on 18 November 2013
This book records growing up during the 1930s and 40s. It's full of all sorts of stuff: skipping ropes made from German silk parachute cord, swapping shell caps, dressing up, outings and holidays, confectionery shops, going to school, harvest festivals, teachers - some sympathetic, some intimidating, the mysteries surrounding the district nurse - and her possible connection with the appearance of babies, and the jealousy towards a friend for the attention lavished on her in hospital after she was knocked down by an American Jeep. Every little detail of life is so accurately recalled, the fabric of life is woven into the pages. What a memory! And it's so well written, nothing embellished, every word counts. Who could make up the sulphurous side effects of Brimstone and Treacle as a treatment for heat bumps?
It is set in and around Walton, a suburb of Liverpool, with visits to places like Southport, Chester and the Wirral. I got the impression this is the real Liverpool described here, a prosperous and cultured city and a good place to live, not the distorted view of Liverpool invented since by the media.
There is a serious side to the book. The author's father was injured in the First World War, and this affected the rest of his life. This is timely, given the current interest surrounding the centenary of the war.
The family photos are a treat. Especially the one with teddy!
One thing puzzled me - the picture on the front cover. It's clearly not the author, Doris, from the photos inside. And it's a bit bland - the book is full of life. So don't judge the book by it.
What stood out for me was the importance of family, both near and extended, for making life richer and more interesting.
on 26 January 2014
This book is a brilliant record of details that most of us (older people) had long forgotten about. It is also a full of information for any age group interested in the war years and beyond and how it affected a young schoolgirl. Hobbies & games which included painting cod bones, skipping ropes made from silk parachute ropes and milk bottle tops used for making pom-poms all take you back to the 'make do & mend' years. Punctuated by details of the progression of the war and very well written, this is truly a story not to be missed.