Most helpful positive review
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A fine and unusual story.
on 3 November 2012
I loved this very unusual book. Told fondly, but not blinded by sentiment. On the surface it is a memoir of harder times than ours. Those lives described were made bearable by good hearts and the Valleys humour: wry and companionable. In that sense alone, of a memoir, it would be fine, but unexceptional. What separates it from many recollections of lost working class culture is that the social history stands second to the true emotional heart of the story. The young central character's tale is projected onto lives lived in a period before the author's own childhood. Yet this is no work of fiction. Historical events from the remote world's stage, jostle unequally with significant local preoccupations and tragedies. Told with a surging good humour, by turns kindly and comic. And by times, a wistful commentary is made on both that past world, and the present one. This is not a history of Kings and Queens, but the honestly told experiences of ordinary people. More particularly, it is the history of what was most personal for one boy. And that boy became a man. Great stuff.