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These Wonderful Rumours!: A Young Schoolteacher's Wartime Diaries 1939-1945 Hardcover – 1 Nov 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (31 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844088103
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844088102
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 3.4 x 22.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

I grew to love every single detail. This is what it really must have been like to live through the war in Derbyshire on a teacher's salary with no car. I was fascinated (Ysenda Maxtone Graham Spectator)

May Smith is simply a joy, a bright spark in dark times (Iain Finlayson The Times)

Well written, witty and absorbing, Smith's chronicles give us an insight into the life and impact of the war in a small English village (Nilima Marshall Yorkshire Evening Post) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

'The People's War' comes to life in this wonderful diary of life on the Home Front during World War Two

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
May Smith was a young teacher, living with her parents in Swadlincote, Debeyshire, when WWII started. When war began she was twenty four and she was thirty by VE day. I point this out as May's age, her fluctuating weight and her marital status are all of great importance to her throughout these pages. In other words she was a lovely, normal young woman - preoccupied too much with life to worry too much about world events. Although what happens to her throughout her war years obviously are recorded here, this is very much a story of the Home Front and of the way normal people coped with the abormal during that time.

Edited by her son (for whom I thank profusely for making these wonderfully entertaining, witty and fascinating diaries available) May's story begins in December 1938 and ends in 1945. May was a teacher during a time when her class size grew and grew - although miserably her holidays were shortened. She copes with evacuees and often a class twice the size of our national average. Her sarcastic wit (school is described as a "loathesome place") does not allow for too much sentimentality; but it is fair to say that teaching has its plus points if she is threatened with Fire Watching or Munitions work. May often uses capital letters to emphasise words and this works very well, somehow giving May a voice within the text.

Much of her entries relate to the two current men in her life - plus the clergyman who jilted her in the mid 1930's. The two beau's in question are 'Dougie Dear', who lives a fair distance away (you feel thankfully for May!) but provides fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs at intervals throughout the book. There is also the 'Faithful' (sometimes 'Faithless'!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
May Smith's - 'A Young Schoolteacher's Wartime Diaries' is a wonderfully fresh insight into what it was like to be a young woman during the Second World War. May lived and taught in Swadlincote in Derbyshire at this time and instead of the diary entries being filled with doom, gloom and all the panoply of war, this was a breath of fresh air. We read about her many trips to the pictures, outings to buy clothes (despite the advent of clothing coupons). She always seemed to have too much month left at the end of her money and can't wait for the next pay day. She has a complicated 'love' life dangling two young men at the end of a string, unable to decide which, if any, she prefers. School days appear to be particularly difficult as far as she is concerned, and she comes over at times as being unduly harsh on her pupils - although I don't think this was the intention. During air raids shelter at Granny's house - not that she has an Anderson shelter but they take refuge under the stairs, with sometimes hilarious results. This is a great read, especially for anyone young or old interested in how life was lived by young people during World War 2.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a marvellous feat to make the everyday events of life in wartime Swadlincote so readable. The reader is taken into May Smith's world and shares her experiences. The writer has a natural style that suits her shrewd observations, and a ready wit. We totally understand her predicaments and the challenges she faces, against the background of a war that is coming closer. Her personality is likable; we are with her and on her side!
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The period when the diarist is describing the many air raids is quite revealing as I hadn't realised how regularly sirens went off where she lived in the country. Being an ex class teacher myself I liked her honesty about finding teaching a bit of a drag at times, although I hadn't realised how little holiday schoolchildren had during wartime.I lost interest a little when she was obsessing about her clothing problems and found her attitude towards her two suitors rather annoying, but it was refreshing to hear a different viewpoint of the war.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Whilst I enjoyed this I can't help thinking it was a bit too 'mediocre' for publication . I'm not knocking May at all here as my own diary is hardly thrilling but she didn't really get up to much so the book became a little boring towards the end and I found myself skipping entries .If it had been fiction the author would have had to add quite a lot more 'scandal' to please readers !

What came across to me was just how resigned people got to the war which is sad in itself .

It has made me very interested in May and her family though . I'd love to know about her marriage to Frederick and I really hope she found true happiness .
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I found this book fascinating, recalling my mother's tales of her war. She was a similar age to May and somehow it brought back her stories. Having spent a lifetime in teaching I found May's diary riveting. She was obviously a feisty character and her words are powerful and humorous. I was sorry to reach the end.
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not the best book I have ever read. The girl writing the diary seems very self-centred, and there is lots of 'dashing' her and there, she seems obsessed with tennis, buying clothes and having her hair done! Quite repetitive, not as good as I had hoped.
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