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Veronica's Bird

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Veronica Bird was one of nine children living in a tiny house in Barnsley with a brutal coal miner for a father. Life was a despairing time in the Fifties as Veronica sought desperately to keep away from his cruelty. However, a glimmer of hope revealed itself as she, astonishingly to her and her mother, won a scholarship to Ackworth Boarding School where she began to shine ...more
Published January 22nd 2018 by Clink Street Publishing
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Average rating 3.35  · 
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Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
As someone with a great interest in all things crime-related, as soon as I read the tagline for this book – “Thirty-five years inside, as a woman prison officer” – Veronica’s Bird became a must read. This book is split into two halves: part one looks back a Veronica’s childhood and part two recounts her life as a woman prison officer. I must confess, I was eager to get to part two, but as is the natural order of things, we must start at the beginning.

In part one, Veronica details her earlier lif
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book reviews on

Veronica's Bird is a really interesting read, set against the tough and often bleak world of the prison service, where Veronica's career reached great heights - against all odds, you might say, considering what a tough start to life she had. Despite this, the novel has some real rays of light shining through the sadder/ tougher parts, which are quite uplifting and help you see why she loved doing what she did.

As a general rule I don't read a huge amount of non
Sandra "Jeanz"
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was brought to my attention when I was asked by Rachel at Authoright Publicity if I would be interested in reading this book and when I read the blurb it really captured my attention as the Ackworth School mentioned in the book is not far from where I currently live. The area I live in was also known as a pit town and I also have a rough idea where certain streets/areas are in Barnsley too so I thought that this prior knowledge would really help me envision the area's being talke
Janice Richardson
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-rated
Life isn't always fair. It certainly wasn't for Veronica Bird. She had a horrific childhood, until her mother, who couldn't read or write, got a scholarship application for her daughter to fill out. Veronica was given a scholarship to Ackworth boarding school where a new world opened up to her. She worked night and day to meet the academic standards, excelling in all sports.

Her brother-in-law kiboshed her schooling just before her finals, taking her back to her squalid hometown to work in his ve
Eileen Bird
Feb 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Not entirely a true story. Both Veronica's parents George and Ethel were literate her mother could also read music play the piano beautifully and speak French. George was not a brutal man, just an average working class bloke, probably a little above average for the time as he owned his own house when most only rented. Veronica was a very privileged child and lots of sacrifices were made by the rest of her family so that she could go to Ackworth. Unfortunately, after the death of her mother, her ...more
Nicola Smith
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Many things about this book appealed to me on first reading the blurb. Being from South Yorkshire myself, the story of a young girl from Barnsley sounded fascinating. And then this girl went on to work not only for the police but for the prison service, the latter for thirty-five years.

What is clear from the beginning is that Veronica is a person with a huge amount of fighting spirit. Coming from a very deprived background with a cruel father, things were never easy. But her story of how she man
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Fascinating story of life within the British prison system

An autobiography of Veronica Bird's life, with the main focus being on her time working within the British prison system, and the remarkable improvements she made to the prison service.

This is an engrossing and fascinating book. Veronica was born in 1943 and was one of 9 children born into a family living in poverty. Despite a very challenging upbringing she makes a success of her life, and this is her story told with humour, and some in
Nic Jones
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
My boss actually passed this book on to me to read as I will read anything and everything.

I’ve recently been watching ‘Locked Up’ on Netflix so this was a very interesting read comparing the experiences from a Prison Officer in the UK when the US series focussed heavily on the point of view of the inmates.

What I liked most about Veronica is she just never seemed to feel sorry for herself. Every issue/hardship in her life she seemed to use as an opportunity. How many of us can say we do that?

Elizabeth Ray
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love memoirs about interesting people and this book was no exception! I was given this book and am voluntarily reviewing it. Veronica lived a horrific childhood, never seeing any way out of her lot in life. But Veronica was born with tenacity and she starts crawling out of the hole at a young age by getting a scholarship to a boarding school. When Veronica’s selfish brother-in-law pulls her out of school so they can get free labor, Veronica still makes a plan to escape. Eventually, she ends up ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
I rarely read non-fiction, in honesty I can’t remember the last I read but I liked the sound of Veronica’s Bird. It didn’t disappoint.
From an early age Veronica was aware that if she wanted a better life then it was up to her to do it. Despite having an abusive and aggressive father and a controlling, ignorant brother-in-law she managed it. Proving that she had guts, that she wasn’t afraid of hard work and showing that everybody had respect fo ...more
Between The Pages Book Club (Gemma M)
 I absolutely loved this book! I have always been fascinated about prisons, so this book was perfect. A little different from what I usually read as this is a non fiction book, a true story. But it’s brilliant!

As a true story you really get to know Veronica up close and personal, through the good and bad! She is a woman I admire with an interesting life story to tell. I was well and truelly hooked, I wanted to know everything about what this woman experienced and had to tell me especially inside
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I have persisted through reading this book because the story is quite compelling. However, the English teacher in me can no longer ignore the atrocious writing. Ms. Bird has a story to tell and I’m keen to hear it, despite the few reviews which contend that her childhood was not at all as she remembers it.... However, the gratuitous, helter-skelter use of punctuation, the horrendous sentence structure and serial spelling errors must be sorted before I will consider picking this one up again.
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
The true story of how Veronica Bird rose from a very deprived and abused childhood in the late 1940s to become a professional and well respected Prison Governor. An interesting insight into prison life, mostly female prisons, while possibly challenging some of our misunderstood and historical penal reform ideas.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Unfortunately, this book is in two halves for me her early life being fiction with very little fact and wasn't necessary but may help to sell the book. Some of the prison stories are interesting
Sheila Wyver
Oct 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting life of Veronica Bird growing up in complete poverty in Barnsley in the fifties and due to her circumstances, joined the prison service where she had an extremely successful career. A good read but let down by the writing. Story all over the place and poor editing.
Mary Stewart
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed it very much- learned a lot about prisons that I was not aware of- such as the staff are also in prison-never thought of that.No wonder this lady was awarded theOBE by the Queen.
Review & Blog Tour post to follow @ ...more
Thank you to the author, the Publishers and Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for this review copy, and also to Rachel for organising the Blog Tour.

I love real life memoirs of people that aren’t celebrities! You get an insight into various lives and professions which you wouldn’t normally see. When I saw this book, I knew this was just my kind of book! Veronica Bird served in the Prison service for 35 years, serving in some of the toughest prisons in the UK. I assumed when I saw the name of
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Michelle See
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