By Julie Myerson
Yellow Jersey Press pound;10
Novelist Julie Myerson has a gift for recreating the emotional landscape of childhood, and this memoir reminds us how devastating even a well-run school with kind teachers can seem to a child "afraid of the sharp lessons, the sharp teachers, the sharpness of the other children who always know where to go, of the cold dusty darkness where you can never find your peg".
Most terrifying of all, back at school in the 1960s, were the sack race and the vaulting horse. Home was scary enough; her father almost died and her parents later got divorced. While the child Julie was physically capable of excelling at PE, she could not relax enough to enjoy it. This account of how she learned to want to win is a winner, especially when she tracks down Mrs Rogers (who picked her for the swimming gala) and Mrs Hannah, her former PE teachers. As well as long memories, they both clearly have hearts of gold.