World War 2

EVERYONE BRAVE IF FORGIVEN

Today I am inspired by the beautiful novel Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave.

Bravery during WWII London and Malta is central to this novel. The language in which the novel is written is beautiful and engaging. The characters are likable and believable.

If we are brave can we be forgiven for the decisions we make? War certainly effects people in different ways. Some can chose to conduct their lives as normally as possible. Others go out on a limb to serve their country, not just on the battle front but on the home front.

One of the main characters of this book, Mary North, served at home.¬†Firstly as a teacher and then as an ambulance driver. Both occupations were ‘below’ her social standing and both were brave. Can her family forgive her for this bravery of service?

I like Mary. Not only did she show bravery but also niavety, vulnerability and compassion. Her story was inspiring.

The other main characters of the book are her friend Hilda, her love interests Tom and Alistair and the young negro boy whom she befriends Zachary.

I particularly found young Zachary inspiring. He starts off as a shy, weak young boy confused and lacking confidence and ends as a strong young man. Sorry but that is all I can say without giving too much away about him and the subplots that involves him. But let’s say that he and Mary have a very special bond.

One of the most inspiring quotes from the novel is : “It was simply a peculiarity of the British that they should be stoical about two hundred and fifty nights of bombing, while the sight of her with a negro child offended their sensibilities unbearably.”

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Magda Szubanski

Today I am inspired by Magda Szubanski and her beautiful memoir Reckoning.

Magda is well known in Australia for her comic work, paricularly as Sharon in the TV series Kath and Kim. Reckoning is her first book. This memoir is not just Magda’s story but also the story of her Polish father, in particular his life in Warsaw during World War II.

It is inspiring to read a memoir that is not a celebrity gush or gossip feast. As one podcaster said recently it is more of an Australian story than a celebrity story.

Her frankness about her struggle with her own sexuality, her weight and her father’s past are refreshing and insightful.

If you are a fan of Magda’s you will enjoy this book. If you enjoy celebrity gossip then this book is not for you. If you are interested in Australian stories then this is a must. If you have an interest in World War II history then this will feed your hunger for knowledge.