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Birmingham Girls [Paperback]

Carol Arnall
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Oct 2009
This is the story of my sister and I growing up in post war Birmingham. The story tells of our early lives in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, where we lived in a back to back house. How we moved to Northfield, and despite setbacks along the way, managed eventually to find excellent jobs at TASCOS in Stirchley, Birmingham. After which our lives followed different pathways; yet we still maintained our closeness as sisters.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 134 pages
  • Publisher: Davies, Rugeley, Staffordshire (3 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 095615641X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956156419
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 15 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,260,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

It was following a serious road accident in the late 1980s that I decided as I could not return to work, I would write a book.
Having always had an interest in the Supernatural - I read the tarot cards for a while - the booklet was obviously always going to be about ghosts. When I was reading the cards many people told me ghost stories, so with their permission these were included. Local papers were always helpful in publishing my appeals for stories, and there was no shortage of people willing to share their ghostly tales.
My first ghost booklet Mystical Staffordshire, appeared in the early 1990s. I really only intended writing one, but as it was so popular I wrote another, then another. Numerous ghostly booklets later I combined them into Mysterious Happenings. I have also written other books, Birmingham Girls, Choosing Your Psychic Pathway, Ghosts Angels & Hauntings.
I decided to turn my hand to writing fiction in 2007, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of writing Dancing with Spirits and Spirits of the Lights the sequel. Followed by The Other Place, and Jen's Story,Torn Between Two Times. All of my books apart from Birmingham Girls are full of mystical happenings.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A past brought to life 26 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
I had my eye on this book from the first time I saw it. I have to be honest, part of the attraction was because it's set in the general area where I was born and grew up, but having read it I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone.

Birmingham Girls is part memoir, part social history, part local history and part family history. It begins with the author deciding to research her family history. As she traces her ancestors and finds out about them, this in turn jogs memories of her childhood, the places she lived and the people she knew.

The book is written mostly in chronological order but sometimes drifts into other times and places. It is arranged in short sections, some predominantly about people and others about events or places. It is like looking through a box of old photographs, some are complete in themselves while others trigger associated memories. It's a book that's easy to dip into and read a couple of pages at a time, yet equally it becomes more compelling as the reader is drawn into Carol's life.

As an author myself, I find myself looking critically and wondering how this book would be handled if it were published by the mainstream press rather than as an independent. And while it would be tempting to neaten up a sentence here and there or arrange things in a different order, I have to say that I'm very glad that the commercial publishers haven't got their hands on it. Because, as it is, it is full of integrity, of little nuances and asides. It drifts like the mind does. It is the author speaking, telling her story in her own words. To interfere with that would be like the old-fashioned idea of insisting all actors and TV presenters speak in the same way.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - read Nella Last instead! 30 Dec 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
As a Birmingham girl myself, I had high hopes of this book - what a disappointment. It is poorly written (and very badly edited). It jumps about, is written in a muddled and incoherent way and ends almost in thin air - as if the PC broke down and she couldn't be bothered to finish the final chapter! I would classify it as a musing of memories, designed to entertain only her family, not for commercial or general public interest at all. It reminds me of my own Grandmother's diaries - they were great fun to read by those of us who knew her and the family she wrote about, but of no interest or substance to anyone else. A really poor effort, the standard of writing not much better than that of an enthusiastic sixth former...I won't be buying the "follow up" and had it not been so cheap on Kindle, I'd have been very miffed at wasting money on it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Told Like It Was By The Person Who Was There 31 July 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I bought the Kindle edition of this book knowing full well that biographies and autobiographies aren't my thing when it comes to books, but because I had heard so much about it I decided to give it a go. It tells of the struggle of a fatherless family to make ends meet in Birmingham - a city I don't know at all - Carol Arnall's early life, her progression into adulthood, a series of different jobs, the problems of friendships, and meeting her husband and their life together. It also includes some nice family photographs.

Although it does have a habit of chopping and changing scenes, I was drawn in, and I decided it didn't matter. This isn't a novel - although it would make a good plot for a novel - it is a memoir, a collection of memories. Memories are a mish-mash of pictures of our past lives, things we're aware of at the time, but later when you try to piece them together it's hard to make full sense of them. Try as we might, sometimes the best we can do is to remember bits of things. The author has done well to collect her memories, some painful ones at that, and sort them into chronological order, giving the reader an image of her life. Yes, very often the author goes off on a tangent, telling us about one event, then saying something like, 'that reminds me of the time...' This is something we often do in normal conversation, and it is like the author is having a chat with the reader over a cup of coffee. It makes the memories come to life in that sense.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars book 14 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
very badly written - loads of pointless information given in the first half of the book & the second half is rushed through -
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Birmingham Girls 29 Jun 2012
By TWF
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a 'Brummie'I found it an interesting book and a comfortable read. However there was nothing in the book that made me feel I must read again!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 11 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very disjointed, expecting more of a story. Understand the author had some memory problems so therefore some tales were not completed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a disappointment 15 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for Kindle. 1, because I am a Birmingham Girl and 2, it was cheap ! What a disappointment- very disjointed and poorly edited. More of a list of places where she worked than a personal history and did everyone really own a cottage in Wales !! The author states that she has lost many of her memories for which I offer sympathy but given that why on earth attempt to write a memoir? A far better book about a slightly earlier period in Birmingham is "A trip down summer lane " cant remember the author.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not consistant!! 5 Feb 2011
By Titch
Format:Kindle Edition
I was really eager to read this book especially as it was about my home town, however even though it was interesting to hear about the birmingham areas it soon becomes clear that it's just a woman talking about each member of her family tree with the odd memory about Birmingham.It was strange that as i suggests it's about Birmingham several of the people where not in Birmingham including herself quite soon into the book. The writing style was very inconsistant so it was difficult to get into a flow whilst reading it which meant I was referring back to previous parts to remind myself. In all I was dissappointed in the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good read
Published 12 hours ago by doreen owen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book couldnt wait to get to next page, needs more books like this
Published 3 days ago by mrs karen smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Liked it so much I will look for more by this author.+++++++
Published 8 days ago by Glennis Clarke
3.0 out of 5 stars Birmingham girls
A thoughtful book with lots of twists and turns. What brave times they were in the 1960s. And how quirky!
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customerlindy
2.0 out of 5 stars Birmingham Girls
I struggled to read the book, I managed to read through to the end, but felt it was very run of the mill. Read more
Published 1 month ago by rosebud
5.0 out of 5 stars a local book
Because I live near Birmingham I could relate to the story and I found it to be very interesting and enjoyable
Published 1 month ago by Moira Wilson
2.0 out of 5 stars My thoughts
I was looking forward to reading this book but found it rather disjointed. A list of characters at the front would have helped. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ruth Francis
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Bought this book as it is about our local area and was not disappointed. Could relate to many places mentioned and really enjoyed it.
Published 2 months ago by Mily3010
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
A very personal view of life and growing up in Birmingham. not quite what I expected. It was not at all similar to the story told in the Sugar Girls.
Published 3 months ago by MatHartley
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad
It was very nice, but I for one got mixed up with all the names and addresses but I still read it to the
Published 3 months ago by Mrs E Giannoni
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