I love nonfiction and history, so I jumped at the chance to review this upcoming memoir.
A compelling memoir of post-war Britain. Jackie Skingley grew up with limited career choices but joining the Women’s Royal Army Corps offered her a different life, living and working in a military world, against the backdrop of the Cold War. Packed full of stories reflecting the changing sexual attitudes prior to the arrival of the pill and the sexual revolution of the mid 60s, Skingley’s memoir denotes a shift in the political and social fabric of the era. Follow her relationships with the men in her life from finding her first true love, which through a cruel act of fate was denied her, to embarking on a path of recovery.
While the title is a little odd, it refers to the footwear of her young adult life; high heels when a civilian or on leave and “beetle crushers” black heavy shoes when on duty. Jackie’s memoir takes us from her earliest memory through her service with the Women’s Royal Army Corps.
Her writing style is relaxed and easygoing, I honestly felt as if Jackie were in the same room, telling me stories from her Army days. The depth of emotion when discussing her relationships with her family and beaus is wide-ranging. There is Jackie’s struggles against the expected roles of women in her time and the trials of finding love. Her fears and losses are heartrending and all too human, as is the slow recovery from grief.
She is frank when talking about sexual harassment and the attitudes of the 1950s-60s about affairs, premarital sex, and homosexuality. There are small asides in many of the chapters relating historical anecdotes or mentioning at what time in the future things changed.
Overall, I loved this book. My only real complaint is that the book ends with her military service in 1963. Write more of your following adventures, Jackie!
- Title: High Heels & Beetle Crushers: The Life, Losses and Loves of an Officer and Lady
- Author: Jackie Skingley
- Publisher: Chronos Books
- Released: January 1st, 2020
- Language: English
- Format: Ebook
- Pages: 328 pages
High Heels & Beetle Crushers: The Life, Losses and Loves of an Officer and Lady will be available on Amazon and bookstores on January 1st, 2020. If you click the above link, you can preorder the book for either Kindle ($10.69 USD) or Hardcover ($29.95 USD).
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