As I began to read the preface and introductions of this book I began to be rather suspicious of the very flaky provenance of "Betty's Diary." As I read it the more fictitious it became.She spent an awful lot of time in the pub for a middle aged woman in the 1940's,there was plenty of food and alcohol and an overfed cat. Another thing I noticed was although Betty was a seamstress, there is no record of her "making do and mending." One star for the cheek of passing this off as non-fiction.
My son gave me a copy of Betty's Diary because he read that it was also the Dad's Army diary I have been looking for. I have read it from cover to cover in three days and enjoyed every page. It is a tribute to all the brave comrades I knew and whose aircraft I used to work on. I hope anyone who is interested in what it was really like to live in those war years will take the time to read Betty's words.
I thoroughly recommend this great account of "ordinary" Second World War civilian life! From the first to last page this book was a fascinating and vivid account of Home Front life, both moving and comical. Reading this diary reminded me very much of my Grandmother`s own wartime experiences; Betty is someone I think anyone can relate to.
I was so disappointed with this book, somehow to me it just doesnt ring true that this was written by a middle aged woman in war time, I would be interested how much of the authors slant was put on the originals diaries, everything is very much glossed over and the fact that in the introduction the author states that most of the original diaries are now unavailable, left me wondering... If you want a thoroughly good read of war time diaries look no further than the three books by Simon Garfield based on the Mass Observation Probject, they are absolutely superb and I think that is what has left me wanting more in this publication, oh well!
Being interested in all things WW2 I thought this diary of a country lady would be lightweight and not very interesting. How wrong I was. Somehow, through the words of this middle-aged woman, an authentic atmosphere of the period is evoked in a way that most books about this era can only hope to approximate. I found myself thoroughly immersed in the lives of the small community in which Betty moved, and astonished at just how much people used to care for their neighbours. I am a 39 year old man, but can recommend this book to anyone - young or old, male or female.
I have read many of these diaries and I enjoyed Betty's very much. It is the sort of book that you can read before you go to sleep and it won't give you nightmares. I loved the detail of the food and the habits of her cat, very personal indeed. It gave me an insight into the thoughts of the population generally as the war progressed and the pages where the war ends are very touching. No, its not a dramatic book as such , but then Betty was pretty unflabbable. I was most impressed with how much time was spent in the pub !- Yes buy it. A good present for anyone intersted in the war or biography.
I have a great interest in reading about ordinary people in WWII but found this book very disappointing. It is all just too twee and reminded me of Sunday night "cosy" television such as "Heartbeat", even down to the characters in the book being like soap figures - e.g. the not-quite-a-spiv chap. This just does not ring true after reading other accounts and listening to people who lived through it all.