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Far from the East End: The moving story of an evacuee's survival and search for home

Far from the East End: The moving story of an evacuee's survival and search for home [Kindle Edition]

Iris Jones Simantel
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

** Saga Magazine 'Life Story' competition winner**

From the streets of London to the Welsh countryside, evacuee Iris Simantel tells of her desperate search for somewhere to belong in Far From the East End.

Born in 1938 under threat of looming war, Iris spent her early years playing in the rubble of bombed buildings in Dagenham by day and cowering in a dusty shelter at night. But the hardships of poverty and the dreaded Blitz could not match the pain she felt at her parents' indifference. She prayed that just once her mother would hold her when the bombs rained down. But loneliness only intensified when she was evacuated.

Finding the nurturing home she had always dreamt of in her adopted Welsh parents, she wonders what, when she returns to London after the war, will be waiting for her. Will she ever be able to love her philandering father, depressive mother and an angry, bullying brother? Will her family even survive? Or will she have to look farther afield for the affection she so longs for? Prepare to be taken on a beautiful and emotional journey with Iris Simantel's nostalgic memoir, Far from the East End.

Iris Simantel is the acclaimed winner of the Saga Magazine 'Life Story' competition, telling of her evacuation from Dagenham to Wales, and her family's post-War move to South Oxney. She now lives in Devon.

About the Author

Iris Jones grew up in Dagenham and South Oxhey, but now resides in Devon where she enjoys writing as a pastime. Her memoir about her childhood beat several thousand other entries to win the Saga Life Stories Competition.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1860 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (19 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008EMA6T6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,450 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserving the prize 20 July 2012
I haven't read a better written, more transparent account of the trauma of wartime evacuation. In these unvarnished pages we live alongside a human spirit struggling and triumphing over adversity. It is social history with a human face, revealing from personal experience the huge divide between British classes in the 1940s, powerfully reminding us of the often long-term effects evacuation had on many children and families particularly from the East End. Gripping me from start to finish, from the separation and suffering of the Blitz to the peace and welcome of Wales, this journey of a lonely girl, growing up, speaks to us all. Not a dull page, not many without remembered pain, at times enlivened by embarrassingly down-to-earth language and the resilience of cockney humour. Plus an unexpected twist at the end. And this is just the first sixteen years of her life! No wonder she won the Saga prize.

Michael Henderson, author of 'See You After the Duration - the story of British Evacuees to North America in World War II'(foreword by Sir Martin Gibert), 'No Enemy to Conquer - Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World' (foreword by the Dalai Lama) and nine other books.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars couldnt put it down 4 Aug 2012
i couldnt put this book down it was that good,and i agree with other reviewers that its well written and easy to read and very entertaining as well as informative historically.
loved it and cant wait for the next book - highly recomended
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest and funny memoir ... and more 22 July 2012
By kestra
Far From the East End is an excruciatingly honest but funny memoir. Iris Jones Simantel's opening salvo about almost being born in toilet bowl - 'I can only imagine what a shitty view of the world I might have had were it not for that nurse and her timely intervention' sets the tone and style of an account of the first sixteen years of her life in war-torn England and her struggle against being locked in to the restrictions of her class.
Simantel says it herself, in her opening chapter, 'Born a Cockney girl': 'I learned early in life to use humor as a defence against the shame of being poor and on the lowest level of the British class system - our "station in life."'
Simantel's tale is no fiction, but this first book in a series (more are promised) is nothing short of the first stage of a hero's journey narrative, with all the requisite parts: the protagonist, uneasy in her normal world; the call to adventure; the mentors; and the leaving on a quest.
This book never disappoints, and in the end, leaves you eager to read the sequel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review of Far from the East End 30 July 2012
By Gerry
As one who was also evacuated from the "East End" on Sept 1 1939, I could fully understand the author's feelings. I was shipped off three times to a village in East Anglia. The third time I was very fortunate in finding a kindly loving foster mother whom I grew to love, & with whom I stayed in touch for the rest of her life. Being sent away from home as a child affects one for the rest of their life.
Iris has written a fine book, and I hope that it is knockout for her. Can't wait to read Volume two.
Well done Iris.
Gerry Wiseman
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 8 Aug 2012
By Magic
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can honestly say this is not the 'normal' type of book I read, but picking it up from the start I was captivated by the imigary and the story.
I enjoy history and this is history from a personal level. It is well written (I am one of those people who will read the 1st five pages and if I do not like the book will put it down and never pick it up again), this book had me captured from the start, I just wanted to know what was going to happen next to this five year old girl. It has loss, poverty, happiness, romance, everything in real life and in technicolor, I had forgotten that we used to live like this, it was almost like taking a virtual tour through a museum of human nature.

