Lily and Me, by Frederick Rodgers (2005)
In some ways, Lily and Me stands as a precursor of life yet to come in Print of Demand (POD) publishing.
This homespun memoir honors stories of the author's family even as it provide a striking first-person account of life in the British Isles during and after the war years.
Any of us would benefit from writing and publishing a book to honor our parents after they die. For myself, my websites and the Biblical Chronicle, "There," have provided great solace even as they have preserved Mom and Dad's name for the future. In the past, only the very rich could afford such largesse. But now, through publishers like Lulu.com, Booksurge, and others, this can be achieved by anyone who really wants to write a POD book. More power to the writer (and less power for the publisher. Does this remind you of anything? Napster?)
Lily and Me is a case in point, for it provides raw materials for historians, and it is straight from the heart (not filtered by the whims of a newspaper columnist or news writer).
For example, the author's grandfather was happy to have work in the shipyards of Belfast when they were assembling the Titanic. His dad had to woo his mom as World War I began, and while they both worked in the same mill (he as an oiler, she as a carder). During this time his dad prepared to enter active duty in the British Army.
Throughout the book we are treated to a detailed chronology painstakingly assembled by the author, giving us a glimpse of the "grim world" which existed in Europe during and between the world wars. Sadly, we learn that the author's mother, who appears so vividly through the early pages of the work, died when he was but 11 months old. And the family was so poor they could only afford a vase of flowers to mark her grave until 20 years after her death. Even from that point, as the sisters take over running the house, our writer is still too young to speak.
As the story continues, the reader sees the world through the accuracy of a child's eyes, and there is no way to avoid feeling sympathy for a family that has been forced to endure the difficulties of poverty and war. This is literary cinema verite in raw and compelling form, and well worth the read.