♦️Norma was hardly four years old when the Second World War started. Soon, she and her family started feeling the effects of war in their country, England. In this memoir, she conferred in Gary Metivier about her family, the awesome relationship she had with her siblings and how the war looked like through a child's eyes.
💥The book is fast-paced and very short, so it did not take me much time to finish it. I loved the way it is written, giving such intricate details about the war without causing boredom. The adventures Norma had with her elder siblings, Pat and Brian were incredible. It was heart-rending to know how war affected the children's lives, due to which they could not play in peace outside, had to listen to the sound of bombings in their sleep late in the night, be satisfied with the meagre amount of food they got through rationing and be content with minimum celebrations during Christmas.
💥A significant part of the book revolves around the mischiefs of the three children which ultimately landed them in trouble, which did nothing to dampen their spirits. It was always their brother, Brian, who came up with ideas and the two sisters followed him. Reading about their adventures made me relive my childhood.
💥This book is a must read for those who are interested in memoirs, World War 2 and definitely those who have a child hidden within them.
I want to thank NetGalley, the author and the publisher for sharing with me an ARC of the book.
A WWII Memoir
by Norma Thoeming as told to Gary Metivier
Pub Date 13 Jun 2023
Legacy Book Press LLC, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members’ Titles
Biographies & Memoirs. |. History. |. OwnVoices
Netgalley and Legacy Book LLC have provided me with a copy of Norma’s War for review:
This short book packs a powerful punch:
The only gift her father could provide for Christmas was a shiny apple. After evacuees fleeing the blitz moved in, her mother had walked away without saying a word. For Norma, this was the way of life in England during World War II. She knew nothing else. It was a life enhanced by a loving sister and a mischievous brother who watched and explored as bombs fell. The American G.I.’s would soon open her eyes to a whole new world filled with new tastes and new dreams for a brighter future.
We embark on an inspiring journey of love, loss, laughter, and hope with Norma.
This is Norma’s story. This is Norma’s War.
I give Norma’s War five out of five stars!
Norma's War is an evocative, spellbinding, heart bruising and hopeful true story about a young girl growing up in Bedford, England during WWII when lives were upended and chaos reigned. But life marched on. As children are wont to do, she and her siblings Brian and Pat got into trouble more than once (the glove and keyhole stories stands out). The war raged everywhere around them and in homes, too, including Norma's. The sudden routine shift left by her mother's departure impacted their lives in good and bad ways and household roles changed. But that's not all that changed.
In her memoir, Norma includes the everyday such as chores and games they played and an unusual Christmas present. Though at times innocent children found aspects of war exciting (their very own gas masks, learning aircraft types), sad events occurred such as evacuees, food rationing, living underground, air raids, bombing and death. The arrival of the American soldiers after liberation created quite a stir! The questions Norma asked them are delightfully childlike. I also like that post-war information on the family and photographs are included throughout, really adding a personal touch. The simple writing makes the story easily understood and powerful.
Reading a story told from a child's perspective during war is precious and compelling, completely different. Highly recommended to those who wish to learn more about WWII in England in general but more so about one family's experiences. My gratitude goes to those who reach into the annals of their minds and hearts to tell their stories and those record them such as Gary Metivier who beautifully captured Norma's words.
My sincere thank you to Legacy Book Press, LLC and NetGalley for the honour of reading this stellar and endearing book.
It was a time of "an odd combination of adventure, excitement, fear, and terror" is how Norma Thoeming best described growing up during WWII. I found it a riveting read in it's basic simplicity. It was also hard not to find my thoughts straying to the children today who are facing the same terrors while dealing with normal growing pains.
Norma's story, told to Gary Metivier, isn't fancy. The chapters are short, her childhood remembered in simple terms, and allow us to peek into the world of Norma's Bedford, England, life both before and after the war. Parents, can you imagine the horror of having your children handed a gas mask? Hearing that their school group was fired on from a passing German plane? Dealing with refugees being housed in your home? And that doesn't even include the anxiety and fears of an everyday life that without warning could suddenly include bombs being dropped on your neighborhood, one leaving a huge crater in front of your home. Life at home wasn't easy, either, with a troubled mother who simply walked out on them at one point, not to mention an energetic brother, full of mischief, who seems to have a knack for setting things on fire, all by accident, not that it made much difference. Norma's life as a working class girl wouldn't have been easy at any time but when the war came to their town, life was never to be the same.
To be honest, as noted, I found myself liking this book more than I had expected. Given how many WWII related books I've read in my life, that is a high compliment, particularly as it left me thinking about it long after I'd finished. I definitely recommend "Norma's War" to both history buffs and those wondering what life was really like when you hear about wartime England. Heck, read if you like a good story with interesting characters. Characters who were real people.
You'll be left with questions, of course. Remember, this is about a child's memories. And, I mean, was there really such a thing as a "siren suit"? I'm going to have to look that one up. In the meantime, thanks to #NetGalley and #LegacyBookPress - #IBPA for introducing me to Norma Thoeming. I'm all the better for it.
A short quick read memoir set in Bedford during WW2. The book follows Norma and her family throughout the war years and really brings home the terror and deprivation endured at this time in a small town in the home counties. There is a contrasting picture of excitement from Norma's elder brother, Brian, as he is drawn in with a young lad's fascination with war with planes from both sides overhead. It is lovely that Norma (with some help from her sister, Pat) managed to pass on this very interesting account of the time and would help today's youngsters get more of a picture of what life was like. I see that this book is published in the US but I hope it makes it this side of the Atlantic as well.
Norma’s War is a quick and simply worded book, appropriate for a wide range of readers. It follows the wartime experiences of a British girl named Norma and her family. It was interesting to step into this timepiece. I enjoyed learning about the games of the time, how much was sacrificed during this time, and the thrill of receiving her very own gas mask. Her first encounter with American soldiers was adorable: The way she barraged them with questions about hamburgers and malt shops was so vividly childlike. The included photos are excellent.
Absolutely worth a read!
Thanks to NetGalley and Legacy Book Press LLC for granting access to a digital ARC in exchange for my review.