By the Waters of Liverpool Paperback – 4 Jul 2011
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'A fascinating autobiography which has also gained a new topicality! highly gripping and entertaining' Birmingham Post '!should be long and widely read as an extraordinary human story and social document' Observer
About the Author
Helen Forrester was born in Hoylake, Cheshire, the eldest of seven children. For many years, until she married, her home was Liverpool, a city that features prominently in her work. For over thirty years now she has made her home in Alberta, Canada. In 1988 she was awarded an honourary D.Litt. by the University of Liverpool in recognition of her achievements as an author.
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Top Customer Reviews
At the beginning of "By the Waters of Liverpool", we meet Helen as a 'gaunt smelly beanpole' of almost eighteen, earning a meagre ten shillings per week as a clerk for a charitable organization, and studying commercial subjects along with French and German at night school. The author takes us back to that dark, dank day when a bankrupt 'Father' and desperately ill 'Mother' arrived at Lime Street Station with their seven children-and nothing else. Readers familiar with the story will probably find this recapitulation far too long-winded, but it is essential if new readers are to understand how an earnest child of twelve developed into that 'gaunt smelly beanpole', a vile covering for a sensitive young woman. The theme of the book is Helen's metamorphosis, the gradual splitting of the 'beanpole' to reveal a being 'afloat on happiness' on the banks of the Mersey. It is a flood tide of stories, containing much more than can be put across in a review. Remember, though, that metamorphoses almost always involve searing pain. Throughout the book, you will see the 'gaunt smelly beanpole' tossed about like flotsam drifting on the Mersey, wrenched apart, damaged by the hardness, the sharpness of others, but sometimes treasured.Read more ›
The trials she came through are nothing short of a miracle, she endured a horrific early life but she never swaps her sense of humour for self pity.
As she vividly guides you through her past you can't help feel admiration for the strength of character she displayed, and for the honesty she descibes her own short comings.
My only negative criticism I have is that after "Lime Street At Two", there is no futher book in print to continue this remarkable life.
Am I the only one to get confused by the last chapter? It rather spoiled the last book in this series, for me, because it was in fact, the end of her autobiography. When I read the fourth book, I already knew the ending. Why was it put at the end of the third book? We suddenly jumped more than ten years, with completely new characters. It was very confusing to read.
I would advice anyone wanting to read this, not to read the last chapter (March 1950), until you've finished Lime Street at Two.
I am so pleased that these books have been reproduced on Kindle - I haven't yet read them in this format and so cannot judge if they have reproduced faithfully and without error. However, I have no hesitation in giving them five stars as I feel these books are important as a historical study as well as a gripping read. I have noticed that quite a few TV productions, films and modern books depict some alarmingly glaring errors regarding life in Britain between the 1930's -50's, particularly ignoring the dire poverty and the class conscious mentality of the people. Helen's story is much more in keeping with the experiences I heard of from my parents and grandparents.
By The Waters Of Liverpool is the third book in the series - the story starts with Tuppence To Cross The Mersey.
The books are beautifully written and are not without humour, which makes the reader appreciate even more the courage behind an individual's struggle to make ends meet, often in impossible circumstances.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I always enjoy Helen Forrester's books. An eye opener as to how things were in Liverpool and indeed other cities at that time.Published 4 months ago by Roy Amaconian
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