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4.6 out of 5 stars
17
4.6 out of 5 stars


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on 6 February 2005
I read this book while on holiday, I expected it to be interesting and little more but I was surprised by it's reach and honesty. The Author, now sadly deceased, wrote the story of her life in her dotage while attending a local writing group.
Her decription, honsety and the themes of how life was and indeed changed, for working class women in Britain, throughout the 20th Century is delightfully evocative.
The relationship with her odd, damaged and unfeeling Mother is highlighted as coming from social pressures she absorbed and the bitterness they raised, this theme is parelleled in Joyce's Husband and his attitude towards her and their deepingning divides. Joyce dabbles with independance and feminism in different guises down the years and works hard to find herself kicking always agaisnt social pressures which try to deny her in treading her own path. The story is hopeful and embittered and it is little wonder she was encouraged to publish her work. Anyone interested in British social history will lap this up.
It is also remarkable in it's themes of developing and changing attitudes towards women. I really would have liked to hear this book discussed with the Author on Radio 4, her writng reveals the extrodinary in the ordianry guise.
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on 2 August 2017
If any woman and mother feels she has a hard life then this book is very therapeutic! What a hard existence people like Joyce had in those days - washing all done by hand, coal fire to be made each day, meagre rations to be somehow made into meals for hungry families etc.
Her stoicism throughout her life developed from an early age in the sanatorium where she learned to survive being parted from her parents.
Her self-reliance enabled her to get through the weariness of total domesticity and being so unappreciated by her husband. What a waste of an individual who was capable of so much more and who had no outlet for her intellectual ability. We are not given an insight into what her husband concealed from her in his bureau for so long - all must have been revealed after his death. The ending is so sad, not only for Joyce's blindness, horrific for one with such reading and writing skills, but also for her husband who missed out on the companionship and love ,he could have had with his wife if only he had been of a different personality.
Many readers will find aspects of Joyce's upbringing and lack of opportunity very similar to their own - I know I did.
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on 18 August 2008
My daughter bought this book for me recently knowing that I would recognise and relate to all the places mentioned and situations that arose during the war. It was so fascinating - I only wish I could have met the author herself.
It would be wonderful if a cassette or DVD could be made, as I have a friend whose poor sight means she cannot read easily. She is Bristol born and bred like me. Think about it - those of 75 and over are the very ones who would love to have this facility - because the sight can often be questionable at that age.
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on 17 March 2007
I was bought this book as a Christmas present a couple of years ago, but didn't think it was my kind of book, so I left it....until a few weeks ago, when I started reading it....and couldn't put it down. This book is beautifully written by Joyce Storey who is now sadly deceased. It follows her life from birth, through school, first job, war, first love, etc etc and the relationship she had with her family. This book made me wish I had asked my grandparents more questions about where they came from, what life was like for them, etc. I thoroughly recommend this book.
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on 19 March 2008
I was lent this book by my mum who recommended it and as I live in Bristol, I thought it would be quite interesting. It was much better than I expected and genuinely puts us to shame when we complain about the hardships we have these days as they are nothing to what Joyce was put through! I can't believe such a small child was sent away at such a young age to convalesce and what was it like for her brother living in that tiny room with 2 old aunties! And fancy adopting him! It just couldn't happen now ! Social services would have a field day!
A brilliant read.
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on 8 April 2014
I read something like three-quarters of this book at the first sitting, finally putting it aside at 3 o'clock in the morning. It's that sort of book. I recognised the characters immediately and in fact Joyce's husband and his dogmatic attitudes reminded me very much of my own father.
Her writing style is very enjoyable, but the book left me wanting answers: young brother Cliff's name is mentioned three times, but other than that he doesn't feature in the story at all. What happened to him? Dad blamed Joyce for not telling him about the (supposed) goings-on between her Mum and the smooth-talking Irishman - but we're never told what form their misbehaviour took or whether there were any consequences.
Could the answers have been lost in the editing? Would it be worthwhile looking out for the original versions?
This is a book I shall have to read again, in case I missed something.
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on 23 October 2013
I was initially picked up this book because it is set mostly in Bristol, where I live. I didn't have high expectations of it it but I was impressed by the skill with which Joyce tells the story of her life. The author raised four children and only late in life she discovered that she had a great talent for writing. What impressed me most was the directness and honesty of how she tells her story. For example, she explains how she came to marry her husband and the severe shortcomings of her marriage. The author provides a vivid insight of what it was like to be a working class woman and live in Britain through the 20th Century. There are plenty of anecdotes but she also tackles how feminist and socialist ideas affected her. The author is also extremely good at describing places and this book will be of particular interest to anyone who knows Bristol. I feel fortunate to have shared the thoughts and experiences of this brave, tough and passionate woman who was ordinary and yet quite extraordinary at the same time.
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on 15 March 2009
I have just finished this book and I have to say there were some really funny bits and some sad bits in it. I found it a really enjoyable read,it was very easy to get into and addictive.
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on 4 December 2012
Joyce relates the trials of a working class woman's life, 1918 - 2001. Much of it was set in my home town of Bristol
and describes life in places that were very familiar to me.
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on 5 April 2013
I loved Joyce's style of writing, I enjoyed the visions of the Bristol area and experiencing her interesting life story.
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