If you are in any doubt about wether to read this book or not, go for it is my advice - it is value for money.

The only downside now is that I want to know what happens next, and that hasn't been written yet, come on Iris, pull your bloomin finger out!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far from the East End. 22 July 2012
At last, a book written fluently, at times poetically, about a painful time in history. Iris Simantel has validated all of us who endured such fear as a result of one of the most insentitive decisions made by the British Government during World War Two. Iris is a brilliant writer, hilarious, insightful and knows the meaning of acceptance. Coloured with compassion for others, she manages to see both sides of the story from those who were sent away, to families who had to send them. Those who suffered the least went with a parent. Those of us put on a bus with a label, small suitcase and no goodbye had a harder time. We all had different experiences - she encapsulates most of them in the story of living history - which is what we are. Irish Simantel's ability to bring characters to life is reminiscent of Maeve Binchy. I know each personality from her descriptions of them, their attitudes, their curiosity about that East Ender (My family was from Brick Lane in the East End). Evacuees were innocents whose worlds had fallen foul of a distant 'committee' who made decisions on their fate. It isn't easy to write about emotions and have them understood. Iris does just that and even though it was years ago, she addresses what will become scars later in life. This is a film waiting to happen. The very best is that after all these years, we are recognied as some of the casualties of the war. The glorious aspect is that we are LIFE AFTER SURVIVORS! Iris by her open,honest and authentic account of this period, tells how we have triumphed and used those frightening times as lessons in living life to the fullest and in many cases, help other to do so too. She is living proof. Years ago I heard a professor say - write what you know. You did Iris, you did! Yvcnne Kaye. Ph.d Author of The Child that never was - Grieving your past to grow into the fututre. Cash, credit and Codependency and 366 Encouragement to Prosperity.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars book
Very pleased with my purchase. Highly recommended to anyone who likes to receive goods quickly. A++++ I will buy from them again if ever I need another one.
Than, you:-)
Published 7 hours ago by Kimmie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
I enjoyed reading how this young girl grew up in London then was evacuated to Wales. Finally meeting an American GI and leaving to live in America.
Published 13 days ago by Mrs. Anne Boyd
4.0 out of 5 stars A raw, honest, funny true story full of emotions
I wasn't expecting to enjoy this true story of young Iris, first in war torn London, then as an evacue, then returning back to her family in London as I don't like biographies but... Read more
Published 29 days ago by Crafty Cat
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Did not want it to end. Hopefully her next book will carry on where this book ended as I cannot wait to see how she faired in life. Read more
Published 1 month ago by J Smedley
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Good read hadn't read this author before so was quite I impressed good sight down loads in minutes will read this author again
Published 3 months ago by Denise Hutchinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I really liked this book. I found that once I started reading it was really difficult to put it down. Fab read.
Published 3 months ago by shirley kilroe
5.0 out of 5 stars Far from the East End:
Prompt delivery and very good condition. I again purchased this book for a friend, as it was not available from the local library. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read
I started to read this because I loved call the midwife. It was a fantastic slice of social history and a really good story. I couldn't put it down and read it in one day.
Published 4 months ago by Ms. R. English
5.0 out of 5 stars a refreshing read
A chance to read something real. A feal good story of life an experiences during war time. I almost feel I know this family.
Published 5 months ago by maria
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves more than Five Stars!
Brilliant in every way, there are loads of rubbishy so-called romantic fiction books available for the Kindle and poorly written murder mysteries too but the ones I enjoy best of... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Steve MacBeath
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