A particular woman. A memoir. by Ashley Dawson-Damer

Embracing the excitement and turbulence of sixties Sydney, Ashley is set to make her mark amid uni classes filled with ambitious young males. She imagines her future with a successful career, husband, and a house full of children.

But life is never quite that easy.
In this compelling memoir, Ashley shares the incomparable heartache of multiple miscarriages, the challenges of single-motherhood, her surprise entry into modeling and the joy of a second chance at love. And when her world is unexpectedly torn apart, Ashley pushes through her grief to find solace in the arts.
Laced with humour and moments of thoughtful reflection, A Particular Woman takes you from the back roads of Peron’s Argentina and the mystique of the Far East to the old country home and garden Ashley painstakingly restores. From the glamour of modeling to the politics of the boardroom, Ashley touches the heart of what it truly means to be a particular woman of our times.

Duffy’s Thoughts On A Particular Woman

I loved the opening chapter of Ashley’s memoir. There was an excitement I felt come through her writing when reminiscing of being young, beautiful and carefree in Carnaby Street, London in the heady ’60s. Carnaby Street was the hub of London fashion in the ’60s with designers such as Mary Quant and streets were peppered with teeny tiny miniskirts and dresses in brave, bright colours. It was a pivotal time. I thought I was going to enjoy the whole book based on my immediate interest, but unfortunately for me, once Ashley left the hedonistic London scene of the 60’s behind, I lost the mojo I had for the book.

A good memoir means that you need to resonate and connect with the person writing it. After all, they are the star of the story all the way through. For me, I felt a little uncomfortable when Ashley spoke of ‘house boys’ and servants in her lavish life, and after the third or fourth time I read about another man ‘that was clearly in love with me‘ I started to skip paragraphs.

Yes, Ashley is open about her selfish ways as a young woman and I understand it was a very different time. Still, there didn’t seem to be strong enough accountability and change in the first half of the book and so sadly A Particular Woman faded away, and I lost interest.

A Particular Woman has some solid recommendations from the likes of Clover Moore, Mayor of Sydney, so maybe it’s just a personal experience of mine of just not connecting with the book.

Ashley has certainly lived a full life with many highs and lows, twists and turns. So, if you are aware of Ashley and have led a similar life, you may well connect and enjoy this book. I really wish I had.

A Particular Woman Book Review
Published by Ventura Press RRP$32.99


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