Alfie: An Evening at Alfie’s – Shirley Hughes

More in the Series – Alfie
“More in the Series” scores the other books in a series where one (or more) of the books have made it into the 1001 Books list. Mostly because I’m a bit of a completionist. 

POINTS: 4 out of 10.

Bechdel: 1 point
Variety of characters:  points
Good story:  2 points
Discretionary ideological points: 1 point


Anyone who has been reading this for a while will know that I have a lot of respect for the Alfie books. In this one, Alfie and his sister Annie Rose are being babysat by Maureen McNally from next door, when the house begins to flood because of a burst pipe. Water drips from the ceiling and it is all charmingly chaotic.

Despite being very much told from Alfie’s perspective, Maureen calls her mother, Mrs. McNally, for help, and they have a reasonable amount of dialogue about burst pipes and how to deal with the water. This combined with Mrs. McNally trying to soothe a crying Annie Rose gives this book a clear Bechdel pass.

It slid slightly backwards when they had to get Mr McNally before they could successfully turn the water off, but it’s clear that Maureen knows enough about plumbing that she knew that was what needed to be done – she just didn’t know where to do it – and she makes a point of learning where so that she’ll know next time. There is an element of being “rescued by the bloke who knows”, but Maureen makes up for it simply because she thinks she should know, and makes a point of learning – she clearly has plenty of intuitive and agency.

C and I both enjoyed this book as much as we have enjoyed the other Alfie books. They are very real, and feel like a window into the lives of real people. I kind of love the neighbourliness, too. Help your neighbours! It makes for a better world. 😉

Good stuff. Worth a read.


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