Radio Readers BookByte: Larger than Life

Oct 4, 2017

The Diary of Anne Frank describes a family fed with food scraps, with peels and leftover or spoiled food made into soups both to hide the extra consumption and to conserve the value of the food.

Hi, Radio Readers – I’m Melany Wilks talking to you from my home in Colby, KS.

The book, “Five Quarters of Orange,” by Joanne Harris brought many different emotions and thoughts to me as I read it.  As the author talked about Les Laveuses being in a small town in France, she led us to understand that the Dartigen family and community may not have suffered such oppression as those in a city.  She shares the crop failures and natural disasters that came along with the invasion of an occupying force.  These events worked together to create circumstances that encourage Boise, Cassis and Reinette to deal with the enemy soldiers.  The book shares intrigue and caring between the three youth and a particular soldier.  It is a circumstance that will keep you reading!

The topic of food is larger than life.  The real issue for the family is that of survival.  While we think of tanks, bombs, and bullets as the danger imposed upon a population, there is a greater danger for men, women, children and elderly who try to live through the war. It is using food as a weapon.

As a youth, I read the “Diary of Anne Frank,” by Frances Goodrich. She talks about being hidden in a secret place in the building her family and other Jews were hiding in.  The owners of the home collected food scraps for them.  They had to take the peelings and leftover food and use it so that it did not create more garbage.  It describes making soup out of peeling from spoiled potatoes, carrots or onion scraps.  Ever since I read that book, I will peel carrots or potatoes and think about what I would do if I we ever had to face that situation.  It makes me extremely thankful for all the abundance we do have!

I am an avid reader of WWII non-fiction and historical fiction. The most recent item I read was the newly published book, "Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill," by Sonia Purnell. Within the pages of the book, she describes what the war rations were for an average family in WWII in England.  Could you live with having no farm land or other means of obtaining food? There are many good books that describe the inhuman circumstance during World War II. This one is another one being described from a relative of the author. No character in the book gets off easy.  It is a thought provoking piece.

This German ration card reminds readers about the difficulties of navigating the "normal" tasks of daily life during war and during occupation.