Seniors Book Club May Selection

417ltjtvpnl-_sy445_ql70_The Seniors Book Club will meet at 2:00 on Wednesday, May 10 in the Children’s Open Corner to discuss Twopence to Cross the Mersey, a memoir by Helen Forrester.

About the book …

When Helen Forester’s father went bankrupt in 1930 she and her six siblings were forced from comfortable middle-class life in southern England to utmost poverty in the Depression-ridden North. Her parents more or less collapsed under the strain, father spending hours in search of non-existent work, or in the dole queue, mother on the verge of a breakdown and striving to find and keep part-time jobs. The running of the household, in slum surroundings and with little food, the care of the younger children, all fell on twelve-year-old Helen. Unable to attend school, Helen’s fear that she was to be trapped forever as drudge and housekeeper caused her to despair at times. But she was determined to have a chance and struggled, despite her parents, to gain an education. (from the Publisher)

About the author …

Helen Forrester was born in Hoylake, Cheshire, the eldest of seven children. For many years, until she married, her home was Liverpool, a city that features prominently in her work.

Throughout her teenage years, Forrester worked for a charitable organisation in Liverpool, which provided background for her novels Liverpool Daisy, A Cuppa Tea and an Aspirin, and Three Women of Liverpool. After surviving the Blitzing of Liverpool and losing two consecutive fiancés to the Second World War she met and, in 1950, married Dr. Avadh Bhatia; her life with him in India provided background for Thursday’s Child and The Moneylenders of Shahpur. The couple travelled widely, eventually settling in Edmonton, in 1955, where Dr. Bhatia became the director of the Theoretical Physics Institute at the University of Alberta.

The best-selling memoir of her childhood was Twopence to Cross the Mersey. It was later turned into a successful musical. Living in Alberta provided background for Forrester’s novels The Latchkey Kid and The Lemon Tree.  She died on 24 November 2011 in Edmonton, aged 92.

In 2017, the author’s son, Robert Bhatia, published Passage Across the Mersey, the story of his remarkable mother and the personal journey that took her India and ultimately to Alberta.

Books in the Series

Twopence to Cross the Mersey (1974)

Liverpool Miss (originally published as Minerva’s Stepchild) (1979)

By the Waters of Liverpool (1981)

Lime Street at Two (1985)

Passage Across the Mersey (Published by Robert Bhatia in 2017)

10 things I admire about my mother, Helen Forrester

Helen Forrester obituary in The Guardian 

Helen Forrester obituary in The Telegraph

How true love led Helen Forrester to leave Mersey for Indian exile

Photos of Liverpool in the 1930’s

 

A Bevvy of Book Reviews

More reviews from the readers in our Adult Summer REading Game: The Library, and Back Again!  There is still time to spin and read.  The game ends August 18.

longrunThe Long Run: A New York City Firefighter’s Triumphant Comeback From Crash Victim to Elite Athlete by Matt Long with Charles Butler

“Firefighters can ba a sarcastic, full-of-themselves bunch. I should know since I’m one of them. Most of this book is written this way. Matt Long calls himself a regular guy, a “dirty firefighter”. His words, however, describe something else. His vanity and ego are wide open for everyone to see as he describbes himself: ladies’-man, amazing firefighter, best friend, world-class runner and athlete.  I felt it took him going through his ordeal to learn humilty and class. The time jumps and flashbacks are occasionally confusing. A fairly easy read overall. His triumph in the end, plus learning about teh support he had from everybody, is heartwarming and salvages the rest of the book.”  ~Patron review, July 2015

Category: Bios & Memoirs

A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean by Tori Murden McClure

“The only word to describe this novel about the first woman to row alone across an ocean is “RAW”–this novel is full of raw courage–in not only confronting adverse weather conditions (hurricanes) but also her own personal hurricanes: her senses of helplessness, self-worth and failure.” ~Patron review by Kari M., July 2015  Category: Travel & Adventure

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

“Funny, funny, funny! Poehler writes as she speaks, with a mix of wry humour and quick wit. I laughed and I cried throughout.”  ~Patron review, July 2015  Category: Humour

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

“A beautiful and haunting love story about the sacrifices we make for those we love and the inevitability of the passage of time. A powerful lesson to live in and appreciate the moments we share with others. This book was captivating form start to finish.”  ~Patron review, July 2015  Category: Award Winners

Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll

“This book started well and then became very strange. I was disappointed with it. The author’s concept was interesting if you like aliens but it wasn’t my cup of tea.”  ~Patron review, July 2015  Category: Science Fiction

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

“I really enjoyed this book–I was hooked a few pages in. This thriller goes deeply into character development, making you think of people in a different way.  Very good read!”  ~Patron review, July 2015  Category: Thriller

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

mantel

“A collection of excellent short stories, by an author who I just discovered (she won the Booker Prize–twice!). The story “Long QT” is one of the best short stories I’ve ever read: precise, surprising, perfectly written.”  ~Patron review, August 2015  Category: Short Stories