Popeye Never Told You: Childhood Memories Of The War: Rodney Hall
Rodney Hall, the much-awarded Australian writer (twice winner of the Miles Franklin) who was born in England, has written a memoir that brims with insight and overflows with passion. Written in first person from the point of view of his five-year-old self, Hall achieves something rare – a whole new way of looking, seeing, feeling rural England during World War II. The cheeky, inquisitive, sensitive boy leaps off every page as he navigates the world of rations, siblings, missing fathers, the often-looming Luftwaffe and the lucid dream of Australia.
The innocence, misunderstandings and clarity of a child’s perspective bring the story, of 1940 through to 1945 and the war’s end, to life with vitality and delight. The nuance and cadence of the young Rodney is a real literary achievement and shifts the ground considerably in the approach to memoir. I highly recommend it.