Clever Girls pp 193-214 | Cite as

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  • Jan Bradford


Mum says I was always a good wee girl…but a clever wee girl too. I could read before I went to school. Teacher said I could read as well as any of the Primary 7 girls when I joined my Primary 1B classmates at a Scottish state primary school in a steadily declining mining town in the mid-1970s. But one day, when I am still only five years old, Teacher tells Mum she is worried about me. I have become very quiet—I am isolated. I no longer read fluently—I stutter. I no longer write—I struggle to hold a pencil in my hand. Mum and Teacher nod and agree…Yes…you can’t be too careful…there is a fine line between genius and madness…and she is such a good wee girl too… And so the well-told family story about my little ‘clever-good-girl’ self was born.


Shame Birth stories Strong women Narrative inheritance Cixous 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Bradford
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Health in Social ScienceUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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