As Green as Grass

As Green as Grass After Waving Goodbye To The Rocks, Cliffs And Sands Of The North Cornish Coast, Emma Smith Born Elspeth Hallsmith And Her Family Are Uprooted To The Devonshire Village Of Crapstone, On The Outskirts Of Dartmoor Emma S Father, A Decorated Hero Of The First World War, Has Suffered A Terrible Breakdown And In Between Weekly Visits To The Hospital And Sibling Rivalries With Her Very Pretty Elder Sister Pam Emma Has To Get Used To A Very New Kind Of Family LifeWhen The Second World War Breaks Out In , Emma Is Training As A Secretary The Gas Masks They Are Issued With Make People Wearing Them Look Inhuman, Like Creatures In A Nightmare Her Budding Philosopher Brother, Jim, Joins Up With The RAF And Rebellious Pam Enlists With The Women S Branch Unable To Believe She Is Making Any Difference To The War Effort And Still Trying To Understand Why German Fascism Has Its Own Name, Nazism Emma Chooses Instead To Work On The Canal Boats, Where She Must Learn To Deal With Hard Manual Labour, A Sinking Boat And Buckets Instead Of ToiletsWhen The War Finally Ends Emma S Newfound Adventurous Spirit Takes Her All Over The World To Literary London Where She Meets Laurie Lee And Begins To Forge Her Own Writing Career To India To Film A Love Story During The Darjeeling Tea Harvest To The Coast Of France To Work In A Boarding House Where She Falls Helplessly In Love With A Boy And To Paris Where She Is Photographed By Robert Doisneau And Sees A Then Unknown Edith Piaf On StageRelating Her Experiences Before, During And After The Second World War, As Green As Grass Is A Remarkable Coming Of Age Memoir Endlessly Engaging And Capturing English Life In All Its Charm, It Tells The Story Of An Unusual Young Woman Maturing Against A Backdrop Of Enormous Social Change And A Life Shaped By Fortuitous Opportunity

See this thread for information.EMMA SMITH was born in Cornwall in 1923 and was privately educated In 1939 she took her first job in the Records Department of the War Office before volunteering for work on the canals this gave her the material for Maidens Trip 1948 , which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize She spent the winter of 1946 7 with a documentary film unit in India and then lived in Paris and wrote The Far Cry 1949 , awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for the best novel of the year in English In 1951 Emma Smith married and had two children After her husband s death in 1957 she went to live in rural Wales she then published very successful children s books, short stories one of which was runner up in the 1951 Observer short story competition that launched the winner, Muriel Spark, on her career and, in 1978, her novel The Opportunity of a Lifetime Since 1980 she has lived in Putney in south west London.Note Information taken from Persephone Press site

❴BOOKS❵ ✭ As Green as Grass  Author Emma Smith –
  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • As Green as Grass
  • Emma Smith
  • English
  • 05 February 2019
  • 9781408835616

10 thoughts on “As Green as Grass

  1. says:

    I liked this second volume of autobiography by Emma Smith far than the first one Partly it s because her life, naturally enough, widened and grew interesting as she grew up The second world war also shapes the narrative in a way that makes the book feel a bit meaningful view spoiler I was also glad that pretty early on her difficult father mercifully ceases to be in the picture, hide spoiler

  2. says:

    I had read two of Emma Smith s books one written for adults The Far Cry and the other for children No Way of Telling prior to picking up one of her memoirs Whilst As Green As Grass Growing Up Before, During and After the Second World War 2013 is not chronologically the first of her autobiographical works, it highly interested me, and was also available in my local library.Elspeth Hallsmith, as Emma Smith was born, moves with her family from Newquay in Cornwall to a Devonshire village named Crapstone Soon afterwards, her father suffers a nervous breakdown, and the family are left to deal with the far reaching consequences There is also the outbreak of the Second World War to contend with, and Smith s crisis that she has no idea how to help the war effort Her elder sister joins the WAAF, and her brother enlists with the RAF after a period of flirting with pacifism At this point, Smith is only sixteen years old She goes to secretarial college, which equips her for a job with MI5 , but which she finds stuffy and dull She yearns for fresh air and joins the crew of a canal boat carrying much needed cargoes on Britain s waterways After the war ends, and her freedom is returned to her, Smith travels to India, moves to Chelsea in London, falls in and out of love, and writes, of course.Smith has used a structure of short vignettes, which follow particular episodes in her life for instance, travelling to London to be a bridesmaid making a best friend at school horseriding playing sports dancing classes being left behind when her sister grows up and begins to study at art college her father s bad temper and fits of rage and the longing which she often has to be alone When her family move to Devon, Smith describes her delight at being able to attend a proper school with her sister, which comes with a uniform requirement And the fictitious girls in such Angela Brazil novels as I succeeded in borrowing from Boots Lending Library they too wore gymslips on the illustrations I pored over, and now I shall be able to feel I am the same as those heroines Of her father s breakdown, she reflects Almost the worst part of the anguish is the sense of there being nobody I can share it with I don t know how much the Twins are troubled, or indeed if they are troubled at all, by the blight that has fallen on our family I don t know what either of them is thinking Pam has become uncommunicative, barely exchanging a sentence with me Jim has deserted to the group of his cheerful friends and Harvey Harvey is only six I put my arms around him, hugging him tightly for comfort my comfort, not his He wriggles free In Smith s fiction, I have been struck by her narrative voice, and I imagined that I would be here too Whilst some of her writing is certainly lovely, and sometimes revealing, other parts are comparatively simplistic There was no real consistency here I did feel at times as though Smith was holding back somewhat There was a sense of unexpected detachment in As Green As Grass, and it did not always feel as though there was sufficient explanation as to the many characters which flit in and out of its pages.I also found it a little strange that Smith had largely employed the present tense with which to set out her memories Whilst As Green As Grass is certainly readable, and Smith s voice is warm and engaging, I must admit that I was a little put off by the use of present tense, which made the whole seem imagined and exaggerated rather than truthful Had Smith approached this memoir from the perspective of herself as an adult looking back, I m almost certain that I would have enjoyed it .Smith s work is highly praised, but does not appear to be widely read, which is a real shame Whilst there were elements of As Green As Grass that I wasn t overly keen on, I found it interesting overall However, I must say that As Green As Grass was not quite the book which I had hoped it would be, and I was made to feel a little uncomfortable by some of the antiquated and racist language which she uses native born Indians , for example Whilst As Green As Grass is by no means amongst the best war memoirs which I have read, I did enjoy the recollections of Smith s childhood and teenage years The parts on the canal boat, which I expected to really enjoy and get a lot out of, were quite repetitive To date, I have enjoyed her fiction , but I m still relatively keen to pick up another of her memoirs I am particularly intrigued by her recollections of her Cornish childhood in Great Western Beach.

