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      Summer Supporter Giveaway   08/31/2020

      Going on a Summer Holiday (Sort Of...)     The summer giveaway for Patreon supporters is finally here and this time we're doing something a little bit different. I want supporters to tell me where you would go on holiday, if you could go anywhere. The winner will receive a bookish prize based on their answer!   Terms and conditions are as usual. Patreon supporters will be automatically entered into the giveaway and selected at random. As we're a little late this year the draw will be held on the second weekend of September. If you aren't currently a supporter but want to be involved in the giveaway you can sign up to support us here:   https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum  

Gloucestershire - [alternative] A Child in the Forest by Winifred Foley

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Copied from my blog:

I absolutely loathe the word belly! Sorry if that offends anyone, it's probably just me, but ugh – it's up there with moist! :giggle: However, Winifred Foley's excellent book A Child in the Forest, first published in 1974, has been rebranded as Full Hearts And Empty Bellies: A 1920s Childhood from the Forest of Dean to the Streets of London - catchy, huh!  :giggle2:

In the 1960s, the social historian John Burnet put out an appeal for people to write down their memories, and so, aided by her husband who helped to edit her writing, she submitted her memoirs which were turned into this book. I managed to find a copy of it in the Bookbarn and read it for Gloucestershire, having already read (and loved) Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee. Foley and Lee were born within a month of each other in 1914, but their reminiscences are quite different, in particular, Lee's are more whimsical than Foley's.

Winifred, known as Poll to her family, was a lively child who lived with her mother and father and younger siblings in the small Gloucestershire village of Brierley. The family lived in abject poverty, subsisting by cadging food from willing neighbours, persuading the local shopkeeper to let them have goods 'on tic' and even, on occasions, scrumping – an activity which wasn't always successful! The conditions in which the family lived – the fleas, the hunger, the ragged clothing are almost incomprehensible (although of course poverty does, sadly, still exist). Despite the family's lack of money it was mostly a happy childhood for the young Poll. She recounts her early years in the Forest, and the period from the age of 14 when she went into service in London up until the point she met her husband, with humility, warmth and humour. She uses quite a lot of dialect in the book. Although I'm not a native of Somerset I have lived here for nearly 29 years and have learned many phrases. The language of Somerset is quite similar, which I think helped!

I very much enjoy books about social history, particularly the Victorian to post WW2 period, so this book was right up my street and I very much enjoyed it. It also really gave a feel of the county.  There are two more 'Forest' books (both rebranded for a modern audience) and I would definitely like to try the second one at some stage. :)

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