Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter

Jessica's favorite books »

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Review: Before the Last All Cleary by Ray Evans

Before the Last All Clear: Memories of a Man Still Haunted by the Cruelties He Endured

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  
Some recall it as the greatest adventure of their lives. For others, being a wartime evacuee was a nightmare. These are the witty yet deeply poignant memories of a man still haunted by the cruelties he endured. During World War II, around three and a half million British children were evacuated away from possible air raids in the big cities in one of the largest social upheavals Great Britain has ever seen. One of those children was Ray Evans. This is the story of a young evacuee from Liverpool sent to live in the Welsh town of Llanelli. Separated from his mother, brothers and sisters, six-year old Ray was dispatched to a series of families who ignored, exploited and brutalised him. Pushed from pillar to post, he finally finds happiness with a family who make him so welcome that he is reluctant to leave when war ends. Set in a world of ration books, air-raid sirens and ever-present danger, this is a candid and direct account of wartime Britain as seen through the eyes of a child.

My Thoughts:  This was one of those books that you should definitely read!  It is not a "feel-good" book but it is a worthy read for sure.  To see this time through the eyes of a child is eye-opening.  I have a 6-year-old so this one hit me a little harder and I imagine my little one going through this.  Get the box of kleenex and spend some time with this book!

At the age of 6, Ray was evacuated out of Liverpool to South Wales, along with his 9 siblings.  The siblings were split up (boys with boys and girls with girls).  Ray and his brother Frank were sent to live with Mrs. Jones, who was very strict and not very loving. 

The stories were told in the fashion of a grandfather telling his grandchildren his memories.  The flashbacks were not always in order but then, when telling old stories, when are they?  I did not find it confusing and actually liked it.  The memories weren't all sad and hard to read about.  There are some fun memories as well which help to break up the hard memories.

I learned a lot from this book as well.  I honestly never really knew a lot about the evacuation of the children in Britain.  To see it through the eyes of a child was heartbreaking but again, it was a must read!  If you like history, want to know more about WWII, this book is for you!

1 comment:

  1. I did enjoy this book.
    I loved hearing the stories first hand from an evacuee.