Monday, February 12, 2007

The Making of Me - Robert Westall

The Making of Me is Robert Westall's posthumous autobiography. Westall was the author of 50 acclaimed children's books, including such 20th century classics as The Machine-Gunners (Review) , The Kingdom by the Sea, The Scarecrows and Blitzcat Review. He was awarded the Carnegie Medal twice and also received the Guardian Award and the Smarties Prize. Westall grew up on Tyneside, which is the setting of many of his books, and when the Second World War broke out he was 10. He enjoyed it, finding the war exciting, even though Tyneside was heavily bombed and the young Bob had to live through the terror of the air raids. His upbringing and family life during the 1930s and 1940s is vividly brought to life in his autobiographical writings: the influences of his surroundings, the character and expectations of his parents and grandparents, the brutality of school life and what it meant in his peer group to be both short-sighted and fat - are all influences that were to resurface later in his writings, some of them, like Futuretrack 5, are savage indictments of social class. The Making of Me is a fascinating account of the early life of an important and influential children's writer of the 20th century, and provides a unique insight into his writing.

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