Wednesday, December 29, 2010

London's Children During World War II

I was absolutely fascinated the first time, in London, I heard that children living in the city during World War II were sometimes sent to live with complete strangers in the country while their parents stayed behind, working and trying to live lives as normal as possible in the city. I bought two books on this topic while I was there, and I've just finished the first one, a memoir called Kisses on a Postcard: A Tale of Wartime Childhood by Terrence Frisby. I plowed right through this book on Christmas Eve (it's only about 200 pages in length). For what was a very scary time for the English (and much of the rest of the world) was an adventurous time for the seven year-old narrator who published this book in the form I read it in 2009. Frisby, a playwright, has worked with the Criterion Theatre (where I saw a play that I'll talk about in a later post). A musical theatre version of his story of the three years he spent in Cornwall was produced in 2004 at Queen's Theatre in London.

This was a wonderful book told from the perspective of a little boy who is sent off to the country with his brother to escape the bombing in London during World War II. The book details his adventures with other "vackies" and children who reside in Cornwall. Frisby develops a very sweet affection for the couple who fostered he and his brother for three years. The narrator reminded me in some ways of Frank McCourt's voice in Angela's Ashes, but with a much more positive and adventurous spin. It was almost as if Frisby didn't know the danger his parents were in and thought of his time with Auntie Rose and Uncle Jack as just a fun new chapter in his life. This is a really wonderful tidbit of history told from the perspective of a real person, and better yet, a child. I won't give the book away, but the ending is very satisfying and very sweet.

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