• The Necessary Aptitude

  • By: Pam Ayres
  • Narrated by: Pam Ayres
  • Length: 12 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 15-09-11
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.7 (115 ratings)


‘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
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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
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Regular price: £23.99

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By S. M. Burns on 23-12-12

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.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Reluctant Mermaid on 14-08-14


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.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Kenneth on 02-01-12

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?


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?


Any additional comments?

her poems will be next

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