Are you tired after reading about all the hard work people did during the war? I felt physically exhausted after reading each chapter, even though I didn't actually do anything! The amount of work that the women did was incredible, and doing it so willingly was amazing. These women were definitely special.
One of the first things that stood out to me in this section was how the Red Cross committed to send each prisoner of war a box of comforting items once a week. That must have been an incredible undertaking. I don't even know how to coordinate that kind of effort. Women knitted items and donated money to help send food and supplies. They also collected craft materials and other odds and ends to help POWs occupy their minds during the long days. I was surprised they were allowed to send those kinds of materials—I don't think I had ever heard of that before. If you want to know more, check out this article.
What did you think about the clothes rationing mentioned in this section? I can't imagine how everyone kept all the coupons straight. Can you imagine having to plan for a whole year when contemplating a purchase? Do you think you would be good at mending and making do? I don't think I would be—especially at making do with rationed bath towels. What do you think would be the hardest thing to do without? The Imperial War Museum discusses clothing policies and shows some wardrobe propaganda posters, coupon booklets, and utility outfits.
Did you catch the part that talked about the fact that women tried to use dog fur as wool? I have a hard time imagining socks made of dog fur would be quite the same as socks made of sheep's wool. I'm sure that these women still made great things with the dog's "wool." If making things out of pet hair sounds interesting to you, check out Crafting With Cat Hair. Send me a picture if you make something cool!
I was glad to read that the women did have some fun through music and plays and competitions. I liked reading about their competitions for "funniest potato" or "the most inventive buttonhole." What did you think of their competitions and prizes?
The section about the questionnaires women filled out about their needs for their homes was so telling. The women didn't really want anything special, just knobs and windows that were easy to clean and spaces to dry their clothes when it was wet outside. I think there is some correlation between their simple desires for their homes and their abilities to adapt and persevere through the war. The fact that they wanted for so little shows why they were able to ration and think creatively and contribute to the war effort. What did you think of the answers the women provided in the questionnaires?
Were there any other parts of this last section that particularly stood out to you? Did you appreciate that the author included a chapter that told what happened to the women mentioned after the war? Did you wish you had learned more about the women and less about the things they did?
If you enjoyed Julie Summer's writing style, check out her website. And, if you liked the subject of this book and want to read or watch more things like it, check out this list of similar titles I created. Please let me know if you check out anything on the list.
I hope you liked the book. Next month, we're reading Ready Player One. I hope you'll join us!