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on October 6, 2011
Ruby was a woman trapped in fading Victorian morals, religion and outdated marriage customs. Surrounded by people, she had absolutely no one she could share her thoughts and emotions with. I realize how much freedom today's women have. I can't imagine having to ask my husband for money to buy underwear! And then having him complain at the cost. Her descriptions of the horrors of war and the daily bombings brings tears to my eyes.

This is a must read for anyone interested in the development of women's rights or history buffs. Ruby's descriptions of her life during the war are chilling. I look forward to reading the next installment.
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on August 19, 2012
Let's see, she hates:

All men (except her father)
Religion
Every woman she actually meets
Wuthering Heights
The Brontes in general
Her cleaning lady
Her in laws
Son's girlfriend

She likes:
Bayonne, NJ
The weather
Mary Baker Eddy

She was one of those people who are never shut up. She carries on about how she hated Wuthering Heights (the movie) then complains that her husband doesn't take her to the movies often enough. Well maybe he doesn't want to listen to her complain. And oh my, does she complain about everything, constantly.

At one point she complains that no one but her hated in-laws ever comes to visit. She blames her husband for this, but really, take it from me--it's her

I gave up on her in early 1940, so she may change, but I really doubt it.

If you want to wallow in hatred (for the most mundane things) read this, otherwise skip it, not worth the effort
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on August 21, 2011
She was trapped between Hitler's bombs, a husband's indifference, religious conflict, seven brilliant sons, and no way to express her feelings. She poured it all out into a diary that is one of the very best reads of the 20th century.
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on July 5, 2012
I've read all of Ruby's diaries and loved them. Not only were they engaging and heartfelt, they provided insights into what it was like to live through such a horrendous war and what life was like for women in those days.
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on November 3, 2012
This is a fascinating book. My mind cannot conceive of being under constant bombardment from Nazi war planes. Often there were six or more raids in a twenty-four hour period, and sometimes the alert would begin in the afternoon and last until 5:00 the next morning. There were NO nights of uninterrupted sleep for years!
This sort of nerve-wracking strain had to influence "Ruby's" outlook on everything in her life. Her religious fanatic husband, her two sons being in the British military (one thought lost in action and then in a POW camp)- how the woman was able to retain her sanity is remarkable in itself.
Is it any wonder that Ruby was bitter? Her husband was hyper-critical and totally without regard to her needs. Because of this, Ruby took out her frustrations with the war, with her marriage, with her neighbors on men in general, hating them for the war and all its deprivations. Ruby was a well-read (she remarks that her home contains "1000" books) and well educated woman. Her writing is honest and full of vigor. Although I am a male I concur with her opinion that the world would be better managed if the job was left to women. (Witness Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meier.) Ruby was, unfortunately, born ahead of her time. It is a shame that she could not live with the freedom and respect that women of today enjoy. Here is an honest portrayal of a woman's secret frustrations in a world at war.
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on June 22, 2012
As I read this diary I was amazed at Ruby's insight, self-awareness and strength. Her husband's disregard for her feelings and fears during air-raids and dismissal of her intelligence. She was unable to follow her wish to go back to America once her twins joined the RAF. It seems as if she stayed because Ted wanted her to, but I think it was because she couldn't, as a mother, leave her 2 youngest children fighting in Europe. As an American who has lived in New Jersey and near Long Island, I could picture her longing for them. I live in the U.S. but far from there.
I see her belief that men make a mess of the world with their threats of military, weapons and wars without thinking of the consequences. They made decisions for women without their input or advice. This is as true today as it was then and throughout history. Especially in today's political climate in the U.S. where certain men seeing the progress women have made, seek to go back to a time when, like Ruby, we were required to do housework, have babies and stay home, and are trying to legislate that through our bodies.
I have Volumes 2 & 3 on Kindle and will get the first book "Ruby" (wish it were on Kindle, too). I want to know why she married Ted, when she mentioned someone else she was attracted to. Hoping, also that Vol.4 is published soon. I've read so much on WWII, but none of them brought me so close to the blitz and feelings of the women in the situation. It's so personal and compelling.
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on August 8, 2012
While I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the detail of life during this period and the emotions of a woman struggling not only with the strifes of a soulless marriage -- and the strafes of enemy fire! -- I couldn't keep from wishing there was a narrative thread that lead me more through a story. The diary concept sadly left me "unanticipatory" and finally I put the book down without finishing it because I lost interest.
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on September 23, 2011
"Friday, September 1
War started today. After another week of lies and duplicity, Hitler launched into actual warfare early this morning. At five thirty this morning he announced the enclosure of Danzig in the Reich, and at five forty five he bombed his first Polish town . . .

The BBC has just announced that King George held a Privy Council this noon, and has signed papers completing the mobilization of our Army, Navy, and Air Forces. Further news to be broadcast at four p.m."

So begins diary of Ruby Side Thompson, a middle-aged Londoner in a highly unsatisfying marriage who lived through the Blitz and who recorded with ink and pen whatever was utmost on her mind. Generally, her writing served as therapy for her bad marriage - and she chronicles her husband's faulty behavior in great detail -- but when cataclysmic world events crash into her consciousness, they gain top priority and she writes fluidly as they unfold before her. Such writing blasts history out of the realm of dry, dusty names and dates and nearly places the reader in the midst of events as they happened, very heady stuff for history buffs. Her reaction to the Blitz is fascinating and reminded me very much of the personal testimony found within the pages of Osprey's recent pictorial title, "The Blitz."

This is very important documentation and will have tremendous appeal to those who have an avid interest in the effect of the war on ordinary Britons.
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on April 24, 2012
I thought I'd be reading a first hand account about WWII, instead I got a womans ranting about a husband she married that didn't live up to her expectations. Instead of taking control of her life, trying to find a way to make her family life better, she decides to sit back and secretly write about people she's come in contact with, unfortunately more than not it's about her husband. The poor man, I'd leave as often as possible too. She never details how she treated him on a face to face basis, just how awful he is. Don't waste your time reading. It's writing from a bitter old woman.
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on September 7, 2011
World War ll London Blitz is peppered with insights about human thought and behavior that kept me turning pages looking for more. I found myself highlighting scores of fascinating thoughts that kept popping out of the pages. This book rates more than 5 stars. It rates a great big "READ ME"
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