  3. says:

    I am so grateful to someone unbeknowst the University of Iowa library for purchasing this book when I saw the reviews in the English press I thought it was a book I might like to try, but scarcely 18 9 postage for a memoir by someone I d never heard of And then I found a copy on our new acquisitions shelf I ve been utterly and totally bowled over by Emma Smith s account of her teens 20s in pre war, war time post war England She displays maturity ingenuousness in a manner that in the old days seemed typical of English girls she establishes an intimacy with the reader so you feel you know her The only negative thing I can say about this book is that I so regret that time fate kept me the author from meeting in real life If I d encountered her when I was in my 20s she in her 40s maybe we could have been life long friends But thank you Emma for letting me get to know you so belatedly through this book It is a treasure.

  4. says:

    Very good book Easy read, clear witty charm throughout, you get a very good insight into Emma s character and personality I love how you grow up with her, a very unique genuine storyline, would recommend worth a read

  5. says:

    A strong 3, almost a 4 Lovely grammar I wish she d spent longer on the interesting aspects of her story e.g., her father s madness.

  6. says:

    I love this author s earlier memoir, THE GREAT WESTERN BEACH, and I found this one just as engaging She has a sure voice and a wonderful recall of the time during before and after World War II.

  7. says:

    It was OK as usual with posh people, it doesn t really tell you enough to be interesting.

  8. says:

    3.5 starsI have read both Emma Smith s autobiographical books in order beginning with The Great Western Beach and now As Green as Grass and am so pleased it worked out that way not always possible when borrowing from a public library It was very enjoyable continuing her life story and that of her family s, especially as both settings of Cornwall and Devon are familiar to me Her father s difficulties and how they affected the whole family was of course sad to read about, and though she doesn t mask what ultimately shockingly occurred, she also doesn t dwell too much on this aspect on reflection, this has made me wonder whether his difficulties had of an impact on her than she cared to admit in this autobiography her first boyfriend was much older and established than her a substitute father figure In any case, she certainly seems surprisingly full of resolve at times, becoming increasingly so as she grows up and sets out independently to achieve her goals.The aspect that for me was most touching and enjoyable to read about in both books was her analysis and love for her mother I am so pleased she had this strong, capable, optimistic person in her life It was even inspiring to me as a mother to see how the Mrs.Hallsmith Glue kept the family going and helped them through their difficulties So when Emma Smith born Elspeth Hallsmith no longer continued this as a major theme during the second half of As Green as Grass, I felt the loss keenly Perhaps it was simply because she had then started working away from home and was growing increasingly independent Or perhaps it was because she moved away in heart from the upbringing and values she d had, hinted at in a few phrases occasionally I have been left pondering which of the two it may have been, if either at all but I certainly experienced loss at this large exclusion.The section on her time working canal boats during the war was interesting and not as long as I d feared as I m still to read Maidens Trip I admire the effort she put in doing work which must have been exhausting and very cold during winter, and completely different to anything she d known It was after this time in her life that the book s pace picked up as she covered all the jobs and places she did and went to this ended up making it less enjoyable for me to read, and also slightly dismaying As green as grass seemed so true regarding the people she began to mix with, and I was so hoping she would make the right choices and come out all right Emma Smith writes pleasantly, and succinctly, with depth and great insight I am very much looking forward to Maidens Trip.

  9. says:

    Two thirds of this was an absolute delight, Emma Smith s plucky optimistic teenage voice is a bit like reading a real life Autumn TermMarlow The first person present tense did start to grate however, and given that this wasn t actually written by a guileless ingenue but rather by a 90yo looking back, the condescending depictions of Limehouse bargemen and native born Indians is a bit uncomfortable.

  10. says:

    Great writing, rattles along but could have been lots longer, she s led a fascinating life There were a couple of factual errors which must have been editing mistakes so maybe it was overzealously edited sectioned which is our contemporary term rather than certified which was used till pretty recently for being forcibly taken into mental health institution And it is like a grandparent giving an age appropriate account to a young child, there are many unanswered questions for the reader Very authentic voice and a fun read, I just didn t get any sense of emotional involvement.

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