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Bombsites and Lollipops - My 1950s East End Childhood: My 1950s East End Childhood Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 398 customer reviews

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Length: 257 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description

About the Author

Jacky Hyams is a London-based journalist and non fiction author who has written extensively, on a wide range of topics, for many of the leading mass market newspapers and magazines in the UK and Australia for several years.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 654 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Publisher: John Blake (2 May 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078XGWNG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 398 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,407 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Bombsite and Lollipops tells the story of the author's childhood in Hackney, north-east London, in the years following the Second World War: an age of shortages, rationing, queues, power-cuts, cold and all-pervasive greyness. She grows up in a slum scarred by bomb damage, in a flat in a block with a stinking rubbish chute, but the life that she and her parents lead is way out of the ordinary. Her father, known as Ginger Sid, is a street bookie with a string of shady contacts - he and her mother at one point attend a party given by the Krays - and the family eat well (thanks to the Black Market), dress stylishly, employ a cleaner and a baby-sitter and are driven in a Daimler when they go for outings or for seaside holidays.

The author has some harsh things to say about her own past selves: the solitary bookish little girl with a penchant for showing off in public, and the rebellious teenager who, determined to get out of Hackney, opts out of her Grammar School and heads for Soho and abroad. She comes across, however, as a spirited and plucky character, with the resilience that her mother showed in coping with an alcoholic husband down the years, and the reader may readily discern - both in the stroppy, impressionable child, and in the sarky adolescent - the makings of the writer she is set, at the end of the story, to become.

I myself thoroughly enjoyed this memoir, which should appeal to a wide audience. For older readers, much of it may have the lure of a trip down memory lane (Ah, yes, those sachets of sherbert ... farthings ... the ineffectual Ascot water heater ... Liberty bodices ... smog ... the 1947 freeze ...) Younger readers, who might be disposed to see this evocation of a past age as the stuff of fiction, will benefit from the writer's skilful pointing, throughout the book, to the many differences, social and domestic, between then and now. But readers young and old should enjoy the pace, wit and detail of an unusual and engaging story.
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Format: Paperback
The cover and the title of this book grabbed me by the throat. It says it all - well, nearly all.

Like the author, I grew up in post-war London, with the city still in ruins and strict rationing putting any luxuries and many essentials almost out of reach for most households.

Unlike the author, my family lived in a fairly decent, modest house, and ate frugally.

Jackie Hyams' family lived in a mean, damp wreck of a house on a bombsite, in one of the shabbiest areas of London, but dined on the finest foods and wore expensive clothes, while an army of unofficial servants catered to them. Extraordinarily, while Jackie's father was able and willing to provide anything that the family wanted, he never considered buying a house in a better area, so they continued to live in squalor. His nefarious business dealings in a world of bribe and favour would colour her view of life for decades to come.

Despite the differences in our upbringings, so much of what she writes strikes a cord within me. She recalls the horrors of the Liberty bodice and smog, the delights of Virol, and the novelty of the first televisions - black and white, with fuzzy, juddering white lines.

Doted on by her glamorous, cheerful mother, and over-protected by her boozy, illegal bookie father, young Jackie was a rebellious, spoilt little girl. She takes the reader on a nostalgic trip to the London of the bleak fifties and the swinging sixties, through the eyes of a girl with an enquiring mind, growing up and yearning to discover life outside her claustrophobic environment.

Recommended reading for anybody interested in the social history of London in the years following the end of the war. I really enjoyed it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I found the book particularly interesting, because I didn't know much about the black market. It was shocking to hear how men like Jackie's father Ginger benefited from illegal food and money when thousands where starving. I thought it was funny how they lived in a run down hackney flat when he had so much money. This perfectly reflects the era of living for the here and now. The book is beautifully written, funny and sarcastic. Your feel like your in the 1950s and 60s living and expericing all she writes about. An interesting read which I would suggest to anyone who enjoys british history, and a good autobiography.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are several disappointing reviews that might put people off; so I have written this, simply to show its real merits.
Other reviewers seem uncertain how to describe the daughter of Molly and Ginger, the authoress, Jackie. Is this an 'ordinary' childhood'? Is she just a 'spoilt kid'? Is this a case of sheer selfishness - 'Me.me,me'? No it is none and all of these.It is actually a very truthful story of a child's growth to womanhood and independence in a bizarre post-war poor neighbourhood; a privileged, affluent family dependent on a father whose money came from the wrong side of the law and whose friends were often 'undesirables'. Ginger is an illegal bookie's runner and Molly the typical 'dolly bird' of the 50's.
Jackie and her friends present the thoughtful reader with challenging questions about education, morality, family relationships,adolescence and chastity. The answers emerging in the story reflect pre-sixties 'liberation' but are close enough to present the dilemmas facing a generation living across those years.
To suggest that the story is boring can only reflect a reader either careless enough to simply focus on each set of events or unprepared to 'read' the fascinating sub-text that emerges from practically every episode that Jackie describes. An attentive reader will find a central character who, in her storytelling, virtually presents the body-language you might find in a film. I am just a few years older than Jackie. The portrait of the period is clear, vivid and stimulating. The book is the difference between a primary source and a secondary source. If you want a detailed history, buy a history book. If you want to feel and understand what it was like to live in immediate post-war cities, you will find no better book on the shelf especially towards the end.
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