Home for the Friendless


The Home for the Friendless: Finding hope, Love, and Family by Betty (Peal) Auchard is a beautifully written tribute to the shaping of one family in times of trouble and hardship. I loved the voice of Betty within the pages; written as a child might think, with overtones of sad, world-weary pathos, and gentle self-deprecating humor. Although I am not of her generation (my parents were born in 1914, my oldest sister (13 years older) was born in 1939,) my upbringing included the lessons about the depression and the importance of family.

The book was charmingly divided into parts that dealt with the different aspects of Betty’s growing years – and part 2 deals specifically with “Life at the Home for the Friendless.” Thus, on page 59, you share with Auchard the unexpected and undesirable placement of herself and her siblings into this children’s home in the winter of 1937. The hardest part was the separation from her sister Patty and brother Bobby. The rules were not onerous, but they were different and confusing. Her mother and grandmother came to visit sometimes, but the upheaval and strain was almost too much to bear. Although “The Home” was not the only children’s facility in which the Peal children lived, it was typical of the times, and made a lasting impression.

Auchard’s parents continually left one another, reunited, and then parted ways again. Although there were no diagnosis’s of mental illness in those early days, it seems that Mrs. Peal was bi-polar, and her mood swings and her tempers created a tension in the family that made the times they were together worrisome. Yet Auchard shows her love of her parents in every page of the book, for although there were problems, family was family.

Clever of-the-time photos are at the front of each section, and the last few pages are dedicated to “Betty’s History Lessons.” These cover all the topics of the time that are mentioned in the book; from 1946 Hit Parade to Wonder Woman are delineated here, so if you come across something that is beyond your ken, you can look it up here.

I enjoyed reading this, and enjoyed the experience of hearing another woman’s voice speaking of the last depression (in the 1930’s) and the struggles of families to stay together. The lessons that we can learn from her are strong and lifelong – and might stand us in good stead in our own present economic climate… ENJOY! ( )

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About ReaderWoman

Professional reader and researcher for writers - Reviewer and Editor for online book review sites - AVID reader (well, duh!) writer, crafter (sewing, jewelry, fiber art) photographer, herb gardener, love to learn new things - Married 3842 years, 2 "kids" (now 34 and 36) and two grands (13 and 15) Born and raised California Girl, with stints in Tennessee, learning to speak Southern, and Arizona, learning that living in a trailer is NOT fun! Enjoy conversations with wine and chocolate, long walks and being with hubby and family. Life is good!
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2 Responses to Home for the Friendless

  1. Dear Readerwoman, Thank you so much for posting this review. It’s my favorite of the 14 that are presently on Amazon. A trusted friend said that even though 14 is a good number (especially since they’re all 5 stars) it’s not enough to rank high on Amazon. He said that I need about 30 reviews there in order for them to pay attention. So, this review will help a lot. I signed up to receive your blog. Please have a look at mine at http://bettyauchard.com/blog. Because I was an art teacher before I was a writer, I illustrate each story. Great fun.

    • ReaderWoman says:

      I try NOT to do resolutions – as Laurie R. King recently said in HER blog, “who needs to start a clean slate with a cloud of threat and incipient guilt over her head?” But I am trying to post daily this year, and really encourage people to read my posts – and read the books, watch the movies, and think on the ideas I bring forth. Will put out the word more on your wonderful book; I know that Story Circle Book Reviews has done an interview and review (?) – and that should help! 🙂 Plus Sharon at Curled Up will post this same review (that I posted here, and on Amazon, GoodReads and Library Thing) next week… so we are getting the word out! I love your blog – and will “subscribe” as soon as I finish here! Blessings on your 2011!

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