Skipping to School: Memories of a Liverpool Girlhood 1937 – 1948, Doris Calder

unnamedReview by Sinead Nunes, Editor

Skipping to School: Memories of a Liverpool Girlhood 1937-1948 is a novel telling the story of a growing girl’s upbringing during wartime Liverpool.

Doris Calder collects together her thoughts, memories and historical facts about Liverpool and the second World War, and weaves these together into an easy read. The book is packed with references to wartime food, entertainments, dialect and family habits, and provides a realistic glimpse into wartime Britain through the eyes of a child.

It is fascinating to read about the war from this point of view; the threat of the enemy is not quite as real to an innocent child as the disappointment of school being closed due to air raids, or a friend being moved to the countryside for safety.

There are some great memories included in the book, as well as some lovely photographs from the family archives, but at times the novel lacks narrative, with important characters appearing with little or no introduction, making it difficult to form an emotional attachment to the story.

Calder’s novel works more as a collection of memoirs, rather than a story or narrative, and taken as a historical document, could become a hugely helpful resource for school children when learning about the war. Given the simple language used, as well as the level of local interest it provides, this book would work brilliantly as a resource for Liverpool’s schools.

Whether you are a child looking to learn about history, or a war veteran reliving memories of youth, this book is accessible, informative and difficult to put down.

Author Doris Calder attended Arnot Street School in Walton and Queen Mary Grammar School in Liverpool before going on to work in the Liver Buildings. In her youth she enjoyed travelling and attended the World’s Fair in Belgium in 1958. Now retired, this is her first book.