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An Elephant in the Lobby [Kindle Edition]

Douglas Willis
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 156 pages
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Book Description

An Elephant in the Lobby is a colourful recollection of a boyhood spent in a rural community in North-east Scotland. Shrewdly observed, it paints an amusing and evocative picture of life in the immediate post-war years.

Douglas Willis is an author and broadcaster. Formerly head of geography at Cults Academy in Aberdeenshire and at Fortrose Academy in the Black Isle, he is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with a lifetime interest in travel and the natural world.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 327 KB
  • Print Length: 156 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: for the right reasons community print (21 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #750,724 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An elephant in the lobby 20 Oct. 2013
This is an enchanting book, particularly for readers who share Mr Willis landscape and time. It portrays a forgotten way of life in the most beguiling way. You feel as if you've stepped back in time to meet the characters and background which have so obviously shaped a crafted writer's skills and humanity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Bigger Than the Title 1 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Douglas Willis' book, "An Elephant in the Lobby," is bigger than the title and rates more than five stars. The back blurb on the cover calls it a "colorful recollection of a boyhood spent in a rural community in North-east Scotland." It is perfect for its genre, a poignant painting of post-war life that includes such delightful chapters as "Potted heid and hairy tatties," and "Forkietails (earwigs) and futrats" (stoats). Part of the story is written in Doric, easy to read both from the context and by Willis' added explanations. "An Elephant in the Lobby" is magical, written about a magical time in the not-too-distant past when life was intense, passionate, hard and valued. With the coalman's horse trained to its route and circus elephants paying unexpected visits to homes, children were fully engaged in life and entertained even though there were no computers, TVs or video games - and no "Health and Safety" regulations to rush in and steal childhood pleasures. Older folks were too busy to be depressed; too hard at work to fear death. Life was cold, cruel and brutally hard at times - and yet - it was also sweet, simple and full. "An Elephant in the Lobby" is a skillfully written oxymoron that lives and breathes and sparks with fire; a book like so few others where each word is an integral organ that keeps the words alive and flowing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars North east 31 Mar. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wonderful stories and evocative "spin o' the north east". Highly recommended for anyone who knows Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. A great gift.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start, slow in places 7 Mar. 2014
By Whistlers Mom - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author was raised by his grandmother (then in her seventies) in northeast Scotland in the years immediately after WWII. She died when he was ten years old and he was sent to live with other relatives. I would have been interested in hearing more about his family (what happened to his parents, his grandmother's earlier life, etc.) but this information is not given which gives the book a rather flat feeling. To put it another way, it's difficult to get too interested in the people because you know so little about them.

Some of the stories of his adventures and misadventures as a "sma loon" (little boy) in short "breeks" (britches) are very amusing, some less so. This was an isolated rural area and his memories of his school days sound more like the 1920's or 1930's than the post-war period I remember. He grew up to be a naturalist and much of his leisure time seems to have been spent observing the area wildlife. Be prepared for frequent confusion because he includes a great deal of the local lingo ("Doric.") I could generally figure out what he was talking about, but sometimes it took me a while.

The elephant mentioned in the title really WAS an elephant: a circus animal being ridden around the village to advertise the show. The author was supposed to give the elephant a piece of bread, but got scared and retreated inside the house. The pachyderm then tried to follow him into the "lobby" (hall) causing some damage to the plaster and creating a life-long memory. On the other hand, the "moose in the hoose" experience of one of his friends wasn't as exotic. Most of us have had a mouse in our house at some time or another. Not a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat, but well written and a good look at rural life in times past.
4.0 out of 5 stars Memories 19 Jun. 2014
By Gary Schlunz - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book generates thoughts of "the old times" of life. Our younger years are the influence of life. What and who was there for us is the foundation of our being. We just never realized it. It just happened.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a riveting story but interesting. 26 May 2014
By Patches60 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not a riveting story but quite well written historical tale of growing up shortly after the end of WW2. I appreciated learning something of life in Scotland during that period.
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