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Both Sides of the Fence - Lesley Drinkwater


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Both Sides of the Fence
by Lesley Drinkwater
UK price: £6.99   US price: $9.55
Format: Paperback:
Perfect binding , cream interior
Size : 6 x 9 (US trade)
Pages: 196
ISBN: 978-0956051950
Published: January-2009


Orphaned at ten, destitute at fourteen — vital ingredients for early maturity.

Set initially in Lancashire in the late twenties, this story follows the early life and Vicissitudes of Tim who, shortly after birth, was fostered out by his mother to a poor, socially deprived family, in Blackpool.

Unable, or unwilling, to cope with her illegitimate offspring, Tim’s mother made for the brighter lights of London, ostensibly to seek work. But there was always a mystery surrounding the boy’s father, his background, whereabouts and profession.

While essentially an autobiography, the author’s memories are distilled in the form of an exciting and absorbingly interesting novel. Indeed, the book is a good read and without doubt will constitute a valuable record of social history, especially regarding the socio-economic conditions prevailing just before, during and after WWII. The eye-witness accounts of the London Blitz, the staffing of a key aerodrome by low-flying Nazi planes, and the daily onslaught of V1 ‘doodlebugs’, and the vicissitudes of the young boy as he is shunted from foster-parent to foster-parent and finds his way in life and society, places the reader in the cut and thrust of day-to-day survival during this vital time in recent English history. The graphic character sketches and colourful dialogue adds both verisimilitude and entertainment to the narrative.

Historically, the ordinary people of Northern England were no strangers to poverty and deprivation. Faced with an economic downturn, their resilience, innovation and positive outlook invariably won through—and was largely achieved by sheer family cohesion. By contrast, genteel folk faced with a penury situation were unprotected from the realities of life and were usually too independent and proud to accept any form of charity.

Crossing the geographical boundary to the great metropolis and beyond immediately opens up new vistas—a wider social mix, cultural, monetary, intellectual and academic. All were fair game to the ever-watchful eyes and ears of our intrepid juvenile observer, from the early thirties to the end of World War II. Throughout this period he had lived in ten different homes before finally reaching his present abode in a western suburb of London.

About the Author

Born in Blackpool in the economic depression. Survived the London Blitz and National Service in the R.A.F.  Studied Egyptology, Psychology, Humanities and History via London University. Now widowed but actively engaged in psychic studies arising from several earlier personal paranormal experiences.

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