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Doreen af Barbara Noble

Doreen (original 1946; udgave 2005)

af Barbara Noble

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1015205,508 (4.4)18
Describes the mind of a child torn between her mother, whom she leaves behind in London, and the couple who take her in.
Forfattere:Barbara Noble
Info:Persephone Books (2005), Paperback, 256 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Nøgleord:persephone, fiction

Detaljer om værket

Doreen af Barbara Noble (1946)

  1. 10
    Saplings af Noel Streatfeild (christiguc)
  2. 00
    The Very Thought of You af Rosie Alison (betsytacy)
    betsytacy: Two different takes on the experience of evacuee children during World War II.

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» Se også 18 omtaler

Viser 5 af 5
Lovely wartime tale of Doreen, daughter of a London cleaning lady. With the Blitz ongoing, Mrs Rawlings accepts the offer of having her 9 year old evacuated to the country.
This is a whole new existence, with a well to do and devoted childless couple. The little girl comes to appreciate her lovely new life.....but her mother, back in the city, feels resentful. IS it doing Doreen a kindness to expose her to a "better" world that she will have to leave? Or should she be left to enjoy every "extra" that comes her way? Are the adults thinking of doreen or themselves?
There are no clear answers...and even Doreen comes to realise that. ( )
  starbox | Feb 17, 2021 |

Set during the Blitz, Noble’s quiet but absorbing novel focuses on a cleaning woman’s decision to finally evacuate Doreen— the centre of her existence: her nine-year-old daughter—to the countryside. The novel opens after a particularly bad enemy attack leaves Mrs. Rawlings weeping at work. She regrets that she’s selfishly kept the girl at home in their heavily bombed-out working-class section of London when so many others wisely sent their children away to safety. Her daughter’s life has been put in danger as a result. Coming into work early that morning and finding the usually dour Mrs. Rawlings in a state of distress, the young secretary, Helen Osborne, offers a solution: Her childless brother and sister-in-law, Geoffrey and Francie Osborne, may well be willing to take the girl in. Helen contacts them, soon learning that the once-orphaned Francie is particularly eager to have the child for the duration of the war. Her lawyer husband agrees, as it’s very much his desire to see Francie happy.

The novel follows Doreen’s move and adjustment to rural life, which offers her beauty, safety, material comfort, and love. Her new home also provides her with the father figure she’s never had. Doreen has been led to believe that her real father is dead Surprising events will reveal that he is very much alive, even if dysfunctionally so. The backstory of Doreen’s parents’ marriage and its dissolution are also sketched in for the reader.

When Mrs. Rawlings arrives in the country to spend Christmas with Doreen and the Osbornes, she recognizes that the arrangement may be spoiling the girl for the working class life she was born to. More than that: it may also be unraveling the tight bond between mother and daughter. She must take decisive action.

Noble’s novel considers the psychological impact of evacuation on a young girl, her birth parent(s), and the couple who host her. The book also explores the deep class divide that characterized the period. For example, before Mrs. Rawlings makes her Christmas journey to the Osborne home, Geoffrey and Francie earnestly discuss where the woman should take her meals: with them in the dining room or with the cook in the kitchen.

This is an accessible, sensitively written domestic novel, which I very much enjoyed reading. ( )
  fountainoverflows | Jun 9, 2020 |
Doreen is set during WWII and focuses on an issue that many parents living in cities at the time faced. Mrs. Rawlings is a cleaner in a London office who worries about what to do with her nine-year-old daughter during the Blitz. Through Helen Osbourne, a secretary at the office, Mrs. Rawlings finds a place for Doreen at home of Helen’s brother Geoffrey, a solicitor, and his wife, Francie. The Osbournes are a kind, loving couple, and Mrs. Osbourne begins to see a little bit of herself in Doreen. The relationship between Doreen and the Osbournes grows—maybe too much so, from the point of view of the eminently sensible Helen Osbourne.

Barbara Noble writes with an insightful eye. She demonstrates without explicitly saying so the dilemma that many parents of the time faced: should London parents keep their children with them, and possibly put them at greater risk; or send them out to the countryside to safety, where they might be living with strangers? Added on top of this is the all-too-timely reappearance of Doreen’s father, who has his own ideas about what should be done with the child.

The novel is told from the viewpoint of the girl; but though the reader isn’t explicitly told the details, we can still read between the lines infer the truth (at the beginning of the novel, for example, Doreen’s father is euphemistically referred to as “dead”). The book is unintentionally a suspense novel, too; there’s the scene in London in the Underground and at the Rawlings’ home in Dakers Place which is particularly gripping.

Doreen was extremely lucky about the couple she stayed with; many children who were in a similar predicament were not so lucky. Written just after the war years, this novel must have been a timely and striking commentary about the plight of the thousands of children who had to live away from home during the war. ( )
1 stem Kasthu | Jul 4, 2012 |
Doreen by Barbara Noble is a poignant piece, written in clear simple prose, about belonging, the responsibilities of love, and growing up. Written shortly after the end of the Second World War in the 1940s, the book tells the story of Doreen, a London child of 9, who is sent to live with a family in the country during the bomb raids in London.

Doreen is taken from the cold, working world of her mother where she was sure of her role in life to a privileged country house where she has her own room, learns to laugh, and is invited to sit at the table with those out of her class. But since the war will not last forever—and Doreen will return home to her original world and social class—the adults begin to disagree about what is the proper way to treat her: Is her experience spoiling her for her future or is it better to experience this freedom for once even if it most likely won’t last? Will loving other adults lessen her love for her mother? By taking steps to prevent losing Doreen to the bombs, is her mother, Mrs. Rawlings, losing Doreen to the childless Osbornes?

Everyone wants to do what’s right by Doreen. As Mrs. Osborne remarks at one point--"I only want to make her happy, what’s wrong with that?" The painful realization the adults come to face is that harm can come through the best of intentions. And while they begin to understand that lesson, Doreen takes her first step out of the protection of childhood when she realizes that "growing up was finding out that grown-ups suffered." ( )
5 stem christiguc | Aug 4, 2009 |
Such a lovely book. My only criticism is that it is too short - I wanted more. Doreen is a such sweet little child, and who couldn't identify with a child thrust into an entirely new sort of world, and feel the confusion that comes with it. The Osbornes are of an entirely different class, their world one of quiet village life and an awe inspiring trip to an Oxford hotel. Doreen's mother slowly becomes aware that this is a world she can't compete with. ( )
1 stem Heaven-Ali | May 13, 2007 |
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On her way to the office that morning, walking through streets crusted with broken glass, on legs uncomfortably swollen from a night spent dozing in a deck-chair, Mrs. Rawlings decided she would have to do it; she would have to send Doreen to the country.
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Describes the mind of a child torn between her mother, whom she leaves behind in London, and the couple who take her in.

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