Biography & Memoir The House is Full of Yogis by Will Hodgkinson | Book Review Roundup | The Omnivore

Published on June 12th, 2014


The House is Full of Yogis by Will Hodgkinson

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Blurb: Once upon a time in the 1980s, the Hodgkinsons were just like any other family. Liz and Neville lived with their sons, Tom and Will, in a semi-detached house in the suburbs of Southwest London. Neville was an award-winning medical correspondent. Liz was a high-earning tabloid journalist. Friends and neighbours turned up to their parties clutching bottles of Mateus Rosé. Then, while recovering from a life-threatening bout of food poisoning, Neville had a Damascene revelation. Life was never the same again. Out went drunken dinner parties and Victorian décor schemes. In came hordes of white-clad Yogis meditating in the living room and lectures on the forthcoming apocalypse. Liz took the opportunity to wage all-out war on convention, from denouncing motherhood as a form of slavery to promoting her book Sex Is Not Compulsory on television chat shows, just when Will was discovering girls for the first time. While the laconic Tom took it all in his stride, the arrival of the Brahma Kumaris threw Will into crisis. And as if his Yogi father, feminist mother and the end of the world weren’t enough, he was also hopelessly in love with his best friend’s sister.

(Blue Door, 2014)

Britain’s most embarrassing parents… | Will Hodgkinson | Mail Online

Helen Davies, The Sunday Times 

“…My Family and Other Middle-Class Animals let loose in the jungle of Thatcher’s suburban Britain. The result is a howlingly entertaining memoir that is raw, affectionate and, unbelievably, true… Hodgkinson is a gifted storyteller. He effortlessly evokes the turmoil of fetid and febrile male adolescence (teenage boys trooping upstairs described as “angle-poise lamps on the production line”) and of grappling with the loss of his father to a bizarre cult.”

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Mick Brown, The Telegraph 

“Nev’s Damascene conversion, and the upheaval it causes, is the backbone of the book. But more than that it is an affecting, and very funny, evocation of adolescence, from Hodgkinson’s fractious relationship with his clever and facetious brother – “Tom may be more academically gifted, and yes, maybe he does have a sharper mind, but you’re the good-looking one,” his mother reassures him, “and ultimately that’s more important” – to his dawning awareness of a world beyond Scalextric and pet gerbils.”

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Melanie Reid, The Times 

“There is, therefore, a deep ambivalence at the heart of this charming, entertaining book: while it strives to be laugh-out-loud, what emerges is often more sad than funny. I suspect that in the end it reveals more bitter sweetness, and more of a sense of loss, than the author ever intended.”

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Ben East, The Observer 

“Hodgkinson tells this story with endearing but slightly detached bafflement – probably because he was actually at boarding school for much of his teenage years. But though he was hardly going to write a misery memoir (Hodgkinson is far too polite and well turned out for that) the lack of rigour about how the conversion exploded his family unit is rather odd. The book ends up being little more than a series of well-told family anecdotes and snapshots of awkward encounters with girls, when there’s actually a lot more meat – or should we say dhal – to a narrative Nick Hornby told rather better in How to Be Good.”

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