Why?

yes because I remember lots of things sheb talks about

What other book might you compare The Necessary Aptitude to and why?

none

What does Pam Ayres bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

her dialoge

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no

Any additional comments?

her poems will be next

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • S. M. Burns
  • 12-23-12

Laugh until you cry

This is one of the best books I have ever read. It is a pure joy and pleasure. I laughed until my body hurt. It took me down memory lane reminding me of people and an era I had once known. Pam has managed to conjure up vivid pictures of her young life through to her military career that you feel you are there with her. Throughout the whole story you feel she comes from a caring and loving family. The icing on the cake being that the book is narrated by Pam herself.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Reluctant Mermaid
  • 08-14-14

ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL - a gem.

If you could sum up The Necessary Aptitude in three words, what would they be?

Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful.

What about Pam Ayres’s performance did you like?

Unforced. Funny. Lovely voice. Felt like she was in the room, having a chat.

Any additional comments?

I bought this title with no real expectations. Pam has always been around in the background of my life (childhood, tv, radio) and I thought it might be a pleasant enough 'listen'. It was a revelation. An absolutely wonderful tome - filled with genuine laughter, pathos and sharp observations regarding her own (very minor) flaws. I loved it! Cannot recommend it highly enough.Wonderful.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alison
  • 01-05-14

A Real Joy

I listened to this over a few days in December and it was a perfect pre-Christmas listen. Really warm, gently funny and evocative of an era now passed. Beautifully read.

If you want an easy, peaceful and soothing, up-lifting listen, I recommend this book to you.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-02-11

Funny, nostalgic, warm & wonderful!

I absolutely loved this - how fantastic to hear the lady herself read this. A really special audio-book.Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • N. Cawsey
  • 05-29-17

Excellent, reminiscent

Pam tells her life story in her own words; she is my age and we share same childhood memories, pos under the bed, frost on the windows, liberty bodices and a good hiding!! Unfortunately I didn't have her talent so although we both live in the Cotswolds we live in different circumstances!! Anyone who can make me laugh out loud as she does deserves everything she has!
Lovely book, bonus was to have it read by Pam herself. Must have if you are of a certain age!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DEM Ashley
  • 03-17-17

Absolutely Brilliant

I have read many books, and have only recently started to use audio. This is one of the very best, I have loved listening to Pam's voice as she tells the incredibly interesting story of her life. Thank you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ginger Keith
  • 03-09-17

Buy it

Go ahead buy it, it will surely make you laugh, weep a tear and lift boring misbegotten day. The books a dream.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JPR Beader
  • 02-26-17

Wonderful Story.....

What an extraordinary life Pam Ayres has led, she has never forgotten her humble beginnings nor got too big for her boots.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Teddy
  • 10-12-16

Delightfully entertaining

Where does The Necessary Aptitude rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

High

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The matter-of-fact descriptive style of both the successes and failures

Any additional comments?

A wonderfully gentle and delightfully entertaining description of Pam Ayres' life and background. The audio-book has kept me company and distracted me from several boringly repetitive jobs at work for several days, and I'm happy to have it in by audible library to listen to again when the mood takes me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-28-16

Loved it!

Such a wonderful and charming book, I was tearful in the final chapters as I didn't want it to end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful