Books, University, Writing

Dissertations, memoirs and recommendations.

So, in a few short months I will be knees deep into a 20,000-word dissertation, probably tearing my hair out, drowning in a pool of tears. But before doing that I need to actually plan it. I have an idea, but I need to do a lot of research for it. And this is where I kinda need some help.

My idea is to write a memoir, on behalf of my Grandad who was a POW during World War II. I want to write about what he may have experienced, how he felt – what was going through his mind, how many people did he not see again and how he felt when he came home. When I was a kid, during the school holidays, myself and my brother were always at our grandparents. And I am now sorely regretting letting all the chances to ask my granddad things about the war slip by. There’s so much I don’t know and I doubt I will ever know. It makes me feel gloomy and melancholy that I may never find out the things I truly want to.

However, I almost want to pay homage to him through the piece of writing I am planning. After my Nan died two years ago, my dad and auntie had to clear out the bungalow and sort through all their belongings. Even my dad was shocked to learn that my Grandad had received a letter from King George VI on his return from the War, where he had been a prisoner. It’s things like that made him strong and modest. Most people would have it proudly displayed somewhere, a talking point if you will. But this wasn’t my Grandad. He used to love helping everyone else and going out of his way, never thinking of himself; even when he probably should have done. This is how I want to portray him. A hero. An unsung one. One who deserves plaudits and to be at the centre of things for once.

It’s this period of his life I’m most interested in. When we were growing up I just knew that he hated wasting food after his time as a POW. He never went into detail, but some of the accounts are beyond barbaric, cruel and horrific. Not many of today’s generation would survive what they did – myself included. We are all pathetic, self-indulged and spoilt in our own ways. I doubt many of us could survive the savagery of it all. But I want to put a voice to a memoir on behalf of my Grandad. I want to make him live on not just in memory but on paper too. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are going out with my Nan and Grandad in the school holidays and at the weekends. I just wish I hadn’t taken them for granted. If I could go back in time, I would ask hundreds of questions.

But life is not for regrets. I can try and put it right through extensive research. I need your help. I need recommendations for good memoirs, autobiographies and World War II war-booksaccounts – particularly those who were POW’s. I have googled it and hundreds have come up, but it would be really handy if I could have some recommended as then I can save myself a lot of time!! Thank you in advance – any help would be greatly appreciated!

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