The Family from One End Street

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Read 02/01/2016-03/01/2016

Rating: 5 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room Winter Scavenger Hunt Challenge

The Family From One End Street is a British children’s classic, and a book I read and re-read as a child, repeatedly borrowing it from the library. Eve Garnett did a brave thing for the time in taking the things she saw of the lives of poor children living in London in the 1920s and writing a children’s book that acknowledged that poverty but showed that working class parents loved and protected their children as much as middle class parents, and that children have the same love of adventure no matter where they sit in the social structure. Many publishers turned the manuscript down, but eventually it was published and Garnett beat Tolkien’s The Hobbit to win the Carnegie Medal.

The Ruggles family live a happy hectic life, and the stories are a window onto working class lives in the early 20th century based on the things Eve Garnett saw when developing illustrations for a book on children in London. From my childhood reading of the book, I remember loving the adventures the Ruggles children got up to, particularly Jim and John and the Gang of the Black Hand. As an adult, re-reading the book, I appreciate the stability their parents try to bring them and the struggles they have financially. I also appreciate how well written the book is, and found it as absorbing as many of the novels I have read as an adult.

I’m pleased that the book is as good as I remember, and that my adult self discovered that the writing is of a quality that kept me engaged and immersed in the story, beyond the hold my childhood memories could be expected to wield!

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