Book Review: While the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle & Elsie Hancy Eaton

While the Bombs FellWhile the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While the Bombs Fell is a collection of memoirs written jointly by Robbie Cheadle and her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton. While some of the tales might be fictionalized, everything is based on memories and history experienced by Elsie during the 1940s WWII bombing of England by the Germans. What a wonderful way to conclude my July month of [mostly] autobiographical and non-fiction works.

Elsie was born shortly before the war began but knew only a life about rations, ducking for cover, and living without… at least in her first few years. While I know a lot about the war and life in the last century, I learned more through these stories. Elsie and her siblings struggled immensely. Imagine daily life without showers, toilets, heat, prepared meals, or other modern conveniences? We think we know what it’s like when we catch a 30-second glimpse on a television spot or hear someone mention it, but to read twenty or thirty pages in each major tale–reliving the experience through Elsie’s words–it’s a whole lot different. I wonder if people today (born in the last 30 years) could survive such a life. I’d definitely struggle, and I’m somewhere between these two generations.

This memoir isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive look at life during the war. It’s more like the authors have shined a spotlight on 8 to 10 specific experiences that as a larger collection offer a taste of the past. It’s also an opportunity to understand where Elsie came from and for her to remember both the good and the bad. What I liked most about the book was Elsie’s focus on turning negative events into something positive or a lesson for the future. The book could’ve easily just told a sad story and let readers wallow in the pain of the past. Instead, it’s an inspirational outlook on how our past sometimes denotes who we are capable of becoming. Elsie seems like a wonderful woman, particularly seeing the way she was raised and how special her mother was.

I’m really glad I had the opportunity to read this one. Not only did I feel several heartwarming emotions, but I also saw the wonderful relationship between the two authors. Having read other books by Robbie before, I can see where she gets her talent at weaving together descriptions, characters, and personal experiences. This is the kind of story to share with your older relatives who might remember going through some of these moments in their own lives. It’s also good to show those who are so far removed from it what the past was really like. Kudos to both authors. Seeing the “Nethergate” reference in this book makes me even more excited for Robbie’s upcoming fall YA release – I wonder how they will connect?

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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34 comments

  1. I enjoy anything set in WWII. That’s when my parents were young marrieds and I often think of the stories of danger, separation, longing, and humor they told me as a child about their lives. As young adults, they were pen pals. Mother had found his name on the back of a movie magazine where she lived just outside of Los Angeles. The article asked young women as part of their war effort to “write to our lonely boys overseas.” Daddy was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, and when he was sent to SanDiego to be deployed to the Philippines to fight, he hitched hiked up to LA, met mother, before he shipped out, they eloped, and the rest is history. I was a war baby, born in the San Diego Naval Hospital when he returned from the fighting in 1944.

    Liked by 1 person

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