Sandra Ross's Reviews > Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill

Clementine by Sonia Purnell
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it was amazing

Fascinating book. As the author pointed out in her introduction to the book, Winston Churchill has gotten all the press and all the attention both during his life and since his death among the historians and biographers, while Clementine, his wife, was either invisible or contained to a single-sentence mention in passing.

Yet Winston Churchill would not have been Winston Churchill without Clementine, for better or for worse.

This book takes a deep and honest look at both of Winston and Clementine, in their political lives together (this was Clementine's driving passion), their personal lives separately and together, and their lives as parents and grandparents.

Both Winston and Clementine were deeply-damaged and deeply-flawed people. Their childhoods were a mess, due to philandering mothers and emotionally and/or physically absent fathers, and both Clementine and Winston carried those scars, mentally and emotionally, throughout their lives, often with tragic consequences.

Both Clementine and Winston suffered from periodic episodes of depression, but Clementine suffered from severe mental illness, often simply disappearing for long periods of time, abandoning both Winston and their children because she emotionally and mentally just could not handle any or all of what was happening at the time.

Winston was an indulgent father, but was mostly absent as well, and the children grew up in the care of others, struggling as they reached adulthood with feelings of being abandoned, unloved, and resentment toward both of their parents.

Clementine and Winston managed to get their act as parents together finally with their youngest child, Mary, who, as an adult had the only stable life. Mary's older siblings battled addiction all their adult lives, with one sister committing suicide, and the other sister and her brother dying young from alcoholism.

Clementine's life is an interesting one, but it is also tragic on so many levels. One comes away from this book with a lingering sadness, more than any other impression of this lady who was very much the power behind Winston Churchill, whom without her, would have never been as powerful or as successful in politics as he became during World War II.
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Reading Progress

November 23, 2015 – Shelved
November 23, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
February 1, 2017 – Finished Reading

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