Someone gave this little book to my Mum at Christmas, and the moment she saw the cover photo, she exclaimed "That's me!".
Well, it is not my Mum, and she was prettier, with her blonde curls and a doll-like face, but she had the exact same dress as the girl in the photo.
The author Ingeborg Santor - whose picture it is - is about the same age as my mother. In the book, she shares her childhood memories, to most of which my mother can relate very well. Those were the years just after the war. My mother was born in 1944, a year before the war ended. Like the author, her childhood was characterised by lack of money, the need for making do with what was available, and a lot of things adults did and said that did not make much sense to children.
For the little girl in the book, finding dead baby birds that have fallen out of their nest in a storm is as dramatic as losing a beloved person. What the neighbour's son, a few years her senior, says has the same authority as what her parents or a teacher at school tell her.
Getting enough to eat is just as important as having the "right" kind of slate for school.
I enjoyed this book very much and just wish it would have been longer. As my parents are of that generation, and have told me a lot about their childhood, I find it very interesting to read anything about this period. It was a very different time from when I was the same age as the little girl in the books - my childhood took place in the 1970s, and yet again, that was a very different time from now.
Still, a lot of the experiences that are part of our childhood, the way we approach things and people, what we understand and what not, is similar.
As far as I know, "Frühe Zimmer, kleine Jahre" has only been published in German. If you are able to read German, you could give it a go. Chapters are brief and the language is simple enough.
The author's website is here.