Cathy's Reviews > Nella Last's War: The Second World War Diaries of Housewife, 49

Nella Last's War by Nella Last
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May 21, 09

bookshelves: ww2, bookgroup

** spoiler alert ** Nella will 'live' with me now. I found her observations, and often her strength, sometimes startling and often refreshing.

Her spirit was alien to me to start with. Her evident previous depression, her impassive husband, her forthright comments about her sons (Cliff being the 'dumb blonde' in family joking) – all made her seem a bit larger than life to me. She seemed very focused on herself. Perhaps this is not surprising even in a Mass Observation diary.

Nella would have made a good blogger! Most entries were self-contained, and there were nuggets in many.

I warmed to her as I began to appreciate that she was not a feeble creature at all; nor a shrew. She took responsibility for herself, by working extremely hard. She took responsibility for others, obviously with her devotion to her war work but also very personally by putting on a cheerful face, and for example by looking after the new born baby that the doctor asked her to foster. She also took responsibility for her part in the war effort. She did not for example seek to keep her sons away from war, but saw the need for them as everyone else to do their duty.

I loved some of her pleasures. Her delight in nature was a deep source of recovery to her. Also 'I love a fire in a bedroom' – and 'I think silk stockings and lovely soft leather gloves are the only two things I envy women for'.

I am not sure I want to read 'Nella Last's Peace' – though I will. She had a 'good war' and things could only decline.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Cliff refers to Nella, his mother, as "our dumb blonde" exactly because she is dark, as Nella explains. Nella did not refer to her son in this manner. Look again.

And yes, most diaries are "focussed on themselves." That's why people kept diaries, to record their own thoughts and lives and actions.


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