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Prunes for Breakfast Paperback – January 21, 2016
Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite
Prunes for Breakfast: One Man's War Based on a True Story is a memoir by John Searancke. This memoir gives readers a heartfelt glimpse into the life of the author's father, Eddie Searancke, during the war years of 1940-1945. Eddie had led a leisurely life while working in his father's construction company, but that changed after joining the army. Although he was not an officer, that did not stop Eddie from becoming one by unconventional standards. He assumed the war would be short-lived with acceptable amounts of casualties, but nothing prepared Eddie for the horrors that he experienced, especially after the Germans captured him. Despite the hardships, Eddie managed to keep his wry wits about him while writing letters to his indulged bride, Elizabeth, and his father.
John Searancke did not know his father very well and often heard how the war had changed him. It was only after Eddie died that he began to connect with him through a packet of letters that Eddie had written to his wife. These expressive letters, which are included in the memoir, give insight into Eddie's daily thoughts and activities while enlisted. Food and basic items were scarce, yet it surprised me to see how Eddie procured them for his family, and how he managed to conduct family business during the war. John Searancke's writing captures his sentiments as well as his father's experiences very nicely. Prunes for Breakfast: One Man's War Based on a True Story is a poignant military memoir that I highly recommend reading.
About the Author
John Searancke is restaurant reviewer for the Canary Islands newspaper Island Connections. He also provides independent book reviews for an English publishing house. Born in 1943 he lived his early life in Ashby-de la-Zouch. Later commissioned into the Territorial Army, he has been variously a hotel and restaurant owner, director and chairman of a marketing consortium, and latterly a partner in a commercial legal services company. He now lives with his wife Sally in northern Tenerife. This is his second book; Dog Days In The Fortunate Islands (Matador, 2014) was his first.
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various courses and eventually qualifies for officer candidate training. As a junior officer he is able to have his auto on base and also his golf clubs which prove an excellent way to make friends and pass the time between his weekend leaves to visit his wife. Life in the army becomes somewhat monotonous until his Unit partakes in the D Day invasion of France and the reality and shock of warfare against the Germans. Quite to their despair his unit is overrun and he is taken prisoner of war. The discomfort, illnesses and hunger become his daily life. Truthful and well .written
A quality narration. It brings life to the story without getting in the way.
What did you like best about this story?
A soldier's love for family, country, and his comrades.
Which character – as performed by Nicholas C Jermyn – was your favorite?
The story is about Edward's experience as told by Edward, and he is a very likable and admirable person.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I would never listen through an entire book at once but I always looked forward to my next opportunity to start it up again.
Any additional comments?
I thoroughly enjoyed the story and give it my highest recommendation.
Life in the army is easy at first as Eddie trains and rises through the ranks from private to officer. He's allowed weekend rendezvous with his wife and even has his golf clubs and a fancy auto on base for short excursions. But by the time John's unit is called upon to join Allied Forces and bring an end to Hitler's dream of Nazi domination (in the largest air, land, and sea operation on D-Day, June 6, 1944) Eddie's life changes to one of anguish, hunger, and illness. When taken prisoner of war, John keeps his stiff upper 'British' lip. He continues to write letters home but glosses over his his dire situation.
How fortunate for the author, to be able to piece together this insightful and intimate story of his father's war years.
I took my time reading this book and I will visit it again. As the story progressed, I felt a certain sadness, not quite despair, for the young couple Elisabeth and Eddie's situation, because to me, they mirrored the plight of thousands of other young couples whose lives were so brutally interrupted by war and its ravages. Their love survived despite their forced separation and Eddie's capture. Yet despite these circumstances, they set the bars for loyalty to one's marriage mate - despite all the odds that were stacked against them - high, something which seems to be less important in our modern days. So to me personally, this is what I would like to take away from this wonderful memoir - remembering the Searanckes for what they stood for and leaving me with a smile on my face.
So, if you want a quick read with action on every page, this memoir is not for you. However, if you enjoy reading about life, it's ups and downs, the resilience of the human spirit and real people with grit, then you'll enjoy reading this memoir, sitting on a favourite chair and having a brew!