Book Review: Nella Last in the 1950’s

The third volume of Nella’s personal diaries set in post WWII Britain continues her insightful observations of everyday life at the dawn of the nuclear age. With the end of the war, shipyards were scaling back production and Nella’s husband Will was forced into retirement, a decision that left him depressed and embittered. Nella maintains contacts with her friends of former coworkers from the Women’s Volunteer Service but is primarily concerned with the more immediate issues of hearth and home. Her marriage has grown so restrictive Nella cannot contemplate going off on an overnight trip with friends without suffering repercussions and considering her earlier free spirited nature, this seems tragic.

Nella’s diaries provide an intimate first hand account of daily life through the tumultuous years before, during and after WWII. They tell of heartbreaks and tiny triumphs while displaying gentle wisdom and self-depreciating wit. This is not a fast, plot driven story but rather a series of insightful observations of the ordinary daily activities that make a life.


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