Chalk Pits & Cherry Stones

Rated 5.00/5 based on 5 reviews
This is a memoir about growing up in an industrialized riverside area of North Kent in the nineteen forties and fifties. It was a time of food rationing and shortages, air raid warnings and Doodlebugs, cheerful poverty and overcrowding where of necessity the local chalk pits and bomb sites became familiar playgrounds. More

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About Jean Hendy-Harris

I grew up in England and spent a number of years in London before moving to New Zealand where I became a doctor's wife and brought up three children. I moved from being an office worker to free lance writing during my twenties and at that time wrote short stories for women's magazines and articles on child care and early learning. After educating my children for ten years I wrote a home schooling memoir (PUTTING THE JOY BACK INTO EGYPT - Hodder & Stoughton) I have also written several literature themed books for teachers (Ashton Scholastic) and a variety of texts and articles on education. I am a newcomer to Smashwords.

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Review by: Susan Pope on July 25, 2013 :
This is a delightful memoir following the author's early life through the 1940's war years up to the end of the 50's. Jean's narrative trips along at a fast pace revealing intimate details about her largely dysfunctional family. Beginning with the father, absent during the war years, who returned with the peace yet sat like a square peg in Jean's until then, rounded life until he died, to the matriarchal often drunken Nan, who thought, 'goin''opping' was more important for the children than going to school. (A reference to Kent hop picking throughout September every year.)
I loved listening to Jean's vivid descriptions of every aspect of her life and the colourful cast of characters that peopled her formative years. I read this book with a big smile on my face and laughed out loud at many of the passages. It is quite reminiscent of H E Bates 'Darling Buds of May'; a story told with humour, sensitivity and the wisdom of time.
(review of free book)
Review by: Boring Barry on June 28, 2013 :
A good read. Brought back many memories to me of that time, playing in the chalk pits, in the streets and in the water pit. Parents would go crazy now with the things we used to do.
Jumping off the edge of the pit to the rubbish heap below and climbing up the root of the tree that hung down the side of the pit. We used to wander for miles through the pits and tunnels and your parents would not have a clue as to where we were.
There were no toys about so we had to make our own out of old pram wheels, bits of wood and old wooden boxes to make buggies and our hoops where old bike or car tyres. Make do and mend, those where the days.
Bye the way I am not boring.
(review of free book)
Review by: clive marsh on June 9, 2013 :
This book is very, very good! An excellent description of growing up in post war Gravesend, a nautical town just down stream from London. Totally true and absorbing. I could smell the place. Beautifully described through a youngster's eyes and just as I remember it.
(review of free book)
Review by: Patrick Gebhard on June 8, 2013 :
If you ever wondered what growing up in post war Britain at the bottom of the social heap was like, then read this book! To those who remember those days I'd imagine it would re-awaken memories of the greatly dreaded Eleven Plus Exam. A very readable narrative ... suitable for younger readers curious about what life was like in the mid 20th century.
(review of free book)
Review by: Jennifer Barraclough on June 2, 2013 :
Jean Hendy-Harris was born in 1940 in Gravesend, a small town in the south of England. Growing up in a poor and dysfunctional family during the Second World War brought many hardships and traumas, but this fascinating book is no ‘misery memoir’. Writing with fluency and verve, she gives vivid descriptions of a time long since passed into history: sheltering from the bombing raids, exploring the abandoned chalk quarries, hop-picking in the summer, and very much more. The book ends with Jean, now a young woman, moving to London to start a new life. Her story is shocking in parts, but always absorbing, and I hope there will soon be a sequel.
(review of free book)
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