Sunday, October 18, 2009

To Serve Them All My Days by RF Delderfield

Towards the end of World War I, David Powlett-Jones is discharged after being in the hospital, injured and shell-shocked, for months. He is sent to Bamfylde, a private school in Devon, to teach history to boys who are less than ten years his junior. He has no experience as a teacher, and does not even have a degree, but the doctor felt that this would be the best remedy for the soul-sickness that David suffers from after spending three years in the trenches. And soon David comes to realize that Bamfylde was just what he needed.
The story of David Powlett-Jones and Bamfylde covers the time between the two World Wars, and follows David through the ups and downs of his life, as well as the ups and downs of Bamfylde, and England as a whole. Delderfield is a wonderful storyteller, and I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed God is an Englishman. The only difficulty I had with reading this book was that I am not British. So much of the politics of that time period that Delderfield includes, but chooses not to explain, went over my head. Obviously he is writing this for a British audience who would know that names he is speaking of. There are a few other things that come up like this, that as an American I had to work harder to understand. But that does not lessen the book's interest for me. It is just a comment on one of the difficulties of reading it. Apparently there is a BBC miniseries based on the book, which now I'll have to check out. Delderfield's stories, although they seem to be about simple subjects, are definitely engrossing, and a wonderful experience to read.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love Delderfield and I am delighted to see that his books are coming back into print again. To Serve Them All My Days was a lovely television series too - well worth seeing if its available.