I spent a good chunk of time trying to find one of my favourite reads from my childhood last week and, after finding it, I went on to find other books that unlocked memories. I was born in 1995, not a time of great diversity in publishing if we’re looking at this list and as for Diary of a Chav <puffs out cheeks> I should mention a lot of these books I read because they were there and I could find them in charity shops or the public library. Trying to read a series of books (in order) proved impossible and I liked authors I knew had other books to read. I found comfort in familiarity. I might try getting a hold of some of these books and re-reading them. Possibly setting myself up for disappointment.
Dustbin Baby – Jacqueline Wilson
The Granny Project – Anne Fine
The Famous Five – Enid Blyton
Diary of a Chav – Grace Dent
Just Henry – Michelle Magorian
Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
Lucky Star – Cathy Cassidy
Ally’s World – Karen McCombie
The Babysitter’s Club – Ann. M. Martin
Blitzed – Robert Swindells
The Shell House – Linda Newbury
Pink Knickers Aren’t Cool – Jean Ure
There’s a Pharaoh in our Bath – Jeremy Strong
Matilda – Roald Daul
Lady Daisy – Dick King Smith
Trust me, I’m A Troublemaker – Pete Johnson
What do you think, have you read any of these books?
Millions have fallen in love with Jennifer Worth and her experiences in the East End as chronicled in Call the Midwife but little is known about her life outside this period. Now, in this moving and evocative memoir, Jennifer’s sister, Christine, takes us from their early idyllic years to the cruelty and neglect they suffered after their parents divorced, from Jennifer being forced to leave home at fourteen to their training as nurses.
After leaving nursing Jennifer took up a career in music, her first love, and Christine became a sculptor, but through marriages and children, joy and heartbreak, their lives remained intertwined. Absorbing and emotional, The Midwife’s Sister by Christine Lee is testimony to an enduring bond between two extraordinary women.
The title is correct, the description of the book misleading.
The two sisters did not get on. Their childhood was fucking tough after the divorce of their parents. This isn’t Jenny’s story. She isn’t portrayed as the saint she was in The Call the Midwife books. God knows, we’re all flawed and given her background. She was thrown out at 15 and was in a secret relationship with an older man. The book lacks warmth. The copy I read needed editing. I didn’t enjoy the writing. It’s a long book. It is revealing. If you like Call the Midwife, this book may spoil it for you. I wondered at times what I was reading and why. I went into reading this not having looked at the blurb or the reviews and certainly didn’t expect what I read. The Midwife’s Sister was interesting.
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those tasks that are really difficult / which require effort / i am no longer resilient / i mind / i bruise / i no longer work shit out for myself / unravelling all the knots /
when i attempted a task / steps forward / it felt like i stumbled instead / and twisted an ankle / one perceived mistake by myself / my self-esteem suffered / muffle weakness under what numbs / as a distraction /
then a task pops up / it feels important / like an opportunity / think – maybe i should try to figure this out / as i work / remember – how it feels / to achieve something / to feel hope again / and not be fearful of it / i could ask for help / be mindful / to make a mistake – is to gather stones / to build the foundation / to try and try / build – until the sun begins to shine through
i was attempting to write a poem here on making mistakes and be allowed to also ask for help, if you are stuck on something. That’s a broad spectrum of ‘things’ i don’t really like this poem. It needs work. It was one of those poems that needed to be written at the time.