Week 3 of Childhood

Only one book to add this week as I was reading something off topic.

No Lily-livered Girl – Phyllis Johnston

No Lily-livered Girl is the story of four years in the life of May Tarrant. At fourteen, in 1912, she is apprenticed to a dressmaker in Hamilton in the North Island of New Zealand. Her ten-hour working day is wearisome, town life is strange, and she is homesick for the farming country she has left. A courageous old lady recognises May’s strength and tells her, “You don’t look a lily-livered girl!” That her opinion was right is demonstrated as May makes friends, including a young bank clerk named Ken, enters the world of competitive swimming, and copes with a traumatic experience. The start of World War One brings another crisis to May, and when she is seventeen this determined young woman returns to the King Country and makes the biggest decision of her life.


This finishes up the May Tarrant series. I spent several years growing up in Hamilton so it was interesting to read about the early days. Things have certainly changed in 100 years. One thing I enjoyed with this book was May’s battles with her mother regarding ‘proper’ behaviour, and the desire as a young adult for independence. Something that teenagers today can still identify with. Current events are more to the forefront with WW1 having an impact. Mostly enjoyed it.


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