15/04/2006

By the Waters of Liverpool

This is the third in Helen Forrester's autobiographical account of her family's life in Liverpool during the Depression of the 1930s. As this book opens, Helen is 18 - not quite so dirty and hungry as in the earlier books, but still struggling to keep the family together.

World War II threatens, but ironically makes life a bit easier for Helen since the younger children are evacuated, giving her a little more free time. She continues to work steadily for little money and to give most of her pay to her parents, becoming increasingly more stressed as she sees other people her age having fun despite poverty and war.

In this book she eventually begins to bloom as a young woman; an amazing example of courage and strength in face of adversity as she does what she can to make the most of every penny. There's no hint of self-pity in the writing, just an honest and often moving account of what was probably a typical family.

There's an epilogue to this book, flashing forward ten years to give us a 'happy ending', so I suspect it was supposed to be the last of a trilogy - well worth reading, and I'm now very interested to find what the final book in the series is about!

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