Book summary: London Pride


Here is a story that may go farther towards making us feel the war in our hearts than any number of personal experience records. Our minds may say -- ""This is a story and it's sentimental and plays deliberately on the emotions"". Or they may say -- ""She tells us these people are poor and dirty and live in squalor, but she makes us forget it as soon as it is sold, for it isn't real in the sense that the integrity and pride and fineness of the people are real."" The story revolves around a seven-year old slum child, a boy who knows only London and chiefly the London of the docks, a boy to whom the very thought of evacuation is terror, particularly as it threatens his tie with his mother and his baby sister. So the twins, next older, are sent to Cornwall, and Ben remains to face the bombing with the courage of his kind. The reader shares the intimate details of successive adjustments -- loss of everything that meant home except the spirit which was strengthened by destruction outside. The shelters make friends of enemies, they make family ties where none have been acknowledged before, they build whole new sets of values -- and they create new disturbances. There is drama and tragedy and high flights of courage in the story of Ben and the little girl next door, Emily, with her odd sense of right and wrong. And dominating all, there is Mrs. Barton, to whom a budget had reality the visiting ladies did not understand, and for whom there were standards and responsibilities that no mere Hitler could shake.

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