Monday, September 22, 2014

Mum is in Charge - John O'Neill

Summary: The story Mum is in Charge' is based on true events, covering the period 1939 to 1945, with some flashbacks to earlier years. It is related by youngest child of the family, with a host of interesting, exciting, challenging moments. 
There is a close encounter with death, the controversial friendship with an old lady ghost, sadness, hardships including school bullying, which developed into what all families need, a bonding as a single unit. The making of a few close friends, which grew into a happy camaraderie. The experiences of a young infatuation and romances. There are veiled secrets which are for the first time revealed after seven decades, and brings into play emotional heart searching. 
It is Mum who had the most common sense in the family and turned all types of situations into acceptable realities, resulting in Mum is in Charge'. (Summary and pic from

My Review: At the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I lived in a neighborhood that everyone referred to as “newly wed and nearly dead.” We were, of course, on the newly wed side, although we were among the oldest of the newly weds. The next closest in age to us were people who were 70 years old, and it just went up from there. We lived there for about four years and we really enjoyed it, and we got to know a lot of the older couples. We still stay in touch with them, mostly in the form of Christmas cards. Ours are slick, complete with photo and print-on-demand, and sometimes we’ll include a witty poem about our goings on of the year. Theirs are always typed, but much less froofy and are obviously from an era where texting wasn’t the main form of communication. K thnx bye ttfn cu l8er

Mum Is in Charge reminded me of that. The writing is almost stream of conscious—like you’d picked up in the middle of an ongoing conversation, a reminder that people did actually write long letters back and forth and didn’t necessarily expect a response within the minute. R u there? In fact, Mr. O’Neill talks a lot about keeping a scrapbook, and spent a lot of time keeping it up, so this book ends up being a unique memoir. Obviously a lot of information in it is taken from his perspective of events as they were taken at the time, with the added bonus of his perspective of those same events as an older man.

This is a gentle little book, reliving one of the most important parts of history through the eyes of one who was actually there. The author describes in great detail what it was like to be a youth in England during World War II, living not only the important, flashy parts of the war, but day to day life as well. For this, I find this book invaluable. It is told in little stories and vignettes of remembrances and memories and although I found this a little bit difficult at the beginning, I really enjoyed it by the end. It was a genuine peak into someone’s life during this great historic time.

This book is not a dramatized version of all the important things happening to one person in one brief novel. Instead, it’s a lovely memoir of one man recalling his past and giving the gift of his memories. If you are a WWII or history buff or even just love reading memoirs, you should definitely look into this book.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My rating: 4 stars

For the Sensitive Reader: There is some mild language and some teenage sexual exploits, but nothing too shocking. 

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