Don't Look at Me Like That


By Diana Athill

cover image of Don't Look at Me Like That

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A candid novel of love, betrayal, and friendship about a young woman who breaks with her peers, moves to London, and begins a shocking affair.
“When I was at school I used to think that everyone disliked me, and it wasn’t far from true” confesses Meg Bailey at the start of Don’t Look at Me Like That. Coming of age in the mid-1940s, Meg finds herself to be out of place wherever she finds herself: She is a nonbeliever in her father’s parsonage, an artistic dreamer at her stuffy boarding school, a provincial in the worldly circles frequented by her best friend Roxane and Dick, Roxane’s future husband. It is only when Meg, newly graduated from art school, moves into an untidy London rooming house alive with the sounds of crying children, sparring lovers, and even foreigners, that she begins to feel at home. But ties to the past are not so easily severed, and Meg must disentangle herself from her troubled intimacy with Roxane and Dick before she can begin to start “living in her own way.”
Don’t Look at Me Like That is the only novel by the famed memoirist and editor Diana Athill, who died in 2019 at the age of one hundred and one. At once clear-eyed and compassionate, it is a story of making mistakes and making a life.
Don't Look at Me Like That