Skip to main content

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Before the Last All Clear by Ray Evans


When Ray Evans was six years old, he and his siblings were all evacuated from Liverpool, which was in danger of being bombed during World War II. They were sent to South Wales in September 1939. Although his mother wanted the children to stay together, it was not possible and they were split up. Before the Last All Clear: Memories of a Man Still Haunted by the Cruelties He Endured is Ray Evan's memoir of the time he spent in Wales during the war, the horrible conditions in which he lived, and the situations and people he encountered before finally returning home in 1945.

This is an incredibly personal memoir that opened my eyes to situations I never really knew about. When the war began many children were evacuated from areas that were likely to be in the throws of the war. I first read about children being evacuated from one place to another during the war in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer. That was fiction. This was real life.

Ray Evans tells of the many different homes in which he was placed during his time in Wales. The first place was that of a couple. The husband wanted Ray and his brother to stay with them; the wife did not. And she made their lives a living hell while they stayed with her. Then he moved on to a home that was so dirty and miserable he realized he didn't have it so bad at the first place. Evans offers anecdotes about his time in these homes, and in the schools where he was teased, and it breaks your heart to think of how he suffered.

But he also provides some lighthearted stories and a glimpse into the last family that took him in, which was so kind he didn't want to leave them. The memoir is written as stories told by a grandfather to his grandchildren, which was the original intention of the book. Evans wanted to put his stories on paper so they would never be lost. The writing style is not refined, and there's a bit of skipping around in terms of time frames, but the stories Evans has to tell are definitely worth hearing.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Listen to an excerpt
Watch the book trailer
Learn more about Ray Evans

This review was written based on an ebook copy of Before the Last All Clear that I received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway
The author has graciously offered a copy of Before the Last All Clear as a giveaway for one of my readers. To enter, just leave a comment below with your email address. The giveaway ends at 10:00pm EDT on October 17, 2011.

Comments

  1. I enjoyed this lovely slice of social history from Ray Evans.

    I agree that although the novel skipped about the timeframe, it came across just a grandfather would tell those stories to grandchildren.


    carol

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely review. Would love the opportunity to read.

    @kirstylou29 on twitter

    ReplyDelete
  3. This made me think of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Clearly that was fiction, and most children probably did not land in as nice of a house as the Pevensies did in that novel. I'd be interested to read about what it was really like.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    afewmorepages[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I recall reading about someone who had a very bad experience after being evacuated from London, but I can't remember if it was fiction or nonfiction, now. Well, at any rate, this book sounds fascinating. I'd love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!

    bookfoolery at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  5. i love reading memoirs they are so personal and interesting,

    katie_tp AT yahoo DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  6. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Nice review, Julie! Please enter me and thanks for the chance. =O)

    truebookaddictATgmailDOTcom

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Banned Books Week: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

This is the end of Banned Books Week and unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of time to write about banned books this year. But I did want to include at least one post about it, so today I wanted to share one of the book series that it seems most people are surprised to find on the list: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park.

According to Wikipedia:
The Junie B. Jones series came in at #71 on the American Library Association's list of the Top 100 Banned or Challenged Books from 2000-2009. Reasons cited are poor social values taught by the books and Junie B. Jones not being considered a good role model due to her mouthiness and bad spelling/grammar. This is an interesting example of a banned book. Many times there are serious, controversial topics featured in books that are challenged. Things like homosexuality, drugs, vulgar language, etc. You can actually understand why people may not want their children to read those books, and why they may challenge their inclusion in school libra…

Book Review: No Story to Tell by KJ Steele

Victoria has been put down since the day she was born. First by her parents who were disappointed that she survived while her twin brother died. Then by her verbally abusive husband and his low-life friends. But soon an intriguing artist named Elliott arrives in town and starts encouraging Victoria to follow her dream of opening her own dance studio. She also begins to receive phone calls from a mysterious someone who gets her to open up about her past and face her true feelings.

In No Story to Tell, KJ Steele has captured the small-town atmosphere and brought these characters to life. From the victimized Victoria, to her drunk and obnoxious husband Bobby and his drunk and obnoxious friends, to all the side characters who you'd expect to encounter in a town like this ~ all are so realistic in both their actions and their voices. She has written a compelling story of an abused woman who thinks she is trapped in this loveless, miserable existence. But then she finds a spark of hope…

Book Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Title: I See You
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Genre: thriller
Published: February 21, 2017
Format: ebook (NetGalley)
Source: publisher
Buy on Amazon(affiliate link)


Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? You will after reading Clare Mackintosh's latest release I See You. Told from the perspectives of two women, one who appears to be targeted by a criminal and the other who is the police officer working the case, this psychological thriller will have you looking over your own shoulder by the end.

Zoe is a typical working mother who takes the Underground through London to her office every day. Like most commuters, she has a routine that she follows every day, leaving home at the same time, sitting in the same train car, taking the same route to work from the station. It's habit. But she starts to realize this may not be a good idea after seeing her own photo in an advertisement in the newspaper. Another woman who appears in the advertisement is murdered and Zoe starts to ge…