Saturday, 25 April 2015

Cathy Murray

This short book is a real re-creation for those of us who remember it - and a probable eye-opener for the young.

Cabbage and Semolina Cabbage and Semolina

My review -

This novella length work is effectively a series of short essays on aspects of life as a child in 1950s Britain. As I grew up in this era myself, I found lots of echoes of my own early years. The title refers to school meals in the 1950s when rationing was still a recent memory, for the adults at least. The ubiquitous Sunday Tea was exactly the same in my own Manchester household. Why, I wonder? There are tender reminiscences of grandparents, more robust tellings of the ways we ‘played out’ and the sort of holidays we had. It’s told with a warmth and an eye to detail which bring the past back to life. The style is conversational so I kept wanting to chip in with ‘do you remember…’ details of my own.

The author has a keen interest in family history and regrets that her mother-in-law didn’t write down her own story. With the rise of ebook publishing, it’s so much easier for these individual reminiscences to be recorded. Documents like Cabbage and Semolina will become a useful word-of-mouth archive for the future. Apart from which it’s a really interesting read.

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