Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Lucky Jack by S. Bavey. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my digital review copy. Do check out the posts by my tour buddies for today, Els at B for Bookreview and Gina at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
There’s also a (US only) giveaway with a chance to win a signed copy of Lucky Jack. Enter via Rafflecopter here.
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- Open to entrants aged 18 or over.
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About the Book
“One of the perils of being a sniper during the First World War was the likelihood of a grenade going off right next to you and burying you alive.”
Meet Jack Rogers. Born in 1894, he once locked eyes with Queen Victoria and was one of the first travellers on London’s ‘Tube’. An early car owner, he had many escapades on his days out to Brighton, including a time when his brakes failed and he had to drive through central London without them!
His skills as an entertainer earned him popularity throughout his life, and kept him out of the deadly mines while a prisoner during the First World War. At the tender age of 103 Jack earned the title of ‘The World’s Oldest Columnist’ as he began dictating his life’s exploits to a reporter from the local newspaper.
Format: Paperback (225 pages) Publisher: josephtailor
Publication date: 19th November 2021 Genre: Memoir
Find Lucky Jack on Goodreads
Link provided for convenience only, not as part of an affiliate programme
In Lucky Jack, the author has used family memories and published anecdotes from her grandfather’s time as ‘The World’s Oldest Columnist’ for his local newspaper to construct a first person account of his life.
In the first section of the book Jack recalls childhood scrapes, mischievous pranks, family holidays and days out, as well as occasions when he was the witness to significant events such as the opening of the London underground. Later he reflects on events such as acquiring his first car, his marriage and the birth of his son. The threads that run through Jack’s life are family, hard work and a sense of fun.
However I’m sure I won’t be alone in finding the sections of the book in which he recalls his experiences during the First World War to be the most powerful. (I believe an expanded version could have made a book in itself.) Like many of the other young men who signed up, he had no idea what was awaiting him in France. ‘Waiting to go over the top was a terrible, gut-wrenching feeling.’ Somehow he survives being buried by debris from an explosion and endures unimaginably harsh treatment during his time as a prisoner-of-war. ‘The hunger and weakness we experienced as prisoners is like nothing else I have ever had to endure in all of my long life.’ He describes some terrible experiences but with a remarkable degree of equanimity, perhaps due to the passage of time or because of his positive approach to life. Nevertheless it’s clear the memories of those events, and of the comrades who didn’t make it back, stayed with him forever.
Lucky Jack is a remarkable account of a long life well-lived. Although Jack describes himself as having been ‘blessed with good luck’, I’d say that it’s his fortitude, determination and cheeky sense of humour that shines through. You can view many photographs of Jack and his family, including those in the book, on the author’s website.
In three words: Fascinating, honest, uplifting
About the Author
Sue Bavey is an English mum of two living in Massachussetts since 2003 with her husband, kids, a cat named Midnight, a bunny named Nutmeg, a leopard gecko named Ziggy Stardust and occasional frogs and salamanders. Lucky Jack is her grandfather, Henry John Rogers’ biography.